Fast-rising singer, Joseph Akinfenwa, better known as Joeboy, speaks about being in the limelight at age 23, his music career and other issues
Tell us a bit about your childhood and educational background?
My real name is Joseph Akinfenwa-Donus. I was born in Surulere but grew up in Akoka, Lagos State. My parents are Yoruba, I have two brothers and a sister. As the last born of the family, I grew up surrounded with music influences. My dad played the church organ, my elder brother played the guitar. So, I used to go with them for choir practice and that influenced my love for music subconsciously. I remember going to ID Cabasa’s studio when I was about eight years old with my brother. I attended Akoka primary and secondary school. I graduated from the University of Lagos where I studied Human Resources Management.
What were some of the fondest memories of growing up?
One of my fondest memories of childhood was when my uncle brought me toys and video games. I remember having a lot of toys as a child and I started playing video games at the age of five. I lived in a family house so I had a lot of cousins around me and people to play with. We had like 10 dogs too so there was so much fun at home. Looking back, I can say I had a great childhood.
Why did you choose music as a career?
I’d say music chose me, it’s my destiny. I thought I would probably end up having a white-collar job. I love music but I didn’t see myself being a professional artiste. I just loved singing for fun but one thing led to another and with words of encouragement from the people I respect, I had to accept my destiny as an artiste.
In 2019, you were one of the songsters that made wave in the music industry, how did you feel when your song ‘Baby’’ became a hit?
It was one of the best feelings ever. As a young boy from Akoka, Bariga, in Lagos State, having the number one song in a country was a beautiful feeling. I almost cried at the success of the song and I’ll forever be thankful to everyone that supports me and my music.
In recent times, young talented artistes have also done well in the music industry, do you feel scared of being easily outshined?
I am not scared of being outshined, being where I am is not by my power but by God’s grace and blessings. I’ll always put out amazing music and I’ll be relevant for a very long time. The sky is big enough for everyone to fly.
What were some of the challenges that you thought you would face before joining the music industry?
One of the challenges that I had envisaged was how I was going to promote my music. Another one was how I was going to handle the fame that comes with being a popullar artiste.
Did you ever think that at 23, you would have gone far or made a hit?
Yes, I knew I would go far with my music because I started working towards it early. I had faith in myself when I realised music was going to be what I wanted to do as a profession.
Some people have said that young artistes don’t know how to handle fame for a long period of time. Can this be true?
Truthfully, it’s difficult handling fame as a young person but I think I’ll handle my fame well. Before my music made waves, I was always around Mr Eazi, so I learnt a lot from him.
People have also said that music in recent times promotes too much nudity and excessive use of daring video vixens. How do you react to this?
For me, music videos are a form of art and honestly, videos that contain nudity won’t be rampant if they didn’t appeal to a considerable number of the audience.
What are the dos and don’ts that you have adhered to being a young artiste?
I’ve made it important that I stay consistent with the quality of my music I release and also level up in the process. I’m also careful not to do things that would affect my brand negatively.
Initially, did you think people could undermine the quality of your songs, because of your age?
No, I have never thought that my music will be undermined because of my age. Good music has no rules, no age limit and no barriers.
Do you intend to make music a lifetime career? If yes, what are your other areas of interest?
I love singing but I would retire professionally at some point, afterwards I would go into farming. This is because I love watching things grow. I also have interest in real estate.
Who or what inspires you in the music industry?
I’m just inspired by a lot of people in the music industry. People like Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy and other artistes that make good music.
How long does it take you to compose a song?
I could compose a song in 10 -30 minutes. This, however, depends on the inspiration I get at that particular time. Sometimes, it could also take me one or two days to compose a song.
Is music a lucrative career?
Yes, music is a lucrative career but it takes a lot of investment and planning with hard work and grace of God. I don’t feel people should go into music just for money. Rather, it should be something you genuinely love doing because it can get crazy at times. When things, fortunately, works out as planned, music is a very lucrative business and also a good platform to go into other businesses. This is because people love to do business with popular names.
How did you feel about the increase in the number of your fans on social media?
It’s a great feeling to have a good fan base. I’m so glad to witness my dreams come true.
What is the most amusing thing that a female fan has done to you?
She found my hotel room and said she wouldn’t leave till I kissed her.
Did you kiss her?
No, I didn’t kiss her, my manager showed up before things would get out of hands.
How did Mr Eazi come in contact with you?
I met Mr Eazi through social media after I posted a cover of ‘Shape of you’, a song by English singer and songwriter, Ed Sheeran. Mr Eazi saw it and reached out to me. Afterwards, he started mentoring me.
What are the things that have changed about your life since you became popular?
I think I’m more restricted and can’t visit the places I used to. I am also careful about what I tweet or post on social media. My bank account is now fatter as well.
What are your hobbies?
I love playing video games, watching documentaries, reading novels, visiting the beach and jogging.
What are the things that you can’t do without?
My phone and my shades, especially when I’m going out.