The Nigerian singer talks about collaborating with Fetty Wap, and how to cast a meaningful spell
Blackmagic’s current song, Wonder with US rapper Fetty Wap, may have put him on the international music scene - the collaboration hyped by publications such as FACT and VIBE - but he’s been a Nigerian favourite for more than a minute. Now listeners at home and abroad come for the artist’s uniquely sonorous voice and stay for his arresting ability to transport you to slow, jazzy evenings filled with good vibes. With Wonder, we’re in the club with him and we’re appreciating the women, as Blackmagic explains: “The song is an ode to the beauty that African women possess and the power of that beauty to inspire art and creativity. It’s about the pure pleasure of watching a woman dance, the radiance of her smile and the wonder of her body. A woman’s beauty is one of the many joys of life.”
It’s not just the love of the ladies that drives him, though. Blackmagic has long lusted after and been surrounded by music. “My mom was an avid Fela Kuti fan and constantly played his music, and my dad would play the classics ranging from rock to blues,” recalls the singer of his childhood growing up in Lagos. He started making music as a hobby and then while studying Computer Science at the University of Benin, he met respected producer Ikon and they went into the studio together. “Ikon would make the beats and I’d rap and one thing led to another until I decided to go it full time because I believed it was something I could be great at.”
“The song is an ode to the beauty that African women possess and the power of that beauty to inspire art and creativity”
His first releases came out under Ikon’s Syndik8 Records and his debut album, Blackmagic Version 1.0, landed on his own label in 2011. His breakout came with the single Repete in 2013 and since then he’s worked with the likes of Phyno, Banky W, Seyi Shay and Big Bad. “My sound has evolved as much as I have changed as a person,” he reflects. “I have become truer to myself without focusing on what others are thinking or saying.” As for his current track, it marks yet another chapter. “Fetty came clutch on the song and took it in a new direction,” he enthuses. “I’m really enjoying the resulting remix, which makes listeners break it down on the dancefloor, especially when the hook comes up.” We can expect more alternative and genuine music from the artist soon as he works on his third album, Magic Republic.
Born Efemena Mukoro, one does wonder how he came to be called by his sorcerous stage name. “I chose it because it best describes what I do. In Africa, we believe that you have magical powers but they are typically used for evil. I believe you have magic and power and it’s up to you to decide what it’s used for." So if he could cast a spell, what would he conjure up? “I would raise people to consciousness and being present in the moment. A lot of people go through life not really thinking for themselves, following routine and accepting the hand they are dealt. People have more control than they accept responsibility for.” Listing among his own ambitions to “win a Grammy”, this is certainly one artist determined to make a mark in the world, one soulful, Afrobeat-flavoured tune at a time.
Photography Lakin Ogunbanwo
Published on 06/10/2017