Earlier this month, Ckay dropped his first project under Warner Music, Boyfriend EP. On Boyfriend, Ckay dares for sonic greatness, creating Afrobeats in his own unique style; heavy on guitar strings and his airy sensual melodies. Since it dropped, the seven-track EP which features Amaarae, Bianca Costa, Oxlade, and KiDi, has received both commercial and critical acclaim as Ckay hones his sonic experiment.
It took a while before Ckay perfected his sound, from moving from Kaduna to Lagos to pursue a music career, venturing into music production before breaking into the industry with his 2017 hit single Container. Before joining Warner Music, he was signed to Chocolate City for four years and experimented with various sounds, blending them with his. During this period, he dropped Who TF Is Ckay, and his official debut project Ckay The First, which included his hit single; Love Nwantiti.
As a prelude to his sophomore project, last year saw Ckay have a stellar run with features, appearing on Davido’s A Better Time and Amaarae’s The Angel You Don’t Know. He also dropped the experimental sci-fi short film titled ‘Alien’ and released his project’s debut singles; Felony and Kiss Me Like You Miss Me.
Over the weekend, speaking to Ckay about a range of topics, from his influences, romance, and his new project, it was interesting to find out Ckay isn’t just a lover boy in his songs, as his experiences shape the music that comes out of his heart.
Let’s start with, creating your new project? How did it come about, from its direction, production, melody, writing, features, and final recording?
Ckay: Boyfriend EP is like a diary. It’s me literally narrating stories from my experiences as an African boyfriend; the pleasure, the toxicity, and everything in between. The production is predominantly live. I love live instruments a lot, especially guitars, so I wanted to bring my listeners into my sonic space. It’s Afrobeats from CKay’s perspective.
What are the major influences that have led to how your sound has grown on Boyfriend?
Ckay: Honestly, I just wanted to make music from my heart. from my experience and from my energy. my music captures specific moods and energies, and I’m always in the space when I make the music. Once I leave that space, it doesn’t slap the same. part of why I hard re-record songs. I get in the zone, record, and that’s it. didn’t care about conventions or rules. I did my thing how I liked it. There’s a combination of a variety of world elements, boss nova, pop, emo rock, and rhythm & blues.
What makes you sing about romance and love so much?
Ckay: I sing about love because it’s the predominant theme of my life. it’s what’s most important to me. Also, I have a really interesting love life. I’m a romantic in a world where romance is on the decline, but I believe in genuine love. I’ve felt it before. I’ve experienced it and I know it exists.
Boyfriend feels like a single story of love and a collection of multiple love stories, which is it?
Ckay: It’s a single story with a few 3rd parties coming into the mix, but it starts with me falling in love on felony, to breaking up on Mezebu, and falling back in love on Kiss Me Like You Miss Me. Then the cycle repeats itself.
You and Amaarae have the most beautiful chemistry on the two songs you have and share the same vocal style, would there ever be a joint tape?
Ckay: Amaarae is one of the most talented artists I know. She’s good. We’re both cancers interestingly enough! Maybe a joint tape in the future. But let’s see what the future holds! *fingers crossed*. That would actually be so fire. Crazy how we made both songs through emails during quarantine and we haven’t even met!
Who were you before Ckay?
Ckay: I was a straight-A student.
How has transitioning from Chocolate City to Warner Music Group been?
Ckay: It wasn’t the smoothest. My contract expired, but though there was legal drama, I eventually transitioned by God’s grace. It took a number of months to happen, but it did.
You’ve got three projects out and a couple of singles, which song would you say absolutely captures what your music is?
Ckay: Two official projects. Ckay The First captures every part of me and it was my first official project, but Boyfriend captures the parts of me that matter the most.
What do you want people to know about you as an artist?
Ckay: I want people to connect with my energy and find themselves in the stories I tell. I want people to feel the things I feel when they listen to me. Also, more importantly, I want to baptize more non-Africans into the afrobeat waters. they deserve to have a taste of the product we’re churning out. I want to continue my process of doing that on an even larger scale than I already am.
How do you feel knowing you’d be among the generation to push Afrobeats to a global level?
Ckay: I’m very proud to be playing the role I’m playing in pushing Afrobeats to the world. I’m a very global-minded person and I’ve always had big dreams. seeing it all come together before my eyes is beautiful. It’s a journey I’m thoroughly enjoying.