Custodian Interview: SV

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SV what’s good bro?

I am good man, how are you?

I am very well.

So, Seni, how did you get involved in the music industry?

Basically, I was in year 6, and I heard the Carter 3 album by Lil Wayne, which was fantastic and got me so interested in rap. This was also around the time of other crazy songs like Run This Town. I started by following what the other rappers were saying. Then from there, I wrote my first verse during the summer of 2010.

Although obviously being young, when you wrote your first verse, were you just doing it as a hobby?

I started it as a hobby, and then when I got into secondary school I met Olugbenga. He was also really good, so we just started writing when free time came up. Eventually I made up my mind that I really wanted to do it, as I was quite good.

Okay, when did the whole fashion p come into place as well?

I’ve always dressed well. Right since primary school,  I have dressed better than the rest of the kids. I think that is largely down to my older brother. If he was not around I wouldn’t look good. He knows everything that is going on in the fashion world. In year 9, I started designing clothes online, but I did not have a printer, so I just threw all the designs away. Then I found out about Black Zeus, which is co-owned by my friend Kitan Ariyo. I reached out to him because I figured I could actually design for him and it will be really dope. I started designing for them, and eventually became an official member of the team last year.

Makes sense. How are you dealing with the criticism people direct towards you for being young and unserious for trying to rap?

I respond with the music. If I’m too young to rap, then tell me why my music is so good to listen to. You get what I mean? I am very used to being too young for certain things. I’m 15. I am supposed to be 16 in my year. I don’t think one is too young to do anything, it just depends on your vision, ability, and being surrounded by the right people.

Speaking of that, what exactly is the golden team?

I am known as the golden boy. Alex, Cece, and Olugbenga are three of my best friends, so we decided to start it. Cece is really good with designing, photo editing and fashion. He knows how to make people follow a certain trend.

In terms of your style of music, how would you classify it?

Firstly, the things I see with young rappers nowadays, they talk about having sex, money, and other materialistic things like that. That’s not true. You never hustled in the streets. Your parents have a nice house with nice cars so me I just rap about true shit. I talk about lifestyle and relevant topics to the youths. Also, my fashion sense. I am very confident, almost cocky in my approach to music. I speak the truth. I don’t lie.

You said you’re very confident, I like that, almost all greats in their fields have that characteristic from Cristiano, Hov, Yeezy to LeBron James. Don’t diminish it at all, keep it at a high level and continue to respect others. In your short career so far, what have you been your high and low points so far?

My highest point definitely is performing at the DRB concert last Christmas.  When I was in year 6 to year 9, DRB were seen as gods to all my mates, because they were the first group of guys to start making music from a young age and have such an impact on the youths. I am not talking about just DRB, I mean  the whole crew from Stan, Boj, Tobenna, TZ and the rest. Everyone was like one day they would be the best, have their own shows, and shut down Lagos. They did their first main show in 2012 I think. 2013 I went and 2014 I performed there, so it seems really crazy and iconic for me.

Your track with Kashiff came out earlier on the year, So Soulful, what are your thoughts on the track and the social media buzz it received?

People on there have been really nice to me ever since I dropped my first track, Funeral in November. I think people like my music; I’ve dropped four tracks and have about 12,000 plays on soundcloud. I feel like I’m respected because I am taking this on this early on in my life.

What can we expect from SV this summer?

I am dropping a project called La Genesi, it is coming out on the 15th of July. It is a free album, not a mix tape because a mix tape has the connotation of a below par body of work. Also, ‘UP’ on the 20th of July. Me, Kashiff, Kitan, Cece, Olugbenga are all hosting it. A night for the youths.

Are you looking into the idea of getting management?

Right now, I’ve thought about it, but I think I need to reach a level I want to be at before I have management. I want to be at the level where you know you’re investing big into me, not like you’re buying deadwood.

What are you planning on doing differently to make you grow as an artist?

I think I have to become a better person. First of all, on social media, I’m not as liked as I need to be. If I were only judged for music I would have been the most liked guy. I am not like Jesus or Mandela. I’m not the nicest guy out there, but I also make some very controversial tweets and I get judged for that. I am working on being calm, nice, so more people will like me, and more people invest time in my music.

In terms of role models, who do you look up too?

Few years ago it was Lil Wayne, now it’s Kanye West. I look up to him a lot: The way he dresses, they way he produces music, and the content in his lyrics are crazy. If it comes to someone who came out of the same roots in Nigeria then it is definitely Shane Chubbz or D.A.P. They are very different. The Contract is very versatile. Few years ago, when they started dropping music, they were getting a lot of criticism. They’ve certainly improved a lot over the years. The Chubziano E.P was amazing and DAP is a ridiculously talented musician and also a nice guy.

Definitely, their connection is something to look out for in the coming years.  With your music aspirations out there, how are you balancing it with your social life, and academic life?

Since I was a child, I never sacrificed anything from school. When it is time for school, it is time for school. When it’s time to rap, it’s time to rap. I can’t lie- in the past two years it has not been as easy balancing it as it was, but I still keep up, and do it really well. Most Nigerians say “What am I sending you to school for? You’re going to end up being a rapper?” But then I just believe the stereotypes with rappers is bad- the whole long chains, baggy jeans, gold teeth, guns. Nowadays, that is not necessarily the case. It has evolved from the whole gangster rap. You need education to become a great musician.

With your music aspirations, are you looking to be based in Lagos?

This sounds really optimistic man, but I am trying to win Grammy’s, be on the same level as Hov and all. I am not trying to be here in Nigeria, as a rapper who does Industry Night every Wednesday at GET Arena. I want to shut down 02 In London, Madison Square Gardens in New York.

Where do you hope to see your self as an artist in 3 years? 

I hope to have Black Zeus sold in Selfridges. I hope to be listened to in America and the UK. I want to have performances with like 1000 people, 2000 people, and 3000 people. I want to be a huge prospect, almost worldwide.

I like your ambition, but you are aware of the challenges that you must face. There is an inflation of new artists in England and America. What sets you apart from the rest?

The problem nowadays, is most of the rappers just have one identity: Rapper. That doesn’t get you anywhere; you need to be very versatile. Look at Shane Chubbz, you see him rap, he has famous quotes, they call him lifestyle coach. You can’t just be a rapper tweeting lyrics all day. Pull a Drake, go to different popular events, and show interests in art, culture and all that to expand your platform.

With your music, the main criticism out there is your lack of content out there.  You have to keep your fans engaged.

This summer is SV season. Everywhere you look will be SV. I need to continue to plan really well. On the 3rd of July I am dropping a track with Al-Kay. 7th of July, I am dropping the introductory video for La Genesi.  On the 10th, I am dropping a track with Kash, which is going to be lit as usual. On the 14th of July, I am having a listening event for La Genesi. I want my stuff to be a whole experience; I am making merchandise, hard copies and all.

The general notion is that hard copies are outdated, with everything being available online.

I am only making 15 hard copies. If someone like you, who has a relatively big influence on people in your year and Olugbenga, who has the biggest influence on my year buy the hard copies, It will show that wow this shit really must be dope.

Fair enough, what do you wish you could have done differently when you first started off with music?

Make sure you have a nice personality, don’t be mean, don’t be too arrogant. Be confident like Muhammad Ali. He had confidence that he could beat anyone.

Was a pleasure catching up, I hope to see more progress from you in the coming months.

Thank you man.

My soundcloud: soundcloud.com/senisv

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