Nigerian music has travelled far and wide. In 2022, artists like Burna Boy and Rema dominated global music charts, including the Billboard Top 100 and Official UK Top 40, whilst 2023 saw Tems bag a Grammy for Best Melodic Rap Performance with Future and Drake, making her the first Nigerian woman to win the award. As Afrobeats captures radio stations and playlists worldwide, a new influx of artists are emerging from Nigeria, all keen to make their mark and stamp their sounds into the mainstream.
Following the success of his track ‘WOWO’, Minz is back. His stellar single was initially released last November under emPawa records, the Mr. Eazi-owned label he signed to in 2020. While undoubtedly an impressive record, its reach has skyrocketed with the addition of two in-form musicians on its remix: BNXN and Blaqbonez.
Kicking off the year as he means to go on – the star-studded remix to his silky, saxophone-flanked single has already earned Minz his first entry into the top 10 of Apple Music’s Top 100 songs in Nigeria.
Where did you get the name, Minz?
The name Minz is a nickname from my surname, which is Aminu. My full name is Olúwadámilọ́lá Adédọlápọ̀ Amínù.
Congrats on your latest release, the remix of your hit ‘WOWO’. What does this song mean to you?
Thank you! This song is a special moment for me, a moment of reflection on how far I’ve come in my journey, through life and as an artist. It’s a song of thanksgiving.
You brought two other Nigerian musicians, BNXN and Blaqbonez, onto the track. Is it important for you to support other Nigerian artists?
Yes, definitely. I have a history of being featured on other people’s records, I love bringing my universe to theirs, but this is actually my first feature on my own song. There’s more to come on my project, though.
How did you come up with the designs for the project’s super cool artwork?
[Laughs] I actually sketched the cover idea down myself and sent it to my graphic designer. I had an image of what I wanted, the mean look of my character and the dreadlocks drooping down to give off the “WOWO” vibe.
After previously dropping the super catchy ‘WOWO’ and ‘BDMN’ singles, your laid-back style of singing showcases your knack for fusing traditional African rhythms into Pop and R&B sounds. How would you describe your sound and vibe?
I’m naturally a wavy person and I’m influenced by a lot of different sounds across genres like Trap, RnB, Highlife and so on. I could go from listening to Travis Scott to King Sunny Ade or Musiliu Haruna Ishola. I would describe my sound as a fusion of Afro Fusion/Afro Wave influences.
How did you get started in music?
I’ve always loved music, my dad used to take me on drives playing classics and there was always music playing at home as a kid. I really got into it in high school, I was always up-to-date on the latest music and started learning to rap. When I got into uni, I found a friend who was learning to make beats and I started learning too. I picked it up ‘cause I needed beats to rap on, and before I knew it, I was singing too. I started putting out music as soon as I left uni; the rest is history.
Does being both a producer and an artist give you more of an understanding of making a hit song?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t say I have the formula, but being a producer allows me to experiment and try different/unconventional things until I come up with something special that becomes a “hit.”
Who would be your dream collaborations?
I would love to create magic with Drake, I’d love to make magic with Travis Scott and I’d love to work with Wiz and Wande Coal.
Does your culture and heritage influence the music you make?
I’m Nigerian – Yoruba specifically – and we have a rich and deep culture. I grew up hearing music from King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Haruna Ishola and many other legends. It definitely influenced me, I didn’t even realise it until I started making music myself. I use my language to portray the ideas in my head; I’m grateful to have this heritage.
You are regarded as one of Nigeria’s artists to watch. Is it important for you to represent and celebrate your home country?
I’m grateful to be on such a prestigious list, I come from a place where there aren’t many things that give people hope or joy. Music is one of the few things that still make my people happy and proud. As a Nigerian musician, I am responsible for being a beacon of hope to Nigerians everywhere, flying the flag and showing the rest of the world what we are capable of. I’m not a fan of our leadership, but I love my country and ride for my Naija people any day.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
‘WOWO’ going top five has been a high point, but I’d say headlining my own sold-out show in Lagos. That was a huge step and the turnout had me shook!
Any bucket list-like career goals?
I wanna put out more music, I wanna put the world on to my sound, I wanna reach levels that even I can’t imagine, I wanna do this on astronomical levels. My name will be mentioned in the same breath as the greatest of all time.
2023 is proving to be a big year for you, with the remix on its way to number one in Nigeria! What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2023?
I want to put out my debut project and even more music. I’m really about my visuals, so I wanna put out amazing videos. I wanna do my show “By Any Minz” again, bigger and better. I wanna tour the world.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians/creatives?
I’d say be yourself and never doubt who you are. Do it afraid. Trust the process.
Can you give an insight into any upcoming/future projects you’re working on?
My debut project, ‘By Any Minz’, drops soon and there’s some really amazing music on there. I plan to go on tour, just stay tuned and watch out for the kid!
Words by Gabrielle Smith