As Afrobeats, Afropop, or whatever you want to call it is spreading and finding its way to playlists globally, the number of amazing artists on the ground continue to grow at an astounding rate. Female stars like Tiwa Savage, DJ Cuppy, Teni, are at the forefront of women in Afropop, but there are so much more women climbing up the ranks. One of the genre’s future stars is Candy Bleakz.
Blessing Mariam Akiode a.k.a. Candy Bleakz is a 21-year-old rapper and afro-pop artist known by her fans as the “Lady Dragon”. The Chocolate City Music signee raps energetically and dons an androgynous style. She has shown that she can hold her own beside the industry’s best in her song “Owo Osu” featuring Naira Marley and Zlatan, sounding as much as a star as anyone.
Her Latest Single “Won La” is infectious, catchy and aggressive; a track fitting nicely in Candy’s growing discography of streetwise, dancefloor-ready records. Candy Bleakz has been having a good run and was recognized for her efforts by getting nominated for female rapper of the year at the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMAA).
Read our chat with the Lady Dragon below.
How did you come up with the name Candy Bleakz?
I originally used to go by ‘Bleskido’ cos’ my name is Blessing. [laughs] I was young. The Bleakz is a mixture of the first three letters of my first name and last name, and Candy is cos’ I have a sweet tooth.
How would you describe your sound?
Assertive, in-your-face, real, for the streets! Everything I do is uniquely Candy, and true to my story. I’m always conscious of where I’m coming from, and it is in everything I do. My sound is a reflection of me.
Coming off your hit single with Naira Marley, some people called you the female version of him, how would you reply that?
I am not the female version of him. I am just me. I think it’s easy for people to compare cos’ of the style of music, and also the song we have together. But I’m my own person. It’s not something that I’m angry about. Naira is amazing! But I also think that it’s important that women stand on their own, you know? Look at Young MA. I really look up to her cos’ she’s just being herself. She’s not the female version of anybody. Young MA is Young MA. Candy is Candy.
How did it feel to be nominated for female rapper of the year at the AFRIMAA?
I didn’t see it coming, to be honest. It came on the same day that billboards of me where popping up around Lagos, and it was overwhelming. I’ve received so much love since. I’m excited, extremely happy and I really want to win.
Your style is unique, tell us about it?
I love when people see me and take a second look. I love attention [laughs]. I also love to look and feel powerful.
How have your struggles in life shaped you as an artist and as a person?
Miracles and effort go hand-in-hand. I have learnt a lot. I had to grow up quick. I had to go through a hard orientation. But it’s helped a lot. It helps me know what’s fake and what’s genuine. My drive is also different.
You refer to young people often in your music, what is the message you want to pass across to the youth?
Making music makes me happy. I just do it as it comes. I want young people to be happy, I want them to dance, I tell them my truth, but I want them to find theirs. Believe in yourself, focus on your journey, keep your goals in mind.
Who are your musical influences?
Young MA, Cardi B, Dej loaf and Candy Bleakz.