Our NEXT UP series is a music discovery initiative that showcases the next big things in Afro-influenced music from across Africa and beyond! In this edition, we speak to promising Nigerian Afro-Hip-hop artiste Cheque.
Cheque, originally known as Akanbi Bamidele Brett is carving out a niche for himself. The 26-year old who hails from Ondo State, Nigeria inked a record deal with Penthauze Music in 2019. Cheque gained media attention in 2020 when he released his hit song ‘Zoom‘. The song went on to top a lot of charts in and outside of Nigeria. He has since cemented a spot in the very active West African music scene.
1. Hello Cheque. Start by telling us a bit about yourself and how your musical journey began?
My musical journey began when I was in university during a period when there was a general federal strike. I met a guy who introduced me to music, and I’ve been working hard towards my musical goals ever since.
2. Your latest song “History” which features Fireboy DML seems to be of sentimental value to you. Tell us how you met Fireboy DML and what this song means to you.
I met Fireboy when I was in my 3rd year of university, we clicked and had great energy together. Making ‘Histroy’ with him was amazing, we both understood where we were coming from and it meant a lot to both of us because we had a very similar journey.
3. Your 5-track Razor EP was a huge success. It had your breakthrough hit ‘Zoom’ (which later earned you a remix with Afrobeats heavyweight — Davido and American rapper Wale) and other great songs like ’Loco’ and ‘Satisfied’. Personally, how would you describe your genre of music?
Personally, I dont like to box myself in, but if any genres in particular then I would say most likely a fusion of afro-trap, afro-r&b, emo-trap. I just like to make music without putting a stamp on what it is.
4.Who are your biggest musical influences in Africa and beyond?
I grew up listening to a lot of Eminem, Drake and 50 Cent. The first African artist that I fell in love with was WizKid, he is a huge inspiration to me. Also, a lot of Old school Blues and Westlife as well, as you can tell it’s a mash-up of all sorts of music.
5.What’s your philosophy in life that influences your creative work?
Naturally, I believe in doing whatever suits you but make sure you always do something that you can be proud of. That is a mantra that I strongly believe in.
6.What makes you the happiest: writing music, recording or performing on stage?
Definitely happiest when recording, I just love music making in general so yeah – definitely recording.
7. Would you like to change anything about your music industry?
Allowing for an easy flow of music, I think making sure people feel comfortable in creating the music that they want to is so important. I don’t like when people are forced to do a specific style of music, the world is big enough for people to create different sounds unique to them.
8.What makes you stand out as an artiste?
The one thing that makes me stand out as an artist is I do whatever I feel, I won’t switch up for anything.
9.What do you feel is the most pertinent issue in your society and what in your opinion is a musician’s role for being a force for societal change?
There is a special power in music, therefore as an artiste, I can give hope or bring happiness to people through my sound.
10.What’s next for Cheque?
I am ready to drop my album, in 2021 – thats the next step!