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Interview: Reekado Banks, the talented Nigerian artist behind hit single ‘Ozumba Mbadiwe’

Reekado Banks 1 Landscape

Reekado Banks, the Nigerian artist behind the hit single ‘Ozumba Mbadiwe’ produced by P Priime is one of Africa’s most exciting hit makers. The artist has over 200 million plays and a Billboard world music top 10 album which cannot go unrecognised. Over the last two years, the artist has released two EP’s that birthed one of the continent’s hottest tunes right now.

Paying homepage to the victims of the #EndSars protest massacre, the artist released ‘Ozumba Mbadiwe’, which has been a major success. Since the release of the hitmaker, Reekado has released a remix EP with features from Fireboy DML, Ghanaian pop star KIDI, South African amapiano innovator Lady Du, Tanzanian singer Rayvanny and award-winning Ivorian artist Elow’n.

Alongside the remix EP, Reekado Banks will also be putting on an exclusive UK pop-up event at White City House today in collaboration with Soho House, followed by a UK tour in March as well as a collaboration EP with super producer Parker Ighile.

We caught up with the artist on how the past two years have been. Read on to hear more from Reekado on his creative process and what to expect in the future:

Q: Where did the journey as Reekado Banks begin? 

Reekado Banks: The journey started when I was born, I am sure it all started from there. God already knew about all of that. I started to pay attention to music when I was about 14, but before then I was already surrounded by music; my father is a Pastor. We used to stay in the church, so was always around it. At the age of 14, I took it seriously and got signed around 4-5 years after this. 

Q: How has the last two years felt, it’s no secret you have achieved amazing things. I can imagine it has been a bittersweet two years? 

Reekado Banks: It’s been an experience. I have loved the journey; I have learnt more than ever in the last two years. I am just hoping there are better years ahead. In the two years, records like Rora and Ozumba Mbadiwe dropped and has taken my name to some heights that I am currently experiencing and living right now. I am amazed and happy about how the last two years have gone and I am just looking forward to the next. 

Q: ‘Ozumba Mbadiwe’ has done exceptionally well, take us through your creative process of this song? 

Reekado Banks: That song is very scattered, but also very put together as I am talking about different things. I am talking about the road (Mbadiwe) is a very busy road and its one route that I have always taken over the past seven years. So you can understand why I would sing about it, or would be inspired by it. I was talking about how I have been away for a bit and was relating with the road. 

Talking about how I have been away but busy like the road, and on the second verse I was talking about the happenings on that road. It was where the protest happened and where the innocent protestors got shot at.

I was present at the protest and a part of it, so you can imagine how I was inspired by that. On the third verse I was talking about driving to meet up with my love interest, it’s really a versatile song. And I am glad I am able to put everything together. 

Q: When it comes to music, do you just go with the flow or do you have a process you go through when recording music? 

Reekado Banks: I definitely put in a lot of work. I believe music is a tool to inform others, it provokes thought in the listener’s mind. I try to create music that gets people thinking. When it comes to music, I usually do a lot of thinking. I already have it in me, and as an artist I am the one that must bring this out. 

Q: You recently released the ‘Ozumba Mbadiwe’ remix featuring Fireboy and have a compilation featuring a number African artists on the same song. Tell us more about this? 

Reekado Banks: The remix was released on the 4th of Feb, and the compilation was released on the 11th of Feb which features friends of mine across Africa such as Elow’n from Ivory Coast, KIDI from Ghana, Rayyanny from Tanzania and Lady Du from South Africa so we are just trying to spread this song. So that everyone from grassroots to the superstars can get familiar with the song. And big shout out to everyone, they did amazingly well.

First remix with Fireboy was so amazing, he smashed his verse on the remix you should listen to it! He pointed the song in a whole new direction which I am very happy about, and the video is amazing too. 

Q: What advice would you give to those that look up to you? 

Reekado Banks: Put in hours because I am out here putting in hours. And I am sure everybody I am also around is putting in hours, all these other superstars. So, it would only make sense that on your own you can double up the work, as it pays off in little or no time. I have seen it happen, and a lot of the time dedicated artists blow up in time. You cannot just sit back and not do the work, you must do all the work; and not some of it to get results! 

Q: What can we expect from you this year? 

Reekado Banks: Later this month I am going to the U.K. I am going to open a couple of live shows. And I am going to be putting together a small tour with the aim of meeting up with my fans and have a good time! We are also touring the States, and there is another EP and album dropping this year. So, this year it’s a lot of music. 

Listen to Reekado’s ‘Ozumba Mbadiwe’ Remix EP below:

The iMullar is the definitive voice of emerging African music and the lifestyle that surrounds it, showcasing exceptional talent from all around the globe focused on promoting the most distinctive new artists and original sounds, we are the authority on who is next.

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