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Why I Can’t Celebrate My Birthday Every Year— Singer, Korede Bello Speaks

Posted by Samuel on Sun 10th Mar, 2024 - tori.ng

The popular Nigerian singer opens up about his career, his life and other matters in this interview.

Korede Bello

In this interview, the popular Nigerian singer, Korede Bello, tells KEHINDE AJOSE about his career and other issues

Your sound and lyrics have matured over time. Can you take us through how you have evolved over the years?

Life itself necessitates change and demands growth in everyone and everything. Think about it this way— an artiste is a philosopher of experience. So, the more life one experiences, the more it reflects in one’s art.

‘Godwin’ is one of the biggest songs of your career. Do you think you can replicate the success of such a massive hit?

What makes a masterpiece truly special is the fact that it cannot be replicated. Many years ago, a wise man once told me that it was not the song that made itself viral, but the anointing. And, I believe him. Music is spiritual. Many people can sing the same lyrics, with the tempo and chorus, yet it still wouldn’t have the same effect. It takes true humility as an artiste to know that it is not just by one’s talent, skills or power; but by the grace of God.

After Godwin, God has blessed me with many other hits that have been commercially successful globally. However, I will always be grateful to God for the song, Godwin, because it introduced my name and presence to the world in a big way. I am also grateful to Don Jazzy for co-creating that masterpiece.

I am thankful for every song that I have been privileged to bring into this world. What matters the most to me is to always find favour in the sight of God and the sight of men, and to always be a vessel of honour and value, whether through music, books or just my presence. No matter how big a song is, there will always be a bigger song, so the goal for me is not to chase after a big song, but to submit myself to a big God that can bless me with a big life; music or no music. I believe God can take one farther than the biggest song ever will. And, that’s what Godwin means to me. It is not about the song, but the God that the song points to. Ultimately, God wins.

Why did it take you this long to release your latest album?

I guess I was waiting for my birthday. Because I was on February 29 (a leap year), I always have to wait for four years to celebrate my birthday. The album was created around ‘Kore Day’, my birthday. It is a story of Kore’s Day—a birthday gift to myself. It is an intimate project created to feel like a therapy session, which is a subtle nod to the mental health advocacy I do.

What is your assessment of the current crop of young artistes in the industry?

I am really pleased to see that the industry is predominantly populated by younger people. Young people are usually ambitious, so they think of ‘global’ domination, and that is healthy for the industry.

Back in the day, artistes used to ‘hustle’ for years before they got a shot at fame. Even at that, only about one per cent of artistes eventually succeed. So, it feels good to see many artistes starting young, and making it while they are still young.

My only concern is that the younger the people in the industry get, the lower the quality of stories (songs) we will get to hear. What I mean is that artistes usually create art from their experiences; so, when a lot of sixteen-year-olds, for instance, get a shot at fame, they can only share from the limited scope of experiences they have. When one listens to artistes from the past who had their breakthrough between the ages of 30 and 40, one can feel the authenticity of their messages, because of the quality of their experiences.

The great afrobeat creator, Fela’s music was a reflection of his extraordinary experiences. The same thing goes for legends such as King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey, who shared their life experiences, and taught their listeners invaluable lessons.

Other examples are Bob Marley (Jamaican reggae legend), and 2pac (American rap icon). They exemplified and embodied the beauty of having rich experiences before attaining fame. Eventually, life will balance itself out. I am very happy that we are playing in the global league now.

Where is the weirdest place you have ever got the inspiration for a song?

As far as I am concerned, there is no place that is too weird to get inspiration from. Everything is art, and everything can be inspirational. Pain is a beautiful ‘place’ to create art from. As a matter of fact, this question is already giving me inspiration for a new song. Is that weird?

A South African singer, Tyla, recently won the maiden Grammy Award for Best African Music Performance, beating some Nigerian artistes that were also nominated. That led to a debate on whether Nigerian artistes should depend on a foreign platform, like the Grammys, for validation. What’s your take on that?

There is a common pidgin saying that can loosely be translated to mean, ‘it is where one works that one will eat’. Part of the things we ‘eat’ as artistes is validation for our art. Validation for making great art is good. And, that can be very inspirational for others to make better art. When an artiste makes it to the nomination list of a prestigious award, they are already winners in my opinion. Every other thing is subjective. However, I believe in rewards over awards.

Rewards can come in the form of commercial success or returns on investment. That way, one knows that the quality of what one puts in is what will determine what one will get.

Awards are good, but knowing that one’s art makes many people happy is a better feeling.

How would you describe the experience of working with Yemi Alade on one of your new songs, ‘For Me’?

Yemi Alade is such a sweet soul. I sent her a few song ideas for us to work together on, and For Me resonated with her the most. She brought her unique presence to bear on her verse, and expressed a different dynamic to the song.

Indeed, she was perfect for the song.

How does it feel to be able to celebrate your birthday only once in four years?

I am actually happy that I don’t get to celebrate my birthday every year, because it makes me look forward to the years that I eventually do, and cherish it more.

Most people celebrate their birthdays every year, and instead of being happy, I think it makes some of them anxious or worried. For me, it is always a special feeling when it’s a leap year. I actually feel younger.

You collaborated on a song with your former record label boss, Don Jazzy. What was it like working with him again?

While working on the album, I wanted to make a joyful song, and I knew who I wanted to make it with— Don Jazzy. A few months ago, one of the songs we made together in the past titled, One and Only, was trending on TikTok. I then told him we had to give fans another collaboration, and he agreed.

How do you handle criticism and negative feedback?

Sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it does not. I accept what is useful and leave out anything with negative energy. But, everything contributes to one’s experience as a human being. Also, it is important to note that opinions are not facts.

Beyond having chart-topping songs or winning awards, what does success mean to you as an artiste?

It is about making art that will live on long after one is no longer on this planet. It is also about creating works that bring joy to people’s hearts, and making music that connects people with one another. Of course, it is about making art that creates generational wealth as well; and glorifying God with my art and presence. That’s what success means to me.

What is that one thing that people don’t know about you?

If I knew it, I would have already shared it.

***

Source: The PUNCH



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