Korede Bello is an award-winning singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence in 2017 following the release of his hit single ‘Godwin’. He was previously signed to Mavin Records. In this interview with TheCable Lifestyle’s VICTORY ORIMEMI, Korede speaks on his journey in the music industry as well as his relationship with his former label boss. He also talks about his intentions to make music for a wider geography of people across the world and not just Nigerians.
TheCable Lifestyle: You made waves in 2015 after releasing ‘Godwin’. Were you expecting to get that much reception from music lovers?
Korede Bello: No! Honestly, I didn’t, it was my first time experiencing that kind of attention. You just never know as an artiste, sometimes the songs travel more than you’ll ever travel. The songs will meet people that you’ll never meet, I think that’s how you know how big a song is. You know, it’s in the places that the song will go to that you never know but it was my first time experiencing that.
TheCable Lifestyle: What’s the inspiration behind your new song ‘Available’?
Korede Bello: ‘Available’ is a love song, a feel-good song, projecting my desire for my love interest, just something fun to make people smile so it’s from that intention that available came about.
TheCable Lifestyle: You said you nursed a dream of being a radio presenter and now you’re into music fully. What changed?
Korede Bello: I like listening to the radio, I like media. I am presenting music at the moment so it’s just that I wanted to learn how to communicate with the masses which is mass media, my medium is music and so I’m still mass communicating music to the mass public and it’s really interesting because it’s the same dynamics, what makes news, makes a hit song.
It’s just something that connects with a lot of people. You can connect on an emotional base, beyond identifying it’s just a psychographic analysis. Like when I was making music, I do not think I am making it for this type of people, it’s this type of situation. That’s what makes news channels popular I guess so it’s what makes music work as well. I think just communicating with a mass audience and going to learn about that in journalism school was helpful for me.
TheCable Lifestyle: What would you say is your competitive edge in the industry?
Korede Bello: If I tell you my competitive edge, then it’s no more my competitive edge. If I was a military major or leading a battalion and you were asking me for my competitive edge, it means you’re giving my enemies ammunition to attack me. Let it be with me what my competitive edge is.
What matters to me though is not the competitive edge, I’m not even in a competition. I’m not making music to compete with anybody, I’m making music to connect. Maybe my connection edge so I make music to connect, and I make art to connect with people.
I want to make music that connects people with people, so it’s about connection for me rather than competition. Maybe that is my competitive edge because I’m not doing it to be on the chart or outdo another person. I really just want like whenever people press play, they can feel something, that’s what matters to me.
TheCable Lifestyle: What are the challenges you’ve experienced as a Nigerian artiste?
Korede Bello: When I started, I really did not just intend to make music for Nigeria. As I said earlier, I don’t make music for types of people. I make music for human beings or human needs so if you’re human and you have an emotional need like maybe comfort, maybe heartbreak or love or joy, there’s an emotional need that you have, hopefully, my music can fill that need for you. So, it’s not necessarily bound by geographical boundaries.
The challenges I faced were a long time ago but I believe that as an industry, we are growing and we are in a digital world right now. If I put out something, everybody can experience that content. Geographical barriers don’t matter in music. I mean you can see Tems doing amazing globally, are you going to ask her about her challenges in Nigeria? I mean she’s not on that level anymore and that is what music is for, to see beyond geographical boundaries and create for emotional needs, create for a mass audience, and maybe you’ll transcend the geography of your region.
TheCable Lifestyle: You recently talked about seeking peace and urged people to take care of their minds, did you ever go through a phase of depression?
Korede Bello: That is a very interesting question, it is interesting because I advocate for mental health but I don’t know what depression is. When I say I don’t know what depression is doesn’t mean I don’t know what the theoretical definition is. I don’t know what it means to say I’m depressed. I know that there are times when I go through some waves of emotion, and I just try to protect my internal environment as much as I can. There will be times when obviously things do not go as you expect. I’m proactive with my mental health so I don’t let myself get to that place because it probably will be really bad if I ever get there.
TheCable Lifestyle: You give off the vibe of a lover boy, you have so many love songs. Are you in a relationship?
Korede Bello: I am in a relationship. I like to keep private things private.
TheCable Lifestyle: Why are you keeping your relationship off social media?
Korede Bello: My relationship is not public service, it’s not public entertainment. If I was in an entertainment relationship for example, If I wanted to do something to make people see, if it’s not really long term then maybe but if you want a relationship to be long-term, I think you’ll protect it from public conversations.
TheCable Lifestyle: How do you deal with female fans who are admirers?
Korede Bello: I think you just try to keep it as professional as you can because truthfully female fans have desires and fantasies and you cannot be oblivious or ignorant of that. Especially if you’re someone that likes to make people feel welcome and good, you can be read off as something else. So how do I deal with it? I think boundaries.
TheCable Lifestyle: Last year, you came under criticism on social media over your reaction to Burna Boy’s claim of making $100 million. How did that make you feel?
Korede Bello: It proved my point that everything in this life is subjective. I always say that if someone comes and says this is my experience, why are you arguing with somebody’s experience? Because your own reality doesn’t match mine, doesn’t mean that you should argue. So, I came out to say it is not a lot of money for me, I’m claiming that as my experience so why are you arguing my experience? It has proven the same thing that people are not after the subject itself, it’s a personal thing. They are angry about their reality. What I was doing was personal, $100 million is not a lot of money for me.
TheCable Lifestyle: Tell us about the people that inspire you in the industry.
Korede Bello: I am looking to you, you inspire me right now. Everything inspires me. I’m inspired by people who are doing it big because I believe in creating art for a diverse set of people. People who are breaking geographical boundaries are inspiring me because I want us to go bi. I want us to take it to the world. I want us to spread the word to a global audience. Everyone that is doing that inspires me. So, Wiz, David, Burna, Tems, Ayra, Rema, Oxlade, Clay, everybody.
TheCable Lifestyle: What is your relationship with Don Jazzy?
Korede Bello: Don Jazzy is my friend and also my former label executive but erm… he is just my friend, just leave it there.
TheCable Lifestyle: Are you part of a new label?
Korede Bello: Oh yes, I have new partners. I have a deal with ONErpm global.
TheCable Lifestyle: When did you sign the deal?
Korede Bello: Last year.
TheCable Lifestyle: When should we expect a new album?
Korede Bello: Yes, big projects are coming up and I’m excited about it. I can’t wait for people to experience it.
TheCable Lifestyle: What would you like to tell your fans?
Korede Bello: You’re not my fan, you’re my family and you’re not just my family, you’re a part of me. We share the same stardust; we are not separate. I wish us well. Shift your consciousness from me to we, always pray for the collective good of all.
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