Nigerian RnB singer, Praise Adejo, aka Praiz, speaks with OLUSHOLA RICKETTS about his music career, relationship with women and other related matters
Why are you yet to hold a concert like many of your colleagues?
I like to do things differently. I have yet to do any solo show because I am not ready to do what I would really like to do. I have a massive plan, but the time has not come to unleash it. For my concert, I plan to invite an international RnB act. Very soon, everyone will witness it. I believe anything worth doing is worth doing well. Generally, I had a great outing last year. I released a couple of songs that did well internationally and locally. I am ready to drop a five-track EP this month, precisely on February 14. There are some artistes that release singles every month but I am not that type of singer. I am strategic with the way I put out materials. I believe everyone has his or her own technique.
Are you satisfied with your growth in music?
I love my growth. I prefer to have 1,000 fans who are loyal to me than a million fans who are not loyal. When you talk about people who broke into the industry from reality shows, I am one of them, even though I didn’t win. As a matter of fact, people always think I won Project Fame. I believe you need to understand your fans. However, that doesn’t mean you should be lazy or rest on your laurels. While you are still pushing to be a better person, one needs to be grateful to God. I owe everything I have achieved to God, but most people don’t know that I work a lot. I tell people that I have lost four years of sleep in my life. I go to bed at 4am daily. However, there are a lot of people who work as hard as I do, yet they don’t get results. For me, it has been God, patience, focus and hard work. I know where I want to be and I am working towards it. I am a talented boy who is enjoying the favour of God. Once God sees your heart and how much you are passionate about what you do, He blesses you.
Are you a lover boy?
If you call me a lover boy, I think you are right. I am an RnB singer and when you talk about that genre of music, the first thing that comes to your mind is love. I sing about different stages of love and my major fans are women. For every man who sings, women should be their prime target because they bring everyone on board.
Have you broken a lady’s heart in recent times?
There is no one I can remember at the moment. I try my best to avoid breaking any woman’s heart.
Do you believe in love?
Yes, I do. Loving someone is a sacrifice because you often have to go out of your comfort zone to ensure the person is happy. Love is a sacrifice.
Do you have a child?
I don’t and it doesn’t mean artistes that have baby mamas are irresponsible.
Have you forgiven the Nigerian police for your recent feud with them?
I honestly don’t want to talk about that again. However, I want people to know that I was not rude to them as claimed. I have never been rude to anyone, regardless of the person’s position, because I had a good upbringing. Even if you wrong me, I will react respectfully. I don’t believe in violence or being rude to people.
What has fame deprived you of?
Obviously, there are certain things that I enjoyed doing before fame came calling that I cannot do again because of my new life. However, I still look for a way to do things. I still take walks on the streets or go to public places alone. I think that makes fans appreciate you more. Fans don’t see us as ordinary people, so when you do things they do, they relate with you better.
Have you ever wished that you were not a celebrity?
I cannot be fed up with the place I am in right now because I try my best to live my life. I don’t try to be another person because I am famous; I have not allowed fame to change me.
Do you have plans for marriage this year?
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I am certain that I will get married but I don’t know how soon it will happen. You don’t need to rush into marriage because it is an institution you are not expected to abandon once you are in it. Though people get married to the wrong people, marriage is a beautiful thing. However, when a marriage turns violent, I always advise people to walk away because staying alive is important. I am taking my time as I don’t want to rush in and rush out.
Have you found a suitable lady?
I have yet to. But I believe in marriage and it is something I would love to experience.
What is your greatest concern about the industry?
I want every genre of music to be respected and given the same opportunity. In Nigeria, you don’t always see awards for other genres apart from the popular ones. The media also have a role to play in this. They need to encourage people who do other genres of music by giving them more airplay.
Do you see RnB music becoming as popular as hip-hop in Nigeria?
Everyone likes RnB music. You cannot be with your girlfriend and start playing rap music. We are in a nation where everyone wants to forget their struggles. People don’t want anything that will make them reflect on bad memories; they would rather settle for songs that make them happy. Though I understand that RnB music has a certain market, I still believe it will get to be accepted more in Nigeria over time. However, I don’t think it can ever be as popular as pop music because of the environment we live in.
Are you involved in any other business?
It is very important for every artiste to have different sources of income. I don’t depend on music alone; I have invested in a couple of things. However, music is the major thing I do because it brings in the money. For me, what matters most is what you do with the money music brings in for you.
Do you think you are the best RnB singer in Nigeria at the moment?
I think it is left for fans and music critics to state who their favourite RnB singer is. However, I am certain that wherever they are talking about RnB music in Nigeria, my name will be mentioned.
Have you ever thought of becoming a rapper?
No, it cannot happen. I can’t rap to save my life. I don’t even see myself trying to do rap music till I die.
When do you regard as the turning point in your career?
People accepted me right from the days of Project Fame. My music career has been a process and I will never despise my days of little beginning. The first song that put me in the limelight was Stupid Song with Bez. Also, people began to notice me after I did songs with M.I and Wizkid. Apart from my original songs, the collaborations I did in the past also contributed to my growth in the industry.
What makes you different from other artistes?
I feel my vocals stand me out from any other artiste. Every artiste has his or her strong point. When you hear a song, you can tell it is my voice without seeing the video.
Didn’t you feel it was the end of the road when you didn’t win Project Fame?
I didn’t see it in that manner. Getting the third position with money and a car was enough for me. We had people in the competition that could sing well but didn’t go home with anything. I felt if I could go that far, there was hope for me in the music industry.
What do you find disturbing about Project Fame?
I don’t think there is anything disturbing about the show presently. I only feel the participants should keep working hard and ensure they capitalise on the exposure they got from the reality show.
What came to mind when you were called upon to be a judge on the show?
I felt accomplished. There was no time I thought I would be a judge on a reality show. I didn’t lobby for it or spoke to anybody to get me on board. It only proves that if you work hard and you are consistent, you will always stand out. It will be recalled that I didn’t even win when I participated in the show, but I was deemed fit to be a judge years later. I have been a contestant; so, I know what it feels like to be in that position. I am also in the industry now and I know what is required to be successful in music.
Do you agree that products of reality shows struggle in the real world?
I can’t speak for anyone but myself. However, when you come from a reality show, you need to work harder because things will not come to you on a platter of gold.
At the time you contested Project Fame, didn’t you feel you were bigger than a reality show?
For you to succeed, you must suppress your ego. Since a competition will be helpful to your career, why can’t you participate? It doesn’t change the fact that you’ve been doing music for years. I have heard people say that they cannot go for reality shows, but that is just their beliefs.