By Ayo Onikoyi
Nigerian singer, comedian and content creator, Aghogho Hanu Agbodje known mostly by his stage name, Hanujay has established himself as a talent to watch in the music industry. He’s an indigene of Warri, Delta State, Nigeria.
In spite of having started music 4 years ago, he has drop two Eps to show how creative, dynamic and talented he is.
He has released over 20 songs plus over 100 unreleased, still in the pipeline. To date, he has also dropped 4 professional music videos plus a fleet of viral and promotional contents. In this interview with AYO ONIKOYI, Entertainment Editor, he talks about his journey, hopes and fears in the entertainment sphere.
Why did you go into music and how was the beginning like?
I got into music because I saw Michael Jackson on TV and I was like 3-5 years at the time. It was totally amazing and exciting at the same time seeing what he could do and how people loved him. In fact I fainted and died for him and I want people to do that for me too. The beginning was alright , the process was great . I learnt for a couple of years, went to music school before making music then I realized I was the real McCoy.
When did you start music professionally and how did you evolve?
I started singing professionally in 2016. But I’ve always been around music growing up. I was highly influenced by the generic sound of Lagos (from Ajegunle to Festac) in the early 90’s. My instrumentation and melodies are mostly drawn from and inspired by the kind of music I listened to while growing up. I have blended these sounds with contemporary RnB, Soul and hip-hop and this is my music.
Tell us your first single, how it was made and how the public received it?
‘No Smoking Zone’ was my very first single. It was made in my house with my guy called Sally. There was a sticker on my door that had the sign “No Smoking Zone,” It was from there the idea grew and we made it into a song. When it came out it got good reviews from Nigeria and some other countries in Africa. I will say it wasn’t a bad start.
Can you give all the songs you have done with years of release and the production?
In 2018 I released the ‘Vibes’ EP’ which consists of 8 songs: namely; Dance; Special; Dodo; Fine Wine; Rock Well; Skit; No Smoking Zone; and Good Love. That was in January of 2018. Then I released another EP, in December of 2019 titled ‘Let’s smoke and Fuck” with 5 tracks: namely; Uber, Magic, Love, Guyman and Vibration. They were all produced by Patricia Studios. There are so many more unreleased singles. Just watch out for Hanujay.
With the competitiveness of the music industry what are your plans to stay relevant?
Staying relevant isn’t part of my immediate plan. My plan at the moment is getting out there , after that, staying relevant won’t be a problem. The journey so far has been quite fun and educative. What you see from the outside is different from what it actually is when you come into the industry. I have actually been privileged to work with quite a number of artistes that know what music should be; the likes of Yung6ix and Ycee.
What is unique about your music?
I think what’s unique about my music is from my own life experiences , my background , how I grew up and things that influence me. It’s how I feel, how I see it and how I relate with it . It’s all about me , I think the only way to be unique in this lifetime is to be you.
What is your genre of music?
It’s mixed , musically, I grew up with RnB and soul , now there’s Afrobeat in it , my kind of music is a combination of different genres .
What does good music mean to you and would you say Nigerians are making good music?
Good music makes you happy and not only dance. If music doesn’t make you happy or dance, then it’s not good music. How you perceive music sometimes depends on the mood and the combination of sounds that feed that particular mood. Nigerians make wonderful music. I think we are leading on different fronts, globally and musically
What are your worst and best experiences as a musician?
The worst experience a musician can have is usually when you are still young in the game and you want to promote your art , and you know it’s the best , then you face setbacks because of money issues , connection etc . You know you have the best art to be appreciated by all but for some reason it can’t get out there. In the quest of getting out there, being recognized, I found different creative sides about me ( comedy ). My best moments are when I’m making music or performing at concerts .
How do you get your inspirations?
God. Only God inspires me. God chooses to bless anyone he feels to bless. He is the one that creates a person who can draw very well and the person who can’t even hold a pencil. Whatever you have is between you and your God. I’ve come to realize it’s GOD , nothing but GOD.
You seem to like woman, how do they inspire and how important are they to your music?
Women don’t inspire me. Women don’t inspire me only God inspires me . No matter how I put it out. women are beautiful, they help in beautifying my craft. Women beauty my craft, I try to educate them with my materials. I get inspired by a lot of things, women being just one of them, but ultimately my major inspiration comes from God.
Your two Eps; “Vibes” and “Let’s smoke and Fuck” have kinky titles; what’s the big idea behind that?
No they don’t , the first is pretty chilled , just vibes. The second one was more like a magnet tool, it’s something everyone can relate to , either you practice it or you know someone that does. It was just to draw the attention , when you listen to the playlist you’ll understand better . The first EP “Vibes” is pretty chilled.
Who’s your best Nigerian artiste and why?
African China , Orise Femi , Tubaba , Danfo drivers … it’s squared amongst these great legends ( at different points in my life , they were the people I vibe to ) .
Are you signed to any label and why do you think artistes and labels always have problems?
I’ve never been signed to any label. I really don’t know what it is but apparently inadequate transparency on either of the label or artistes. It’s something I can’t relate to personally because I’ve never been there.
What’s the biggest sacrifice you have made to pursue your passion for music?
My own normal everyday life. Somehow because of music I became a recluse. I will rather stay at home than be with friends or hang outs or live the normal everyday life. Don’t get it wrong, I totally enjoy it. I know sometime soon when I start to achieve my goals, I will be genuinely happy with myself and life in generally.
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