In an exclusive interview Mavin star, Korede Bello, tells Ademola Olonilua about his career and style. The singer also speaks about the Headies controversy
How do you feel being a recipient of the Headies award?
It shows that God answers prayers and He proved that He was right when He said that we shall always be the head and not the tail. God’s word is beginning to manifest in my life. I feel greatly honoured because I was placed in a category that had other industry heavyweights and musicians that I revere.
It is a great privilege and accomplishment to win the Headies and it means that I am on a path to greatness like my boss, Don Jazzy.
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Honestly I did not think I would win because my song, Godwin, was put against some of my favourite songs of 2015 but then again, I expected God to win in the situation. I did not plan for it and I was short of words when I was called on the stage.
I did not even get to appreciate all the people I wanted to acknowledge. It was when I got off stage that I began to remember some names I should have acknowledged. I appreciate everyone who has been and would be blessed by my songs.
You were also in the category for the contentious Next Rated category that sprang up some controversy. What is your opinion on the drama that happened over that award?
The next rated category is one that is highly rated among singers and being nominated alone is a big deal to me because past winners have done very well for themselves after the awards. However, winning does not guarantee your success or showmanship as a musician.
Firstly, I am grateful to the organisers of the award for nominating me and I I’m extremely happy.
Regarding the controversy, Reekado Banks had a good year in 2015 and he is a hard worker. He deserves everything he gets. Kiss Daniel also did very well last year; he had three hit songs last year and some of the songs are my favourite.
Lil Kesh, my brother, also had back to back hits last year. It should be a big deal for anyone who was nominated, but it is only one person that would take home the prize. It is a voting category and I guess the fans chose their favourite.
Do you think the whole rancor that sprang up as a result of that award was necessary?
Certain situations spark up spontaneous reactions. I am sure the parties involved in the controversy would be remorseful after the event because nobody wants to be associated with something negative.
It was a spur of the moment reaction because we are humans and we have blood running through our veins. We have opinions to express; it is just the way that we pass our opinion that matters.
People have a right to be angry and they have a right to express their opinion. They have a right to defend themselves, their friends, and their songs. I think everybody just wants to be better and they want what is best for their team. That is all I can say.
How come you did not tweet about the incident like some of your label mates?
I am studying Mass Communication at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. I know better than to speak while a controversy is at its peak.
It is better to just keep quiet and let everything play out. I actually tweeted before the event where I wrote that, ‘tonight we celebrate together’, and we actually celebrated together. The best thing to do in moments like that is just to remain at the background and not react to criticism immediately.
What is your reaction to Etcetera’s negative article about your song with Asa?
I don’t think the article was objective. I read the article and Etcetera is a freelance writer who does not speak the opinion of the people. He says what he feels.
I have read some of his past articles and they are the same, he says what he thinks and feels is right and I feel everyone has a right to their opinion. Etcetera, being a musician, might feel that there are some certain elements missing in a song, but I see tweets from fans, I hear my song being played across radio stations in Africa and people tell me that they love the song and feel blessed by it.
That is all that matters to me. I am not doing music for it to be anaylsed, I am doing music for people to feel blessed and inspired to do great things. I do music for my message to impact on people’s lives and not for people to say that I did not sing a particular note properly or spell a word right.
That is not my goal. My goal is to make people happy and as long as people are being blessed by my songs, that is all that matters.
Do you think you can do a song that would be as impactful as Godwin again?
Godwin is a very powerful song but I want to assure my fans that we have recorded some very fantastic songs. We even had song that were ‘Godwin worthy’ before we recorded Godwin.
But you can’t deny the fact that there are some elements in Godwin that cuts across all demography. Everyone can relate to the song and you don’t get those kinds of songs easily. Even if you do a song that is better than it, just because some segments of people cannot relate to it, they might feel it is not like Godwin.
Godwin was divinely inspired and it was a God project and I pray God blesses my other projects too.
You tried inventing a dance step for Godwin which many people believe was a flop. Do you agree with them?
It was not a flop and to set the record straight, I did not invent the dance step. I saw a little boy do the dance step on Youtube so I incorporated the dance step.
I felt it was a funny dance step and a hilarious way to express oneself.
I also wanted people to talk because it took us a while to release the video. It was a risk that we took because people already had in their mind what they wanted the video to look like.
I needed them to talk about something and take their minds away from the fact that we released the video late. I did not invent the dance and I would love to meet the kid someday.
I found the memes on the internet hilarious and that meant that more people went to watch the video online. People actually do the dance step especially when I am performing the song. They can relate with it.
How have you been able to cope with schooling?
I know that education is priority and it takes you pass where your talent places you. Education is priority for me and I am making sure that I do my best to come out with good grades. I also want to use my life as an example and inspiration for some other people out there.
No matter what your talent is, it is never enough. You need education because the spotlight is only there for a while. It would not be on you forever, not because you are not talented enough but because someone new has to come on board. When times like that come, you fall back to your education.
What inspired your jerry curls hairdo that is fast becoming your trademark?
It has been a while that I have been keeping this jerry curls. The only difference is that now that I am more successful, the hair is curlier. I love Michael Jackson and I decided to imbibe some of his style. I also did the hair to make me different and unique.
I want to stand out from the crowd and also make people talk about me. I am sure when people hear jerry curls, the first name that comes to mind is Korede Bello.
The 80s inspired this look, during Michael Jackson’s era. A lot of people had this hairdo during that time. It is a classic and vintage look. Michael Jackson’s own was longer than mine.
You look buffed, how often do you go to the gym?
When the money comes, some physical attributes start to change. I have expansive muscles but I actually do not go to the gym. I just noticed that my body has become more buff but I think it is because of my work.
I do a lot of dance rehearsals and by so doing, my muscles get to flex up more. But I do not go to the gym. I just do the basic exercises but dancing alone is enough exercise for me.
When you started your career you were always putting on beads but it seems you have stopped…
I am an African prince and I still wear beads but not as much as I used to except I am trying to pull off a particular look. I am also a Woodin ambassador so most of the time, I wear their fabric and beads go with African fabrics.
What would you never be caught wearing?
I don’t know. I don’t think there is anything I can’t wear. If anything that people don’t like, I probably put it on so that people would talk about it.
There is nothing that my consciousness would not permit me to wear except it is socially unaccepted or it is immoral. I also don’t like to look older than my age whenever I dress, I aspire to look simple and elegant.
What is your fashion fetish?
I am not a very tall person so I like to wear outfits that make me look taller than I am. I don’t wear fez caps and snapbacks again because I have to show my jerry curl but sometimes I feel my dressing is not complete without them.
Was there ever a time in your life you prayed to be taller?
Definitely, when I was in school, there was this girl that I liked a lot but she was taller than me so I used to disturb God a lot to make me taller.
But I grew up and realised that there is more to life than being tall. I mean some of the greatest people on earth are short people and height has nothing to do with love. If someone truly loves you, your physical attributes won’t matter.
Even people that are physically challenged get married. You realise that life is about purpose. You are created the way you are for a purpose and to fulfill someone’s needs and to be a blessing to others. God did not make a mistake creating you the way you are.
What item can’t you leave home without?
That would be my watch and my ring.
What is your most expensive fashion item?
I do not know because I do not check price tags anymore but I think it would be my shoes because I like shoes and I shop for them a lot.
Are you in a relationship?
I get this question a lot on twitter and the truth is that I am single although I have a few crushes. I am very much single and available.
Is it that you haven’t found a girl you like?
It is not about finding a girl that I like but more of priority for me. I feel it is still too early for a relationship and I might get distracted because I am a romantic person and I give all I have to my relationship. Right now, I have a lot on my mind, I have music and I have school, so I am trying to balance that.
Did you ever date DJ Cuppy?
Cuppy is my friend and I love her. There was one that I was with Zahra Buhari as well and people began to speculate. They are my people and that is it.