One of the perks of being a writer is that no two days are the same; you get to speak and listen to talented people from different spaces all over the world and a chat with a Nigerian topline music producer, singer, and songwriter is definitely one worth sharing.
The man with the Midas touch to crafting hits that got us nodding our heads and tapping our feet has a calm personality and a tenacious spirit, who dares to live his childhood dreams and believe in them.
Ayodele Joseph Basil is well-known in the music industry as Del B, and has ingrained his imprint in Nigeria’s music scene producing hit songs like ‘Shake’ by Flavour, ‘Limpopo’ and ‘Pull Over’ by Kcee, ‘Ayo’ by Wizkid, ‘Mad over you’ by Runtown, ‘Like’ by Reekado Banks and Tiwa Savage, and many others. His back-to-back hits validated his artistic ability which got him nominated and won different awards.
Del B as an artist has timeless classics of his own that have a deserving spot on our playlist from “Tattoo” to “No Pressure”.
Del B talks about his journey in music, fashion, and his new single.
What first sparked your interest in music production?
Music has always been a big part of my life. I fell in love with music, even just as a kid I always saw myself coming up with music, creating music, and creating sounds. Music has always felt like something that I could do easily, you know when you have this intuition or believe in something and you just think that this is something you can do.
Did you have any musical training or was it self-taught?
Pretty much all the musical training I got was just the basics, but then I had to discover and learn everything for myself. I was taught how to play the bass guitar when I was little but after that, I started playing and learning all the instruments like keyboards, drums and every other thing myself, it came out from a place of love, when you love something you do anything and everything to make it happen.
Who were your early musical influences or mentors?
I think over the years, it has spanned across different artists and different producers, you know, just with time and everything happening and how music has evolved from when I started listening to music and started learning about music so think people who have inspired me through my musical journey are Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and Kanye West because I grew up listening to them and they had a strong musical influence on me. I also got inspired by gospel artists because I grew up in the church.
Tell us some of the biggest challenges you faced when starting and how you handled them.
I believe that as humans we all go through challenges and it’s normal to face challenges when you’re trying to take a risk or you’re trying to do something new, it is always difficult especially when people dont understand what you’re doing until most times when it’s done. One of the biggest challenges creatives face is not having enough support or the right support and this can span from having minimum financial resources, and an industry network to a strong and supportive team who actually truly believe in you and what you do. Even with these resources and support, people still face a lot of struggles, especially with just trying to come up.
Music is my business so I realized I had to get my structure and team right and have professionals handle all the other aspects of the music business from legal to accounting and negotiations.
Tell us how you felt when you landed your first gig.
I was happy I got my first gig but I wasn’t in the mood to party or celebrate. For me, after my first gig, I was thinking about the next one, “When is the next one coming?”
It was about putting in the work and getting results.
Has the music industry changed since you first started?
Yes, a lot has changed.
Now there are a lot of young people involved and people have realised music is more than just a lifestyle but a business as well.
Let’s talk about your creative process, and walk us through a typical Creative process.
My creative process is very dynamic in the sense that there is no one-size-fits-all for me to make music. I am usually directed by my inspirations. For me, music is like the photography of sound inspired by everything living and non-living. it could be a spoken word, a hum, or the whistling wind. Once I’m able to capture it organically or enhance by a musical instrument, it could determine the entire vibe of the creative process for that particular project.
Once I’m inspired, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, I just get into it. I pretty much work round the clock, all I need is time and the right amount of energy. When working on a personal project, I usually prefer to be within a certain kind of space, void of distractions, where I can completely focus. South Africa and Ghana usually do that for me.
Your work is demanding so how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
I trust God always to just help me because I know that most times it’s not always by my power so I strongly depend on him and I try to as much as possible to stay very focused on the things that I feel are more important than anything else. That’s also where management comes into play, they help with prioritizing work demands, and schedules to avoid clashes or conflicts especially when there are other people involved. I also like spending time with my family, which keeps me sane and grounded, I am also big on maintaining a healthy lifestyle so I workout daily at the gym.
What do you do to recharge and find inspiration outside of work?
I always go back to the source, God, and try to stay healthy by eating right and doing the right things. Like I stated earlier I like spending time with my family who luckily for me are also into music so that gives me the chance to bounce ideas off of them because they understand exactly what I do.
Outside of music what are you passionate about?
Aside from music, I am also passionate about Fashion, Film and Fine Arts. Overall, I am passionate about telling stories that resonate with people. Music, Fashion, Film and Fine Arts are some of the most effective ways of telling the best stories.
Talking about fashion and Film, are we to expect anything from you anytime soon?
Yeah, definitely we are working on several things, including merch, as soon as that is sorted, you will be seeing a Del B Merch out there.
How would you describe your personal style?
Fashionably Comfortable, I try to be as simple as possible, as long as it is comfortable yet fashionable, I am going to rock it. I don’t put too many restrictions on fashion and style, as long as it actually looks good, I’m gonna rock it.
What are some key elements or pieces that define your look?
I love sneakers, so sneakers, T-shirts, jackets and sunglasses because Africa is very hot, most of the time if you don’t wear sunglasses, you start looking like you are angry you know.
Do you think there are any misconceptions about artists and their relationship to fashion?
I don’t think people have much misconception because, at the end of the day, music and fashion go hand-in-hand. I feel like fashion is not even complete without music, they all just marry together, except for some artists who are not into fashion or don’t really care about fashion.
Aside from South Africa and Ghana, do you have any favourite destinations for experiencing music?
Most times the USA, specifically LA.
LA has a different vibe for work.
What is your understanding of success and fulfillment?
Success is a journey, not a destination. It’s not measured or quantified by where you are, rather it is an unending journey with different milestones and achievements, you just keep going. Fulfilment for me is the satisfaction I derive knowing a job was well done, putting smiles on people’s faces, enjoying the moment, learning and growing through the whole process.
Talking about relationships has a love interest influenced your musical journey?
Yes, it has, a lot of times because music is a powerful thing and I honestly don’t know how you would be making music if you dont have emotions, you need to feel a certain type of emotions to create. So yeah, being in a relationship was part of my fire for creating music, from feeling loved or probably feeling betrayed, the next thing would be to channel that energy or emotions to creating something instead of being stuck with those emotions.
What inspired your current single “No Pressure”? Why Hotkid?
“No Pressure” is just the way the name implies, it was just pretty much us trying to make a song that just talks about how people are being pressured by a lot of things that they’re not even supposed to be pressured by what is on and off social media. It’s almost as if there’s a new wave, you know, right now where everyone has to live up to a certain standard or expectation. So there’s so many people. Doing, you know, things that they ought not to do, you know, so many people may be living in a lie just to impress and just to show off because that is what they feel is expected of them.
So “No Pressure” was coming from a place where, you know, regardless of what’s going on in the world, I’m on my own lane, I’m doing my own thing and I’m sticking to my beliefs. I’m not going to be pressured into being something that I’m not, I’m not going to be pressured into showcasing something that I don’t have. That is the message “No Pressure” trying to put out there.
And for picking Hotkid for “No Pressure”, I have always been impressed with young artists, I have collaborated with a lot of big artists but it is always very fascinating to work with young artists, they come with a different vibe and they have something special to share with the world. Hotkid is such a talented artist and was the perfect person for the song. He is a great kid.
A little bird told me you have a new single coming out, Tell us about it and what is next for Del B in 2024
Yes, I have a new single with Majeeed titled “Luv You” and is actually out now.
“Luv You” is just about spreading love and reminding everyone of true, unconditional love. It is a slow melodic, yet energetic Afrobeats love song with sentimental lyrics and lush arrangements.
It is part of a 4 track EP titled “Del Beast” which is coming out soon. Before the year ends I will definitely drop an album.
Interview and Story by Miss Anowaa (IG: @miss_anowaa)