Nigerian star CKay speaks to us about being 'Africa’s boyfriend' and new music

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It's surreal that people around the world keep falling in love with his hit, Love Nwantiti, the musician tells Drum. But he's only just getting started.
It's surreal that people around the world keep falling in love with his hit, Love Nwantiti, the musician tells Drum. But he's only just getting started.
Instagram/ Ckay

He is bringing Emo-Afrobeat music to the world through his instrument skills, soothing vocals and vibrant personality.

The 26-year-old who's popularly known by his stage name, "CKay", has been in the industry for more than five years, making music that fans all around the globe enjoy while showcasing his proudly African roots.

He found his passion for music through his father who was a choir conductor at their local church. The musician, who is Africa's self-proclaimed boyfriend, says that growing up he was very passionate about and moved by musical instruments.

“When I was very young, I remember I would take the remote in the house and sing along to whatever music was being played. I always wanted to be a star," he tells Drum.

"My parents however never really saw music as a very stable career. I had to make the decision to either chase my dreams or regret it and spend the rest of my life thinking 'what if?'”

So left his small hometown and pursued music in Lagos.

At first his parents did not support his decision. But now things are better.

“My parents and I have reconciled. I went home just to say explain myself so that they know why I left. There are times in life where you have to follow through your conviction, and they understood. And from that day, they showed me love and support.”

CKay is proud of Love Nwantiti, the hit that earned him a spot on many international charts. Remixes of the song have already garnered more than 40,5 million streams on Spotify alone.

He started off as a member of a band where he and his two other band mates would make music and use the little money they had in order to create shows.

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“I am Africa’s boyfriend because of the music that I make, the predominant thing in my life is love. That’s the one thing that I feel defines me and I have experienced a lot of joys and pains in love," CKay says.

"My music is mostly about love. I’m a Cancer so I’m very emotional, I like to channel my emotions in my music.”

He has worked on features with big names in Nigeria such as Davido and South Africa’s very own Tshego and Gemini Major.

He has released his much-anticipated EP, Boyfriend, and says that he is pleased with its success. He is also working on new music and a debut album.

“I try to be as unorthodox as possible in my music and give people music that they have never heard before. The Boyfriend EP was an introduction to who I am. On my album I have worked with many artists – some I cannot name. But I can say that I will release a song with South African artist Focalistic. We made that record in Lagos because he was in Lagos and it will be a big record," CKay shares.

“I always keep my eyes on the prize. I go through so many things as an artist. I always have to remind myself of my goals and where I come from whenever I am discouraged.”

He says that the Covid-19 pandemic was a hurdle to him becoming the big artist that he wants to become.

“Corona hit just after I released Love Nwatiti, it did very well but I couldn’t perform and that was disappointing. It's crazy how the song is blowing up all over again in places such as Europe, America and Asia. But it all started in Africa. The support that I have been getting is crazy, I appreciate the love from around the world.”

He hopes his music will continue to put him on the global stage like Nigerian artists Burna Boy, Wiz Kid and Davido  so he can show what this continent has to offer.

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