I spoke to our boyfriend. Well, not literally but yeah (lol)…
I’d listened to the ‘Boyfriend’ EP and watched reactions on social media, taking in how Ckay won and melted the hearts of so many with this project, I wanted to find out what it was like for him putting it all together, so I asked. We are here because Ckay was graceful enough to share a glimpse of his process creating this work of art that emanates from his own reality. He calmly answers every question, his voice even more heartwarming as he speaks, piecing together his words in ways that make you feel as though you were listening to your actual boyfriend tell you about his day.
The EP title ‘Boyfriend’ has earned you a spot in the hearts of your female fans, making you an honorary boyfriend to many, why did you choose this title?
Ckay: I chose the title because I wanted to make the project a story telling experience, it was like a diary for me. I didn’t want it to seem like a music orchestrating process, I just wanted the listeners to know about my literal experiences as a boyfriend and picking that title was a no brainer.
It’s no news that you recorded the EP during the lockdown in 2020, what was the creative process like?
Ckay: The creative process was very different. I was mostly always alone during the lockdown, so I had a lot of time to be introspective and make music. I had a lot of Facetime conversations and phone calls to kind of keep my energy up. It also involved a lot of emails and Wetransfers between me and the producers because we couldn’t really be in the same studio so we had to work on the internet. It was a really different experience for me and it’s crazy how the whole EP came together that way, because when the music comes out, people can’t really tell that we weren’t in the same studio because the energy somehow still transits over distance, so yeah, it was a really interesting one for me.
You’ve blessed us with a lot of amazing singles and projects, also recently featuring on Lala—one of the biggest songs in Nigeria right now, one would think we should have gotten an album instead. Why did you choose to drop another EP instead of an album?
Ckay: Well, I always wanted to drop the EP before the album, it’s always been part of my plan from the very beginning. I wanted to drop two EPs then the album because I kinda felt like I wanted to, you know… *he pauses for effect* build up. I feel like albums are not just things you put out anyhow. I want my album to be big and I’m trying to build up to it so the EP comes first and then the album next. Big shout out to Davido for having me on the album, we made a classic record and yeah, big shout out to everyone supporting the music.
You channeled a loverboy persona on this EP, different from the usual soft bops we are used to hearing in your hit songs, how do you merge your songwriting skills with the desire to be commercially successful?
Ckay: Uhmm, yeah I channeled my lover boy persona. It’s not even a persona, it’s literally just who I am as a person. *he chuckles slightly* Like i said, the EP is like a diary of my love life over the past two years. Songwriting comes naturally to me but with this project, it wasn’t about the skill or whatever, I was really heavy on letting the vibes and the honesty of the experiences guide me towards making the project. I didn’t want it to be too…commercial. I didn’t want it to look like a product, It’s art—art that has a whole lot of soul in it, it has a whole lot of reality in it and sometimes reality is a mixture of a whole lot of things, the happy things, the sad things and everyone just has to find a song in this project that their soul resonates with. It is what it is. It is real life, it is art.
The project is largely inspired by guitar strings and other stringed instruments, also, the songs on the EP are interconnected in a certain way, how did you envision the listeners connecting to this detail?
Ckay: I’m the kind of guy that’s very conscious of energy, I wanted to listen to my EP and be in a specific pocket of mood. I personally want to have a nice, smooth experience that’s not all over the place and I kind of feel my fans would feel the same way. I’ve always loved guitars, has to be my favorite instrument. *he chuckles yet again* I taught myself how to play the guitar back in secondary school and yeah I just feel it’s very dynamic. After Love Nwantiti’s success, I wanted to go back into that and explore more and I fused it with several elements and other stuff to make something that sounded cohesive and special.
How does your experience as a producer affect your songwriting and creative process generally?
Ckay: My experience as a producer probably affects my music unconsciously. I can’t really pinpoint where it affects my music but I guess working with different people over the years and trying different sounds and textures has added to my arsenal, so to speak.
With the consumption of music leaning more and more towards new sounds and with listeners appreciating the art of songwriting a lot more than ever in Nigeria and Africa, how does it feel to be a part of the conversation?
Ckay: It feels really good to be part of the conversation. I mean, I feel like African music has needed these moments for the longest time and I feel like our music is really up there with other genres—Afrobeats is as valid as Hip Hop, Jazz, Rock and the others and I feel like, right now, the whole world is listening and appreciating our hardwork, songwriting, our sounds and the different variations of Afrobeats. It’s a genre that has a whole lot to offer and everyone is making their versions of it and telling their own story. I’m telling my own story and projecting my own energy in my music. It’s a really exciting time for Afrobeats and I’m really happy to be a part of the wave of artistes that’s sweeping through the world with African sounds and I’m excited for what’s to come.
In Ckay’s words; “stream the Boyfriend EP for clearer skin”. I have tried it and I approve this message.