Music over the years has a symbolic interpretation of personality traits which can be seen evidently in the trajectory of a talented Nigerian artiste, ZXUS JDO.
John Davidson Omon aka ZXUS JDO is a 23-year-old artiste born and bred in Benin City, Edo State who has been surrounded by music from an early age. Growing up with a family of music lovers meant that he had a lot of musical influence. He recounts making his first rap song at age 6 inspired by Eminems’ song “Soldier” and how that morphed his interest in making music while chasing his university degree in Industrial Chemistry. ZXUS JDO continued making music and now wants to focus on his craft. This enabled him to bring a multidimensional approach to street pop in his debut TikTok sensational hit “HUSH”. It also exposed him to new sounds which gives his fans the great privilege of listening to refreshing music.
His debut was presented in a nostalgic, bold structure which had the streets dancing, yet reflecting. Using the environment he lived in as a major source of inspiration, he steers up the need for people to “show their working” which is the popular slang of the song rather than showing just end results. Though dynamic with his lyrics, he shows us different aspects of life with just one single which can also fit into this electoral season featuring various campaigns to raise awareness for citizens to vote for candidates who are practical rather than just being theoretical.
In this interview, we get to explore the life of the young artist and his musical journey so far.
Tell me a bit about your background
I grew up in a family that loved music and this helped me groom my passion for music. Because of the family I come from, I listened to Blues, Nigerian music even before it was called Afrobeats, I also listened to American songs. At age 6-7, I wrote my first rap song which was inspired by Eminem’s song “Soldier” and looking back at it, it must have been hilarious but then this inspired me to make more songs. I even listened to Tuface, Psquare, and so many others even though I wasn’t meant to since I was a child.
How did music inspire you to take it on as a career?
My love for music was the exact push I needed. I wouldn’t mind making music even though I got no penny from it.
I could not help but ask if his parents were in support of his choice since he studied a different course entirely.
Yes, my family supported me because they know I always make good decisions. Also, I had to make sure I got an education before going into music which is important. After school, I was free to pursue my own dreams.
He classifies himself as a multi-talented artiste who cannot be put in a box due to his quest to explore new sounds, this is the reason his song fits multiple genres.
How will you describe your genre of music in relation to your debut single?
I do not have an exact genre of music as I’m always exploring different genres. I listen to different genres and I take my inspiration from there; this is the reason “HUSH” has different genres but in all, it can be classified as Afro Street Pop. I’m someone who cannot be put in a box due to the fact that my mind is my inspiration and I can jump on any beat. Some of my greatest inspirations include Popcaan, Davido, Wizkid, the list is endless. I’m also a great fan of Jamaican Patois.
“My single HUSH was inspired by events I have seen in my environment”ZXUS JDO
Your hit song “HUSH” is a jam so many can relate to, what was the inspiration?
HUSH is the shortened form of HUSHPUPPI. Many people asked if I was promoting fraud but that is not the essence; the song is a reflection of things I have seen happen in my environment so I wrote about them. If anything, HUSH means to put in the work because many people only show the end results. Just like the politicians, they make a lot of promises but we do not see the work.
Are you signed under any record label?
No I’m not. I’m an independent artist. I record all my songs and I’m in no rush to join any label. Any label I join should be one that we can share similar visions and trust each other.
I had to chip in by asking if he could join any label, which would it be?
I will definitely go for Olamide as my record label boss but like I said I’m in no rush, if God wants it that way, it will happen.
Did the thought of your song not making waves ever cross your mind?
No, it didn’t. After recording the song, my guy told me my song was going to blow, I was optimistic about it. One day, I was told my song was making waves and I was excited. Though I have many unreleased singles, putting out my debut with it being a success is a blessing.
I had to tell him that his song was not only making waves but are currently trending on TikTok with videos and challenges
The funny thing is that I’m yet to set up my TikTok account but when I do, I will surely look out for it.
Tell us a little about your music writing and producing process. Do you have a ritual to get in the mood?
I don’t really have any ritual, I can record anywhere, anytime of the day no matter the weather condition. If I hear a beat, I can write and record it. There necessarily doesn’t have to be a beat, something might just pop into my head, and 5-20 minutes later I already have a hook and it just goes from there; there are really no rituals, it just comes and when it comes, I try to make sure I take good advantage of it.
Thankfully your debut has gotten thousands of streams, what should we be expecting next? An EP? An album?
An EP is next, I have been working on making that a reality. I’m also open to features. When I looked at my Spotify wrapped for 2022, I saw various genres of music I have listened to and I said “ this is what my EP looks like, a combination of different sounds”
I want to show people my vision and how I see music. My music is a reflection of what I listen to and what influences me.
What would it feel like for you to be on stage performing your songs?
Oh my God that’s what I’m looking forward to the most! Because I have performed the songs in a couple of clubs but I would really like to be on the stage were people are singing to my songs and they know the lyrics. I think that’s the most important thing to me at this point; it will be one for the books so I’m looking forward to it and I’m trying to put in my best to get that.
In all, if you could use a word to describe ZXUS JDO, what would it be?
Versatile. I’m versatile and just like Burna Boy said in his Last Last song, “I put my life into my job”
It was an enlightening experience having to interview ZXUS JDO and his versatility of sounds is what he promises his fans; we look forward to his EP.
If you haven’t listened to his debut, here is the link: