For Keshinro Ololade popularly known by his stage name, Lil Kesh, music is not just a hobby but rather serious business where keen attention is pivotal and necessary. The 22-year-old Nigerian Singer, rapper and songwriter not long ago dropped his supposed first single, ‘Lyrically,’ which was quickly accepted my music lovers both home and abroad. Officially Lil Kesh shot into light after the chart toping song ‘Shoki’ rose to critical acclaims from music critics and a household national anthem till date. Born and raised in Bariga, a suburb of Lagos State, Lil Kesh is not relenting and ready to battle head to head to still remain relevant in the music scene. Affiliated to YBNL Nation as a recording artiste, Lil Kesh is currently signed under his record label YAGI Records, an acronym for “Young and Getting It”. However, not so many will know that Mr. YAGI is from a strong Christian background, composed and reserved person who is ready to relate well with people.In this chat with MUTIAT ALLI, Lil Keshclears the air on his supposed sudden exist from YBNL, his new label, next project and other issues. Enjoy…
It’s barely three weeks that you flagged off your own record label, YAGI and equally released your first video off the album; how is the new label doing?
Like we all know that with YBNL, I had a two year contract which ended some few weeks back and the rightful thoughts of Olamide from time is that his prayer stands firm on all his label artistes that after two years, all artistes he signed will not consider signing into another record label but rather they should be able to stand on their own and try and help other people just like he believed in me as well.
Was Olamide aware that you were going to float your own label?
Off course he was aware because we had discussed about it before my contract ended that I was going to float my own label which he is in total support of as I know I got his back always.
Why choice of YAGI as the label name?
Well YAGI is the name of my debut album which meansYoung and getting itand YAGI is like me because everybody knows that’s my new logo now; I am 22 and I am doing well for myself. Even with the name of the album, like I said earlier, it talks basically about me. I am just starting off, I am learning and the same time, I am getting it. I stand for YAGI and YAGI stands for me.
You left YBNL at the time when your career is growing, don’t you think that it will affect your career and stand in the industry?
I am still very much around in the industry and good stuff is still going to come out from my stable and YBNL; the fact that I am floating my own label does not matter and does equally mean I am no longer under YBNL because that is where a lot of people are getting it wrong. Olamide and YBNL movement is still managing me as an artiste and the fact that I have my own label simply means that YAGI records is being managed by YBNL. We are still together; I and Olamide still record in the same studio and work with same set of producers. As you all know, YBNL is a family thing and we all support each other.
Was it as a result of peer influence or you think you are good enough that informed you floating your label?
People are still getting it wrong; no peer group or friends pressurised me to leave YBNL for no reason.To set the record straight, I don’t move with any other crew other than YBNL; so who can possibly want to influence me; nobody. It has always been Olamide’s dream that we all grow big in the industry; Olamide has shared the idea with me before I shared it with myself.
Is Adekunle Gold also on your YAGI label?
(Ah) My brother Gold is still under YBNL but most people got it wrong because he designed the label logo and my album art work. Gold has always been supportive from day one as well as other people on the YBNL label. For YAGI records, I am the only artiste on it; come to think of it where do people want me to see money from to sign Adekunle Gold; my bro is expensive just like all his songs are of quality.
In one of your songs ‘Life of a star’ featuring AdekunleGold, what informed that song and the lyrical content?
My life basically from me not being famous to me being famous now; it’s actually something, stages and experience that comes with it. Trying to adjust to a live of walking peacefully on the street and people not disturbing you but now you are restricted to what you can do and what you can say online. For me that change was quite difficult; many don’t know how freely I do my things back then before the fame came in. Basically, my album is a reflection of my past, present and probably the future as the case maybe. Life of a star came as a reflection of all I have been through. I was actually mediating when the song vibe came in; so I called Pheelz, the producer that I was ready and that Adekunle Gold will be dropping few lines too. The funniest part is that I and Adekunle went for a show together in Abeokuta and travelled down to Lagos the following morning where both of us lodged in a hotel due to fuel scarcity then and we had all the recording tools available and Adekunle did his verse, went back to sleep, woke and continued and at the end of the day, the song came out nice.
So what really is the life of a star?
Life of a star basically is all what we go through as artistes; we might be having a bad day but still show up at event like everything is alright because we are public figures and we must always represent our fans so well. The life of a star is not predictable, people think all is always well with us at all times but they don’t understand the fact that we are humans too; forget the celebrity status attached to it.
What inspires your creativity generally?
Like I said, my music is usually a reflection of my life because I each time I want to record a song, I go down memory lane to where I was coming from; the street, my environment and every situation I find myself in. I equally am an online person and I play a lot; so at times, I put my hobby and character into my music.
Take the music from Lil Kesh, who is Lil Kesh?
Lil Kesh is a boy that all he’s got in this life for now is his music and trying to make the best. My story is quite different from everyone because things started happening for me at a very young age and the level of things I was able to achieve within the space of two years as so many people ordinary did not believe that I will go this far. So the only thing that is still making me relevant is the music; outside music, Lil Kesh is just a boy.
Starting off as a musician, were you parents in support of that?
My case is different because my father is a Christian and I grew up in a gospel family as my father has his own church and there I had music to enjoy from my parents; because music was all around me and that also informs the creative side of me. Despite the fact that my parents are good Christians, they are always in support of what their children are willing to do and more importantly they preach the education gospel too. My parents will give their blessings as long as you are on the right cause; they are my number one fans and have always supported my music from the onset.
Was music something you derives from your parents?
Yes but probably from my mum not dad, she has this way of singing which I actually picked up and when you listen to my music and hear my mum sing, you will notice the connection. Then my upbringing around the church too was an influence for my love for music.
How was growing up in Bariga for you?
Growing up in Bariga was fun for me and the most memorable; I represent my hood 100%, that’s why I speak about them in my music and all around. I am proud of my hood, I learnt a lot growing up there. The environment was the best fun spot for me that made merealise I had a great potential in music. I can brag anywhere that there are lots of hidden talents in Bariga. I represent my hood at every corner, on social media.
How do you juggle academics, family, concerts and busy schedules together?
Believe me sincerely, it’s crazy I must say but it’s more than an online thing (NOUN University) for me now because that works for me more than going to class as I need utmost concentration to face my academics. Education is key and very important; if you are young and out there and making money at a very tender age, you still need to be educated as it is mandatory; that makes me want to compete with others.You may be enjoying the money now but wait until you are old, you wish you had the certificate.
What came into your mind the first day you saw your material on TV?
I was happy because it was like the very first time but as at then, I am this kind of person that does not know how to celebrate what I have just achieved because what I still want to achieve lies ahead as I already have a bigger picture of what I want. Though I was excited when I saw my first video but at the same time, I was already thinking of what the follow-up video will be.
With your first album is doing quite well in the industry, what is next for you?
I am not relenting neither am I resting; next for me now is shooting videos off the YAGI album; mores singles and better work ahead, planning tours across the continent and focusing on how to make my own label stand too.
What usually informs your choice of words?
Like I said, I kind of take in whatever I hear and what comes out of my thoughtful thinking; I equally use my instinct to record.
Do you write your lyrics yourself?
Definitely, nobody understands my music better than I do nor my vibes; although most of songs comes in space of limited time. For instance, I might be sleeping and when I wake up, an idea or lyrics come to my mouth, I quickly dash into the studio to do my lines and much later I sit down and outline my lyrics and lines accordingly.
With several hit singles and an album to your career, will say you are at the peak of your career now?
(Laugh)!! Arrive ke, no I have not at all.My career will start maybe from next year. I say that because I had a nice year from two years back and this is another year. I can only hope for God’s favour and showers of blessing over me. I am positive that this year and other coming years will be better. I am just at the start point of the career as I still have a long way to go. I am still hustling.
Just as Olamide groomed you, what is your plan with YAGI; are you considering signing an act too?
Off course I will.It’s the legacy Olamide taught us because at some point I had to look back when I had no record label and nothing at all. I knew how I felt and how badly I wanted people to know about me. When I get to that stage when I think I am capable enough financially, intellectually, I will also discover a talent in the industry. For now, my strength basically is for me to make the brand big.
Will you say Olamide is a greater leader?
If there is another percentage after 100, I think Olamide deserves that and more.He did not make us see being an artiste, celebrities and the fame the way every other person sees it.He made us believe so much in our potentials and always advice emphatically that when fame comes, tread softly and always remember where you are coming from. Before I was officially signed on YBNL record, I had moved and studied Olamide as a person because I was curious to know what made him successful in the industry and within a short while, I learnt a lot from him. One fact people don’t know is that Olamide does not see himself as been big in the industry yet, he hustles like he is an upcoming artiste.
Which is your favourite among all your work?
I will say ‘Lyrically’ because it is still standing as my biggest song for me because when I climb the stage to perform, the flows and acceptance is always there especially when I perform with live band. I call ‘Lyrically’ my birthday song because that was what Olamide heard and signed me despite the fact that I was discouraged not to drop the song then as people felt it was not of standard; thank God I did and ever since, doors have been opening for me.
How long does it take you to make a song?
It all depends on my timing, mood, schedules and all that; at times, it may be longer or shorter than I expected. There are some songs that when you record them, you pulse at some point and continue later.
What is your most annoying daily routine?
For me, the most annoying routine is waking up so early at times because I like to sleep well; I sleep so late at night especially when I have recording to do and at the point of me enjoying my few hour sleep, schedules will come in that I have to be at some places at a particular time and I’ll be like ‘can you guys give me more hours to sleep more?.
Best vacation spot?
That will surely be South Africa because the very first time I travelled there, I loved the place and want to go back.
Your first experience out of the Nigeria, how excited were you?
I was just eager to get on the plane.My first time outside Nigeria was to London and then I was supposed to travel a day before but my manger had issues with his paper; so we had to go the next day and because I had my eyes on the plane and had pictured how I was sitting in the plan, I asked my manager:‘Are there no way that I can go before him and he joins me later?
Are you aware that people tag you as been arrogant and pompous?
Why? I don’t even go out, I don’t hear that at all time because there are places where you go and people tell you Lil Kesh is a good guy and all that while there some place you are fed with negative comments. Like I said, that’sthe life of a star.There are times I am having a very bad day and barely smiles; maybe that’s one of those dayspeople meet me, or maybe I am at an event of over 5,000 crowd, you don’t expect me to take pictures with them all even though I am willing to that.My manager sometimes restrict me when he sees that the crowd is becoming too unbearable. I am human being and I can’t satisfy everybody; let me seize this opportunity to say I am sorry; maybe people caught up with me on a very wrong day. Lil Kesh is cool headed, playful and down to earth.
What is your projection for YAGI records few years from now?
Let the will of God take charge; I will continue to work and make efforts towards the label being successful but all still comes down to God who will lead me through.
You sounded more of a church boy?
Yes I am a church boy, I don’t joke with my creator.Despite all the whole celebrity thing, this life don’t freak me. I always remember where I came from and how far God has positioned me because my story is a testimony; what excuse do I have not to praise my creator.
What is your take on beefing in the entertainment industry?
I don’t understand oo, this year has been so funny.The level of beef is so high, it is like they are just importing more cows into the country. For me, I don’t think beefing or hating your fellow is necessary but I think the social media is doing the most part of it because a lot of people get to talk nonsense and contribute in other people’s business; why because social media is allowing it. But at some point, come to think of it, Nigerians are bored and suffering, no water, no light, no fuel; if what is good or bad about celebrities is what is making them happy, they should keep it up then.