So we caught up with one of Nigeria’s brightest Indie acts, rapper Bella Alubo. The act who describes herself as too Ajebutta for the razz kids and too razz for the Ajebutta has been pretty consistent with her music releases has tracks Alhaji Money and Whipping as some of her biggest tracks with an ever growing followership on her Soundcloud and various social media pages. Catch her interview with us below.
Tell us a BRIEF HISTORY of you and your art
My name is Mabel Oine Alubo. I’m the last child of my family. My Dad is a sociology Professor and my mum is a school proprietress. I used to like anything creative I could get my hands on as a child; from playing kitchen with sand and flowers, to acting dramas with my friends, drawing, painting, sewing, making beads and such. I looked up to my mum a lot and she used to try her hands at basically everything. That creativity evolved as I grew older and I started focusing on things like writing poetry, making wigs, makeup, hair DIY and photography. Everyone who knows me knows I’ve never had a lot of friends and I’m mostly a loner. So writing music has become one of my favourite modes of self expression. It helps me talk about myself, what I am now, what I wish I was and what I hope to be…that’s why my coming EP is titled Lucid Dreaming.
What are you doing right now
I just finished my service year which was a wonderful experience. Right now, I’m finalising plans for putting out my EP and basically drafting plans for my future because I’m beginning a new phase.
What was music like growing up
So many things! I was exposed to literally all kinds of music growing up. From Ray Boltz to the Spice girls, Eminem, Daddy Showkey, R-Kelly Plantashun boiz, Ja Rule, Catholic hyms, Westlife, B2K, idoma and Hausa songs…everything really.
When did you start creating music
I think I started writing songs in ss2 when I was 14. They weren’t rap songs though. I wrote my 1st rap verse when I was about 16 but didn’t put out any song of mine till when I was between 18 and 19. My first track was my Theraflu (Kanye West) freestyle. I was a bit inconsistent with music throughout my university years. I got more serious and dedicated after I graduated in 2015 and put out my 1st EP.
I listen to all kinds of music. Ironically, I didn’t use to listen to rap until recent years. I think my narrative emotional lyrics are inspired by years of listening to artists like Pink, Avril Lavigne …and a lot of blues, R&B and pop. I’d say my rap mentors and influences in terms of delivery and such are Angel Haze, Eminem, Lauryn Hill, MI, Falz and Nicki Minaj. My dancehall songs are probably influenced by artists like gully god Mavado, Vybz Cartel and the GRIP Boiz.
What kind of music do you do and whats your thoughts on the genre and its acceptability
This is a very simple but difficult question (laughs). I guess my music would be grouped under rap/hiphop? But as you guys will see, my new EP is like sooo many genres mashed up together. From rap to dancehall to afrobeats. I don’t think about the acceptability of whatever genre I’m doing, I think about the particular song and myself as a brand and I’m feeling very positive!
Do you write all your lyrics
Yes! Definitely. Although I don’t see anything wrong with artists having ghost writers like Quentin Miller lol. Especially big artists who are like an entire package in themselves and an entire brand. I’ve written all of my lyrics so far though.
What was the Reception for your first project Bella The EP
Reception was alright,, looking forward to doing better with my new project.
When are you giving us a video
Mehn times are hard (Laughs). I just finished serving as a Corper. I’m an independent artist without any sponsors so you know how that goes. What I can tell you though is that I’m definitely shooting at least one video for a song on my new EP, Lucid Dreaming.
Affiliated to a label or are you on the verge of inking…
Well I’m acquainted with about 3 major labels in Nigeria so far. I don’t have any commitments though. I’m being careful though, because a record deal could either help a budding artist like myself or ruin.
Whats up with TIC
Haha TIC will always be my family, where I began my journey and I’m forever grateful to Kunem, Yung and Jimmy Wheeler for every way they encouraged and helped me start up. We all support each other as a family even though our paths may not be the same.
Asides music, what else will you do
I’m a microbiologist, I’ve worked in hospital labs. I’m also a makeup and natural hair enthusiast. I’m a photographer but mostly a selfie addict because I’m so into Instagram and tumblr. (Laughs really loud)
I also like to do DIY crafts like making flower crowns. I love to read and discuss philosophy and social issues as well. I’m probably on my way to being a gender equality activist. I also love cooking and trying online recipes, thanks to my service year.
What are you working on and what is it all about
I finished working on my 2nd EP titled “Bella 2.0: Lucid Dreaming” recently. I’m quite self aware lately and this project is basically about myself, my hopes, passions, dreams, possibilities and imaginations. I’m also working on singles for after the EP.
Any Featured acts on Bella 2.0: Lucid Dreaming?
No, there aren’t any. I decided to use this EP as promotion for myself as an artist, to show versatility and independence. I’m hoping to feature some dope artists after the EP though.
What song brought you to limelight and what is that one song you prefer to perform
The song that 1st brought me attention is probably my cover of Iceprince’s “more”. Recently, ‘Whipping’, ‘Alhaji Money’ and ‘Myself’ seem to be favourites though. I guess I’d pick “Alhaji Money”.
Describe yourself in the studio
Haha…shy! I don’t like to record with anyone other than the producer in the studio. I’m ALOT more comfortable recording with people around recently though, because I can’t keep asking people to leave. In the studio I’m most vulnerable but also most confident. I always do my best.
What Is airplay like
AirPlay is decent. I’m grateful. Lagos, Abuja, Jos and Anambra have been steady so far.
Any gbedu songs on the EP Lucid Dreaming
Sure! You can shake your body to about 4 songs on the EP. Get your moves ready.
What stages have you rocked and What is your most memorable performance
For some reason I have very little experience performing to be honest. I’ve only performed in Jos. I can’t pick a memorable performance unfortunately.
Moving to Gidi (Lagos) soon?
I guess I have to go there to “blow” don’t I?
Who are the artistes you’ll want to work with
There are so many. I’ll list some off the top of my head: Falz, MI, Poe, Di’ja, Kyrian Asher, the GRIP boiz, Ozone, Milli, Burna boy and Simi.
What words are you signing out with
I guess I’d like to encourage everyone to do everything in their power to chase their dreams. Don’t be too scared to try, always have a plan B and don’t allow people project their fears unto you to stop you from trying. Remember you’re made in the image and likeness of God and therefore have the power to create. Tap into that and do all you can to bring positive energy into the world. Listen to Bella. Peace.