There’s an explosion of talent right now in Nigeria, more people are dedicating themselves to desired crafts from early ages. Many people are pure unrefined talent, but it takes dedication and discipline to become a breakout star. The man of the moment breaking out right now is 17-year-old Nathan Otekalu-Aje also known as Azanti. Following the release of YP & Azanti Vol. 1 (a collaborative project with Psycho YP), it is quite clear that Apex Village has added another infinity stone to their gauntlet.
YP & Azanti Vol. 1 is a 7 track multi-genre musical experience. The fusion of both artists awesomely manifests in the cohesion of the project. After the first listen, it makes sense why they would collaborate and keep doing so. “YP & Azanti Vol. 2 is basically done,” says Azanti, which speaks to the abundance of work these two have done together.
Azanti’s distinct R&B fusion style adds another dynamic to the already expansive Apex village. With millions of streams under their belt, and situated at the heart of Nigeria’s trap scene, Azanti is perfectly positioned to create bangers. On his inevitable rise, we had a chat with him about music to him, connecting with Psycho YP, and future projects.
Read the interview below.
When did making music begin for you?
I started out with production when I was 9. And I only started ‘singing’ actively on by beats when I turned 14 or 15.
How do you approach creating a song?
Usually, I just sit down, pour some WATER in my cup, – very important -, listen to a beat and record the first standout melody that comes to my head. Now this melody has to be hard and it doesn’t have to be in sequence. It could be the hook, outro or even second verse first – wherever I feel the melody works best is where I start from.
How would you describe your sound?
I’ve heard people say ‘alté’, I’ve also heard R&B and R&B fusion. I find myself agreeing with the latter most times. I think my music is a mixture of R&B and everything else.
What comes naturally to you when you’re in the studio?
Once I get the hook line, everything else becomes so easy. Hooks are probably the hardest parts to record in a song cuz they have to be catchy basically, they NEED to slap so I usually spend more time with them, but with verses, it’s much easier.
Who are your musical influences?
Musically, I’m influenced by almost everything I hear. But my sound sometimes is very reminiscent of people like Wande Coal, Bryson Tiller, Chris Brown, Drake and the likes. But there’s so much more; Wizkid, Burna Boy, Eric Bellinger, Shaggy, etc.
Tell us about how you connected with Apex Village?
To be fair, I wasn’t trying to connect with Apex. I just wanted to send an email to YP to get proper feedback on my music. That’s the thing, everybody thought I was trying to get a feature, I wasn’t. I wanted feedback. But I didn’t get a reply for months. Then one day I saw ‘[Multiple fire emojis in my email from YP and since then we just started making music together, then he brought up Apex and one thing led to another and we’re here.
Off the back of your first release as an Apex Village artist ‘Focused’ how does it feel to finally be a part of that family?
I’ve always felt like I was part of the family for a long time now. Everybody’s been pretty calm with me and homely. Dropping “Focused” really didn’t change much about the dynamic. Yeah, it feels good regardless.
Do you have songs that your fans would be surprised you made? If so, how do they sound like?
LOL. My manager has told me on several occasions that a few songs I’ve made cannot be dropped any time soon. But still, I think people would be surprised that I’m on a drill track. The track, wish I could give more details, but I can’t.
Has the pandemic had any influence on you creatively?
Yes and No. when it comes to the actual process, No. However, it has given me more time to express myself through my art, I’ve probably made upwards of 40 songs this year. I doubt I would’ve been able to so that if there was no pandemic.
What can you tell us about the next project you’re working on?
I’m working on quite a few projects. YP & Azanti Vol. 2 is basically done. My own solo project is basically done as well, we’re just trynna sort out the songs to use and all. And then I’m on a few other projects that I can’t disclose right now.