He came into the industry with a high vibes that got the attention of all the industry shakers with the release of his debut song ‘One in a Million’ featuring legendary 2Face Idibia. Born Joshua Iniyezo but popularly referred to as SolidStar, he is one of Nigeria’s best breed artistes who has withered the storm and still very much relevant in the industry with good blend of Highlife, Hip-hop and Afro-Pop tune. SolidStar hails from the Isoko ethnic group in Delta State, Nigeria. Specifically, his village is Aviara in Isoko South Local Government Area of the state. He was born and bred in Ajegunle in Lagos, but presently resides in Festac Town, Lagos. SolidStar started singing and playing instruments such as drums at the age of eight in his church choir and took to singing professionally in 2004. Signed onto Achievas Entertainment Co Nig. Ltd, SolidStar is not giving music a break as he is bent on being relevant for so long. In an exclusive chat with MUTIAT ALLI, the ever jovial and proud Isoko Boy shares with us his much talked about ‘Wait’ song featuring HKN boss, Davido, his upcoming album, projects and other sundry issues. Enjoy…
What has been the reception since the release of your song ‘Wait’ featuring Davido?
The song is doing pretty well as the reviews and comments that I have received is quite commendable and encouraging because it’s not good on the artiste side when you put out a song and people don’t like it or there are no good talks about it, it automatically kills your morals. The song is everywhere and there are plans for a remix of the song because of the success recorded on the original version.
Is it a personal experience as the video tells where a lady asked you to wait in terms of relationship?
No, it’s just an idea that I just came up with as a concept for the song, because it’s just like when I wanted to record the song, I decided on the type of tempo I want to use and how I want it to sound at the end of the day. In all fairness, I actually worked on the lyrics to connect with the way the video will be put out.
Why the choice of Davido on the song when we have other talented acts?
I actually did that because I know and foresaw that Davido was a very good match for the song. Although I have other artistes that can ordinarily blend on the song with the likes of Flavour, Phyno and others because of the lyrical content of the song but I chose Davido because he is a versatile artiste and people ordinarily won’t expect a Davido to jump on that kind of beat, so I just wanted him to do something different and he did; and as well at the end of the day, both the audio and video came out well.
Who are the artistes you are currently working with on remix of wait?
Although it’s 80% done but I really don’t want to reveal the name of the artistes now till maybe a week to the due release date. It’s definitely going to be a male and a female artiste.
You have a striking resemblance with Flavour, have people told you that?
Yes, a lot of people say so but I think it’s because of the hairstyle.
Sometimes your music sound the same, is it deliberate or coincidence?
I will just see it as coincidence. I can always agree to the fact that we have same hairstyle but musically, I disagree because he has his own way of music and vibes so also do I have mine too. Although I love to represent people from the eastern part of the country because am a lover a good quality highlife music considering my background that I was born and brought up in the church.
Talking about starting from the church, what role did you play while growing up there?
Like I said earlier, I was born and brought-up in church. I was one of the lead drummers in church as well as good vocalist. I love highlife music and I think I was able to groom myself all from the church and that I will say have really helped the artistic part of me.
So where will you classify your genre of music?
I do highlife blend and afro pop.
As a church boy, are there times when we get to see Solidstar do a gospel song?
Definitely, I cannot forget quickly where I am coming from. I am working on full gospel song which will be included in my album billed to release before the end of the year; trust me there will be like two to four gospel songs on the album because I have not done such before
When was the last time you drummed?
I still drum perfectly even though it’s been long; the last time I drummed was during my rehearsal at my own hosted industry night, although I could not use it on the day of the show because they could not provide one on the D-day. In the course of the rehearsal, a lot people were amazed since it was the first time they saw me doing that.
You are one of the few musically inclined artistes that we have in the country, what are you doing to have the mileage that you deserve?
I think the problem lies in the management aspect, but we are really working on that so that I have my stuffs all around. It’s so sad that my music doesn’t cut across the necessary places it ought to have been which is on the part of the management. As I as speak, all hands are on deck now and we are really strategising. Now we have a good distribution team that is going a good job while we are still in search of a competent manager who can bring new ideas on board.
Awhile back, you went on twitter rant with DJ Neptune, what really happened?
DJ Neptune and I are good friends but what happened that night was that during the HipTV nomination party, I, Oritsefemi and one other artiste was the headliners for the show. I was the second artiste to perform as Oritsefemi was expected to round-up the show. I was performing because normally, I love to do acapella for my fans to respond before I do the main song. I had performed two of my songs already and was gearing up to perform the key song’ My Body’, so I did the acapella and was expecting the DJ to play the song, he was just scratching the music which indirectly means I should leave the stage. I felt totally embarrassed and left the stage in anger. I tried getting back to him but his lines were not available. Though it was bad, I couldn’t hold, so I had go twitter to pour my mind out.
Is it that before the show, you guys had problems?
No, we have never had one before, so I was surprised on why he will do that to me. Trust me, the crowd was excited when I was performing. Although I did not say much in the rant, all I said was ‘Though I respect you a lot but if you don’t respect me, next time you do this again, you would not find it funny’ and it went viral.
After the hitch between you two, what is your current relationship like?
Since last year, I have done and attended different shows that he was one of the performing DJ and we are cool now because for me all that happened last year; we are in a new year now.
So after ‘Wait’, what should your fans be expecting from you?
(Smiles), After ‘Wait’, they should watch out for the remix too and then a song with Flavour and Phyno follows.
A lot of people are of the opinion that SolidStar drops good jamz but he is not being given the push needed?
Like I said before, it all still boils down to the management and that is what we are working on. As I have shoved away people that are drawing my progress backward, if you notice now, ‘Wait’ has a lot of push and this is as a result of the new distributor that is on board now. Also, a good manager that talks about your brand to the cooperate world is also lacking and as result causing few set back which is in its correctional stage now.
What should we be expecting differently in your coming album?
My kind of person, as the day goes by, I keep improving and a learn new ideas, getting wiser and also moving with the right persons because I change friends almost every day because if you keep moving with one set of people, you will discover that you are doing same all the time. My next album will be better than the previous one most definitely.
Any working title for your next album and how far have you gone?
Currently we are about 50% in the album preparation, but for the working title of the album, I will disclose that when the time is appropriate. Just be rest assured that I will not be falling short of standard.
How do you feel when you read negative stories about yourself in the media?
It was when I was still an upcoming artiste that when such got to me I felt bad; when people say shit about me in the media which at all times are negative and not true but now you write, I laugh. Believe me sincerely; in the industry now, you have lovers, haters and some other categories. It does not affect me anymore because now, I have learnt to be strong and a whole lot of lesson comes with as day progresses.
Coming back to the management team, what exactly is Achievas Music doing for you and also what is your stand on the assertion that record labels are dead in Nigeria?
I equally want to agree on the fact that some record labels are actually dead because they just see the success of some musicians and they will be like, they want to open a record label and they equally want to double as the CEO of the label and sign in the artiste. Most of them do not understand the fact that for start in opening a record label , you will be budgeting like N40 million which is going to be a loss as you are just about testing water and paying your dues. However, on the second part of the question, Achievas music on their own part has done a lot for me. Even when things were not going well, they still stood by me. They just kept believing in me and they have a passion for growing careers. I stand to say it anywhere that Achievas music is one of the best labels in Nigeria and the world but where I have issues with them is that they bring the wrong people on board and that is what we are working on now.
Who is now your manager?
For now, I don’t have a manager because I am just building a new team around. In a couple of weeks, all will be sorted out.
When do we get to see SolidStar do a song in his local dialect?
The problem now is that the Isoko language now, I can’t really speak it fluently but I only understand it when people say it’ I am a proud Isoko boy wey no sabi speak am’ and for me to bring somebody to sit down and start translating for me will be very difficult but I need to stay there for like a month to perfect everything because I am fast learner. Ridiculously, if it was a Calabar song, I can do that very well, likewise Igbo language. I love the language and the fact that I can speak a bit of it, I can still blend it. For my local dialect song, I am seriously working on it because I won’t want to sing a song in my language and will be singing off key.
How long have you been carrying your dread?
I have carried my dread for years and I have also lost count of the years but it will amaze you that I have tried different look with dread, even at time I had to shave a bit from and I also hide the dread so that people will think I have shaved it off but still people still want the dread on me because it something people have identified me with. So if I should completely shave-off the dread, people will begin to find me because I have a very small head.
What is the craziest thing a fan has done to you?
It’s much oo!! But the one that amazed me more was at one of the industry night. I wanted to ease myself, so on my way to the toilet, there was this lady who stood up at the time I did do, so instead of her to go to the female rest room, she followed me to the male rest room and I was shocked. Then I asked her why don’t you go to the female rest room? She said, ‘Solid, I am a crazy fan of yours’ and I responded with thank you. I expected her to leave immediately after my response but my brother, she did not ooo but rather she was coming close to me, I had to run out of the rest room.
But you are a man now, why did you run?
My dear, I needed to run for safety before they go begin talk bad belle matter again.
Is there any other project that you are working on?
Well that will be my tours outside the country because I will be out of town for a month and that in a way will equally affect the work flow of my coming album.
A lot of your colleagues attend social events so well and we don’t get to see SolidStar do same. Is it deliberate?
My kind of person, I really don’t like going to where I will not benefit from, and I no dey like see finish, and too, normally I attend few events, like industry night. If you are not really close to me, I may likely not attend. I am that artiste that doesn’t farm anybody; if you want to assist me you do and if not, leave me in my zone. I am just on my own and doing well, I don’t have a clique as my real clique is my team. Not forgetting that I respect all my colleagues a lot, those that I have worked with and those that I still look up to working with in the nearest future.
One word for your fans?
I love you all; keep supporting the brand, SolidStar.
Is SolidStar in a relationship?
Yes, but I just want to keep my love life out of the eyes of the public, it’s my private life and that is why it is my personal affair
Will you date an industry person?
No, I cannot date an industry person.
Will you also be going the Baby Mama way?
Don’t even go there at all, because I won’t. A lot of people don’t know I have a son who is about eight months old but I won’t be going into details about it. I am a proud father.