Mr Eazi not taking it easy with plans to conquer the world

Mr Eazi continues with his successful formula for making African music: short songs with catchy melodies with simple repetitive hooks. Picture: Supplied

Mr Eazi continues with his successful formula for making African music: short songs with catchy melodies with simple repetitive hooks. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 10, 2018


It’s been about four months since Mr Eazi and I last met at the Four Season’s Hotel Westcliff. He’d just released his hit single, "London Town," featuring grime British artist, Giggs, and, a day after our interview, was headed for Dublin, Ireland for his first show there. That show, he says, was a huge success. “I love Europe right now. That’s like one of the best places to tour.”

This year has also seen him tour Canada. “I loved it. The only thing I didn’t love was the time zone differences and the flights. It was not warm at the time, so I got cold. I went to four cities in four days, and when I got back to London I was sick. You know them sick ones where the doctor will give you something and it doesn’t work, then when you go back he’s like, ‘You just have to rest’. I’m like, ‘What the? You’re a doctor, you’re supposed to help me.’” He laughs.

It’s been just over a month since Mr Eazi released his already record-breaking mixtape, "Life is Eazi, Vol. 2. Lagos to London," which has been streamed over 80 million times since release. The mixtape, the sequel to last year’s Accra to Lagos, builds on his cross-continental sound that blends his brand of banku music with afro-beats, dancehall and elements of R&B.

“In the process, I’d say I’ve been more specific with Lagos to London,” he explains of the difference in the process of making this project as compared to his previous one. “Like, you know, growing as an artist and confidently saying this is what I want to curate, I don’t care if it’s commercial or not, this is what I want to put out and I’m going to back it up and go all in. I was almost doing too much, I was sharing more.”

I ask him why he decided to release another mixtape.

“I feel like I’m still finding my sound. I’m still evolving as an artist. When I put out an album I want to be comfortable and say yeah this is me. But now I’m still travelling the world and getting influenced left and right, and that’s shaping me. So these mixtapes are just telling you the journey of the music.”

He’ll release the album when he feels it’s the right time, but definitely not next year or the year after, he says.

For next year, he’s considering exploring the vibes of the Caribbean with a London to Kingston project. “I’m playing with the idea that shows the world to different sounds. Because I feel like everywhere has its identity. Like on this mixtape there’s a song called Open and Close, but in South Africa it’s a Gqom remake and it’s called Shasha Kushasha with Distruction Boys. So you see how the same song can exist in two different forms and bring two different energies.”

Mr Eazi’s fan-base is increasingly populated by non-Africans. His aim is to introduce them to our world of African music. Mr Eazi also credits his selection for Apple Music’s global Up Next campaign in July 2017 for advancing his career. The campaign, which saw him have billboards in the likes of London, New York and LA, featured in 116 markets around the world and saw him appear live on James Corden’s show. It's been onwards and upwards ever since.

I asked him about the unique, gorgeous YouTube visualisers he’s been putting out for his recent singles. “I think first off, I love cartoons. So I like to express that. And also, I noticed that a lot of my fans listen to the music on YouTube. So I want to put something there to entertain them. I did it for Leg Over, huge. I did it for Pour Me Water, huge response. And then I did it for London Town and decided that we might as well do it for all the songs on the tape.”

Lagos to London continues on his hugely successful formula of making music: short songs with catchy melodies coupled with simple, repetitive hooks.

In the space of around three years, Mr Eazi has gone from being a phone salesman in Accra, Ghana to being a world-renowned Nigerian superstar championing African music. Where the music will take him next, who knows. All we know for sure is wherever he decides to go next, African music will follow.

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