Eugy is one of the key players at the forefront of the new wave of afro-inspired sounds that have invaded the UK music industry over the years. Breaking into the UK scene in 2016 with Dance For Me featuring Mr Eazi, Eugy consistently continues to push the boundaries of sound, unapologetically blending genres with his unique flow and lyricism. His catchy songs have turned into viral hits, amassing over 38 million streams on Spotify alone. In this sit-down conversation, we discuss his music, upbringing and his latest project- the Home Run EP, all while getting to know the man himself:
You are an extremely talented artist, but you didn’t get to where you are overnight. What was your life like as a child?
I had a very nice childhood. I was born in Ghana so, when I came to the UK, I was a bit ‘fresh’. Things were really brand new to me like the weather. Everything was new to me so, as far as I can remember as a kid, I was really curious about London, about being abroad and about what was happening over here because it was such a big difference for me. My mum and dad were really keen on Church so, one thing I always remember is always going to church. That’s actually how I started doing music because my dad got my brothers and I lessons to learn how to play the keyboard, drums and the guitar. That’s what I remember really- a lot of church, playing instruments in church and listening to a lot of gospel music until I touched secondary school and I learnt about Hip Hop and things like that- my childhood was really fun!
Like you said you grew up in church. What else were you listening to apart from Gospel music?
When I started going to secondary school, it was a lot of Notorious BIG, Mase, Puff Daddy, 112, Boyz II Men- the usual R&B/ Hip Hop that was popular at that time. I was also very keen on Garage and Grime. I was listening to Pay As You Go Crew back then, Wiley, we had Kano, Ghetts, Bashy- I was really into that sound as well. All types of music really. I even liked a bit of Pop! I banged out the Spice Girls and that Teenage Dirtbag song when I was a kid. Music was music back then, so I liked all types of music and I still do!
I think that’s very evident in the music you make as well! All of those influences definitely add to your sound. Speaking of influences, who inspires your music directly?
If I was to say it was one artist, I would be lying because it really depends. For singing, I really like Brandy. I think her voice is amazing. I think what she can do vocally is crazy! So, singling wise it would be Brandy and rapping I would definitely say it would be Notorious BIG.
Nice! You mentioned that you were born in Ghana and moved to London. The black British experience is very unique because we’ve been able to create our own culture but, at the same time you find that people of our skin colour are not given as many opportunities due to the system. Have you found yourself in any tough situations growing up? What were those experiences and how did they shape you?
Yeah of course! It’s really weird. It’s not just my story, it’s the story of a lot of us who come from African backgrounds. I say to people a lot, when I used to go home from school, it was like walking into Ghana! My mum and dad never really left Ghana even though they lived here (London). Once I step into that house it’s Kofi, it’s not Eugene (Eugy) anymore. One thing I’m very grateful for is that my dad always empowered us and made us know who we were when we were kids, so there was not really much that could shake us. One of my white friends in school opened his mouth and said I came to this country in a black bag! He thought he was funny, he thought he was making a funny joke. When I got angry initially, I dealt with it. He had no idea what he was saying because he wasn’t educated on that. I know who I am and no one can make me doubt or lose confidence in who I am. It hasn’t always been straight forward but I am proud of my diaspora brothers and sisters because we had it tough! I’m not saying we had to suffer for food or anything but, we had our own obstacles we had to go through and face. We were really flying the flag for Africa in a foreign land. A lot happened to try and shake us but I never let it fold me!
Definitely! Something you said reminded me of a conversation I had with Barney Artist. One of the things he said was he found that music kept him off the streets. Do you feel like your interest in music from such an early age took you away from other types of situations?
Easily! I easily could have fallen victim to the streets. I actually kind of was dibbling and dabbling but, it was the love of music and knowing that I started this journey and everybody is looking at me. Music really did save me! There were times where I would be upset and what I would turn to was music- I would go off and write a song. If I was angry or happy, I would write a song. I always say to people musicians are really lucky because we have a way to vent. We have the ability to vent and let our emotions out in a safe way. We’re lucky enough to have that so yeah, music did save me!
So, moving on to happier things- your music! Every single year, you consistently elevate yourself and improve on your craft and you have had the chance to work with Davido, Mr Eazi and, more recently, you opened up for Wizkid at one of his shows at the O2. How did that feel for you to know that all of the years of hard work, all of the struggle has gotten you to the point where you are opening for major artists?
For me, it’s proof that if you genuinely work hard and sacrifice some of your free time, eventually everything will come full circle and will pay off. Consistency is so key! It’s one thing saying you believe and you want to do something but, if you don’t actually believe in it and set about to do it then you might as well stop what you are doing. I’ve been working! Lord knows behind the scenes that I have been working my socks off. So, for me to see these things happening now, at least I know that the hard work will pay off. Now I’m going to go 10 times harder!
Over the years, you’ve dropped amazing singles like TikTok, Low Low and a string of amazing songs. For me, I really feel like your break-out moment was Dance For Me in 2016 featuring Mr. Eazi. How did that collaboration happen?
We had started speaking when we did the song Body. Juls introduced us to each other. At that time, we hadn’t even met each other, we were just speaking on WhatsApp and then we recorded Body by sending the files to each other. So, when he decided that he was coming to London to come and do his first show, we linked up straight away and we decided that we wanted to get into the studio again and try and record. When we went to the studio, the next song we came up with was Dance For Me.
How did it feel knowing that you had created a global song?
Yeah, it felt surreal! It still feels surreal now but you realise that everything you’re doing isn’t for no reason. As musicians, we all want to make songs that we feel like people around the world will connect with. It’s one thing to set out to do that and it’s another thing to actually achieve that. It’s like a drug- once you get that, you can’t replace that feeling. You’re forever trying to work and do better. It’s still surreal to this moment because I can’t believe I had a song that made the whole world move like that but, it’s definitely motivation as well because it shows that it’s possible.
Now we are going to talk about your latest EP Home Run which is absolutely amazing! For anyone who hasn’t listened to this project, what would you say it’s about?
I took a trip to Ghana. I was meant to spend 2 months there but I ended up spending 8 months. In the 8 months, I really connected with a lot of my friends that I had been speaking to on social media but, when I got out there I got to spend time with them. I really learned to appreciate what my artist friends go through in Ghana. They have resources but over here (UK) we definitely have a lot more available to us to get our music out there than they do to the world. When I saw what they had to do I was amazed! I have no excuse because they are really working hard. I’m a fan of the artists that I worked with and it was a no-brainer for me to do a project where I could collaborate with each artist and dive into those different sounds that are coming out of Ghana right now which is why I called it Home Run. A home run in baseball when you hit the ball out of the park and you go around all the bases is what they call a home run.
From the project, I noticed a lot of the artists are Ghanaian apart from Skillibeng. Why would you say it was important to focus on the people and the sounds of the country you’re from?
Now everything is changing. You’ve got the likes of King Promise, Darkovibes, Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale- the world is definitely hearing them more but, if I can help that and let some of my fans and the people that listen to my music from around the world hear of them, then, by all means, I’ll do that. It costs to shoot videos and all these things but, it doesn’t cost for me to genuinely love and support them. It’s really about the world seeing how great Ghanaian artists are.
So, I want to touch on a couple of the songs from the EP starting with the first song Show Me The Light featuring Jay Bahd. What is this song about?
It definitely has elements of struggle in there. You’re hustling all the time, you are stressed and it’s just us asking God to give us a sign that everything we are doing is worth it. All the struggle and pain that we are going through is going to be worth it in the end and we’re going to come out as winners. This is something I feel like everyone in life goes through. It doesn’t matter what type of work you’re doing or what field you’re in, whenever you set out to do things and things get tough, you just need one little breakthrough or a glimpse of hope to show you that you will get to where you want to get to. That’s what this song is about- we’re hustling, we’re pushing and yeah, show me the light Lord!
Now, onto the next song which is I Need A Boo. as you know it’s snuggle season and everyone wants a boo. Why did you decide to collab with Kuami Eugene?
Okay, Kuami Eugene is another artist I really respect because he is one artist that you can say his name to a 6 or a 60-year-old and they would both know who he is. He transcends through generations in Ghana because he sings in the local dialects. I call him the local champion- even though he is worldwide. I think it’s such an amazing feat to be a local champion and to be able to champion where you are from before taking it to the world. It’s such a big deal because it’s very hard for artists to do that. For me, it was more to pay respect to someone who has not only earned the respect of the people in Ghana but is also an amazing singer too. It was a no brainer!
The last song I want to touch on came out a year before- My Touch. It was a viral hit! There were so many people getting involved in the dance challenges on TikTok and on Instagram. Why do you think this song really caught people’s attention and what was it that made it so special?
First, I would say the beat of the song itself is really catchy. When I first heard the beat, I knew it would be something that people would want to dance to. Secondly, simple lyrics that people can learn. The main thing was Chop Daily’s Nife and Johnny. What Nife, Johnny, and Chop Daily did was they went live on Instagram and created the routine for the dance. It was very interactive to the point where a lot of the supporters could add their own input too by saying “Oh we don’t like this move” or “We love that move! Keep that in!” What that done is get the fans involved so, by the time they finished that live, everybody who was on the live kind of knew the dance routine already. By the next day when the song came out, 300 to 500 people who had watched the live now went on their socials and posted their own videos, which created a trickle effect. That’s what ended up happening.
As you said, it’s such a catchy song! As you know, we are getting to the end of the year, how would you define your success so far in your entire journey?
As much as people would say I’ve done a lot, I would say I’m getting there. For me, where I see myself and what I see myself doing, I’m not there just yet but, I am so grateful for how far I’ve come. To be able to drive around and hear your songs on the radio and on playlists, seeing messages from people telling me they are listening to my songs, going on Spotify for artists and seeing how many people are listening to my songs right now- all of these things are things I give thanks for when I wake up. Where I started from to where I am right now is a dream come true. My success? We’ve got some streams, we’ve got some good numbers but I feel like the reach and the effect my music has on people is what keeps me going.
Amazing! If you had to reflect on the whole year, what has been your best and worst moment of 2021?
My worst moment was definitely losing my grandad in October. He was 91 and he lived a good life. A good moment would be spending time in Ghana and getting to spend time with him.
What should we look forward to moving into 2022?
More music back to back! The way I’m looking at dropping music in 2022, I have never dropped music like that before! Just look out!