What is music to you? Something you hear the way, or something that begins in the soul and flows out of you? A lot of musicians say that music is in his heart, but how many of them really embody this? The answer is not many, and definitely none Cobhams Asuquo.
Cobhams Asuquo is undoubtedly one of the best producers today Nigeria, which has always had a deep interest in music. Over the years, it has produced albums as Asa Asa , and Bez Super Sun both of which topped the charts worldwide. This genius of music has also worked with several other Nigerians to produce hit songs artists and was featured on CNN African Voices for their contribution and impact on African music industry. But that’s not even the greatest of them.
As we moved into the locker room at MUSON Center for the interview, Cobhams is just charming and funny. His personality we easily win everything and I feel it will be a great morning already. While playing the grand piano in AGIP Hall, I could see how it is connected to the instrument that was playing so happy he did. Each press of intentional key, each note of resonance.
What would you say units to continue to produce, write and sing?
I think the music itself has a pull, and when it comes, there is no choice but to do his will. For me, it starts from there. When you’re musically inclined, and you have an ear for music, you hear things and feel the need to express them. When you understand the technical aspects of the expression of the right music, you want to express. Otherwise, it just feels like you’re not doing what you know you should. The other thing that drives me to keep making music is the idea of seeing something move from a place of thought or an idea to a finished work; the process itself is exciting for me. I am also encouraged by what I heard and what I want to hear. There are certain things I hear and find inspiration and there are certain things here and wonder how in the world reached the radio and radio waves in general. There are certain things I want to hear and feel like you have the skill set to create what I want to hear; to influence what I hear. I also think that I’m driven to create music because I see music as a tool, you can say and influence both the music created or produced. I think it’s one of the most profound forms of expression given to man; It is the only form of expression that action man and God.
has produced a lot of hit songs during his career, but people do not really read and hear of their production process, it tells us about it.
My production process is interesting. Like all great, it begins with an idea; me, trying to know and understand the personality of the artist, breaking their personalities in my head. It is a psychological process that is very much as it is musical; we are talking mannerism, expressions, vocal range, message, musicality, and his personality. We’re talking about everything that the musician is, I have to understand this and use it to create a piece that is a reflection of the person you are creating music. It moves from that thought to the conceptualisation either alone or with the musician tunes that I feel will evoke the right amount of emotion. You go from there to the construction of music [all of this in my head], and get in the studio and fleshing music while sitting behind the piano or guitar playing and then from there start the sequencing process or creating the music, either with a band or a DAW and you go from there to get the artist to the studio for voice over the music created. There is a reciprocal relationship with me and the artist how comfortable the artist is in space that are expressing what is important to them when the voice, creating the right environment to express, get the right emotions out of them while doing several shots, creating a collection of the best shots, which is kind of what you do with photography, and sending the sound engineer to ensure that it is properly mixed and mastered and the final work is acceptable.
How would you describe your evolution as a producer, singer and song writer?
My evolution is more outward than inward, in the sense that these things have always been. He took me to produce and write because I was not comfortable with my own voice and I often find vocal expression with other people’s voices. But now I’m finding expression and learn to love my own voice, evolution is occurring so that everyone can see I’m kind of transition gradually from just produce and write music to play music. It is an evolution that people see what is an evolution for me, because this is what I’ve always been. In terms of my career and what I’m known for, now I am conscious transition me a skill that I’m known by other not necessarily have been known to do. It has been a very interesting process. While shocking to some people, some have always known that this is what we do and some have had more faith in me than I had in myself. It feels a little like starting over, a feeling that I really like. I’m moving from behind the scenes to be on stage I think it’s a better way to tell my story and control my narrative, and the narrative of music and musicians in this part of the world, and Africa. Music is a very powerful tool to tell our story and, as a producer, which helps someone to tell their story. I am evolving to a place where I am now in control of the narrative, and for me is very exciting. It is shocking and comes out of my shell and be very intentional about becoming the person I want to be perceived as. It comes with its own measure of work, but I like it.
What would you say has been the highlight of your career?
I’m afraid to take account of the highlights of my career. I think the time is identified with the highlight of your career, what kind of plateau from that point forward. The most important thing for me right now is to go ahead. I know it’s not my place to identify which is the highlight of my career is. Every day is the same for me, the only difference is that I’m better at what I do, and more people recognize me now when I go out.
Recently the ‘Top 12 Countdown with Cobhams’ began. What has been your favorite part of the podcast so far?
The thing for me to do the podcast is to recognize that I have been able to take the bold step to curate good music. The podcast is curating good music, because Nigerians are constantly putting a lot of good music often not heard or not given the kind of audience it deserves. The Top 12 Countdown allows you to choose the songs that have come to me. Music is an experience; it has to make you feel a certain way. Sometimes, due to heavy rotation, music that is otherwise normal may feel good to you, but there is music that has been intentionally created to be big. It’s like the work of a master of the art; It is like an incredible painting. And I think that kind of music, because of the effort that is put into its creation, is deserving of some recognition. I am also excited by the response received from the musicians whose music makes the countdown, and from people asking if these songs are from Nigeria, because this is not the music that we are exposed to on the radio. Watch it grow is another amazing thing as the countdown is not one that began with a lot of money and watch it grow from a dream that has taken baby steps really excites me. The countdown is one I hope will grow a lot, running for a long time and become a standard for good music and music that is not always the mainstream, but great nonetheless.
You are scheduled as the musical director of this year Hennessey Artistry live RnB and Soul Show. What are your expectations?
One thing that is unique about Hip Hennessy and soul I’m excited is the bold step towards artists who are not mainstream. It is bringing together strangers and popular brilliantly mixture and combination of genres artists. I’m also very excited about the unknowns that eventually will become household names, the unknowns that will become stars and they’re getting the time in the Hennessy stage RnB and soul. My expectation is that most stars like Tuface, M.I, P-Square, Lagbaja, Asa, Bez, ice prince and all these people now regard and respect as household names will rise from this show.
We can feel that you favor music genres alternative, why do you think Nigerians are not as receptive to these sounds as they are for “Jollof Music”?
I think that Nigerians are not sensitive to a lot of music out because we have the radio, and gate keepers control what we absorb and consider it music. Much of the time, which gets heavy rotation is what people want to hear on the radio and in clubs, and become the norm, while everything else becomes alternative. For example, Waje released a song baby Koko Platnumz diamond, which is a great song that can sit anywhere with songs of taste or anyone else. But because it was by Waje, that people consider to be an alternative artist, what alternative reports made since a popular song “Jollof” or was not considered. I think Nigerians respond to what we are fed by radio and television, and many of the people who create the music that is now considered alternative or can not afford or do not know how to put it in the right spaces where they could be heard . If you think about it, Adekunle Oro, Simi, and aramid, are people who are blessed with the opportunities and the means to put your music out there and are doing great things, while entering the “Jollof space” without having to compromise . I think, our door makers have a role to play in introducing the variety Nigerians because music is not made only of Jollof music I love and do sometimes, if absolutely necessary. But I also believe that, radio stations, television stations and people who control the blogger-sphere have a role to play in helping Nigerians have different palettes taste feel a sense of inclusion, but also including the rest of Nigeria for this type of music. If you think about it, we are one of the biggest consumers of ballads, besides Korea and a lot of others. For a long time, Celine Dion, Brian McKnight, Life West and the rest loved it. We are still those people, and it is just a matter of what the media is feeding us as a people and that we and our tastes are defining gradually.
Can we expect any project you in the near future?
There are a lot of things going on and there are a couple of things planned for the rest of the year. I’m not sure if I can talk about them, because they are exclusive events. It is also in the spirit of promoting the variety and encouraging the perfect blend of music, which is not only a genre. We will be running a series, details of which I will share when the time is right. I’m also excited for a couple of personal projects that will come out. I’m putting out simple as an increase to an album for myself. I also invested in albums Bez, Omawumi and Timi Dakolo, there are also plenty of great things to come and a couple of other things I’m working.
What words do you have for people who look at you as a role model or looking for inspiration?
I would say it is important that you are passionate about it. Never let money be your motivation. It is very good to have money and should work to have a lot of it, but let it be what motivates you. Let your motivation is something bigger, and let it come from within you; the desire to meet a need. If your desire is to meet a need, not only does that, but you get paid for it. I would say you need a lot of patience so better start building it. We not appreciate delayed gratification in this part of the world, and that’s a challenge. If you’re going to make music and want to stay there for a long time, building patience and discipline to create something that is long-standing and outlive him. I would say, as a musical person, most likely to be an impotent and creative creator are known for putting things. Check it and make sure it does what it says it will do when you say you will do. Sometimes creative people live in a bubble where things are done in your mind, but not in reality, so ensure balance things you think about how you go about doing them. It’s never enough to think about them, no matter how great they are. Remember that ideas do not exist alone, and the world will celebrate the first person who comes into action. Whatever you’re thinking, get up and go because someone is probably thinking of doing the same.
In the game, Cobhams shares with us the important principles of life and music. While speaking, it is easy to see the love for the music is more than a matter of step, but one that burns bright. For creative, sharing how important it is to understand the principles of life and live by them, since they have no excuse. Cobhams also shares their faith and belief in God has played a very important role in it get where he is today.
I thought I had an idea of what was passion, and how necessary it was to be passionate about whatever you decide to do, but talking to Cobhams eyes to a new dimension of it open. This is more than just having deep feelings for something, but enjoying what their purpose and live with that purpose.
Photo: Jerrie Rotimi
Styling: Henry Uduku
Bow Tie: The Indulgence [19459009Accessories]
Location : MUSON Center, Lagos