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Davido, Olamide are no threat to me – Zeez

DJ Zeez releases promo photos

Musician, DJ Zeez, Kingsley Elipko, now known as Zeez, in a recent chat with Punch, speaks about his brief hiatus from music and other plans.

You were missing in action for a while, what happened?
It was deliberate. I was busy studying certain courses, which are not music related to better my lot. I wasn’t really away for a particular time but I was not just as outgoing as I used to be. I was also busy developing other entrepreneurial ventures, which I can’t share publicly.

Was that why you did a come-back collaboration song with Olamide, on the track, Atewo?
I collaborated with Olamide because we are from the same hood-Bariga, alongside 9ice, Reminisce and Lord of Ajasa. It is my first collaboration in many years. I wanted to identify with my Bariga fans, who have been disturbing and clamouring for collaboration from us. The feedback has been awesome. Atewo means clap. It is a celebratory song for people doing well in different walks of life.

The album is highly anticipated, when is it out?
It would be released sometime next year and we haven’t fixed a date yet. I have shot videos and released some singles which may make it to the final album. We have not decided on the album title and other logistics. Right now, we are trying to create that demand for the album by dropping several tracks. I have released four singles, this year.

Why did you change your name?
Earlier this year, I got signed on to a new record label and we decided that since I have been off the scene for a while, I must undergo a rebranding process. The first thing we decided to do was take out the DJ from the
name because I am no longer a practising DJ. I started in the industry as a disc jockey when I was about 17 years old. I am now focused on producing, singing and songwriting. We also wanted to put a stop to the question about whether or not I am a DJ.
Most DJs in the industry are either producing mix-tapes of several songs by other artistes or releasing albums. I don’t want to be confused in like manner.

Aren’t you afraid of losing fans as a result of the new image?
No, I am not. I will lose not fans neither will the rebranding affect me as long as I am consistently making good music. I am also not the first artiste to undergo a rebranding of some sorts.

A lot of people aren’t really aware of what state you hail from. Can you shed more light on this?
I am a native of Imo State but my mother is from Ogun State. I am a mixture of both tribes but I was born and brought up in Lagos. That is why I can speak Yoruba very fluently. There was a time when I had to attend school in Owerri because my parents wanted me to understand Igbo language.

Is the competition now stiffer than when you started out?
If you are a player in a non-competitive industry, it is best to leave it fast. Yes, the industry is a lot better now compared to when I began. The social media hype, which a lot of artistes including me, now enjoy, was non-existent at the time. What matters most is constantly rebuilding and reevaluating oneself to keep moving with the times because change is the only constant thing. Competition only makes me a better. Artistes like Davido and Olamide, are no threat to me.

What are you most afraid of as an artiste?
I am afraid of not being remembered for who I was or impact I made. That is why I try to be a perfectionist in all my dealings. I do not try to imitate any artiste because it is not all about having hit tracks or endorsements but about having a genuine talent and passion for music.

What are you most unhappy about in the Nigerian music industry?
I hope for a time when artistes will be adequately rewarded for hard work. The only avenue where Nigerian artistes now make money is from shows and endorsements. We are gradually getting there as some artists are beginning to recoup funds from their sweat and different channels like iTunes downloads Caller Tunes and YouTube views. We sometimes lack professionalism in the industry. We must learn to do things the right way and not taking the shortcut in all our dealings.

Are you fulfilled as an artiste?
If you are fulfilled as an artiste, then you can as well retire. I intend to do music for as long as I can.

How do you handle fame and female fans?
It all boils down to your reasons for doing music. I have a passion for music, so I have no other choice but to do it right. I am not in it for the fame, power or money-when they don’t come, I am not frustrated. I guess that’s why I cope well. I have a woman in my life and I am content. I am diplomatic and smart about handling my female fans. As a male artiste, female fans and children are your major fans. I keep fans and friends in their place; even family. I know how to draw the line because there are different reactions for different situations. Above all, I don’t mess around with female fans just because I am a star.

Many artistes are criticised for showing off wealth on social media..
Everybody has a right to how they spend their money especially when they work hard for it. I don’t think it is anybody’s business but truth be told, nobody cares to know how you spend your money, why would you go all out to impress them? I just live my life and not give people the impression of what does not exist. If you do that, then you have to live up to that lie. For every time you lie, you need another lie to cover up. Be yourself. I am not under pressure and life is as easy as that.

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