The 2008 MTN Project Fame runner up, Praiz -real name, Praise Adejo – has finally released his debut album after several hit singles.
The album, titled after one of his hit singles, Rich & Famous, was released as a double CD album.
Praiz, who is signed to the label, X3M,spoke at a media parley in Lagos.
He explained why it took him six years after finishing second behind fellow pop star, Iyanya, to release an album and why he decided to make it a two-CD album.
“To put out a great body of work, you need to sit down, be settled,” he said. “You cannot rush and put out an amazing album in one month; that’s if you want to put out an amazing album.”
He said he was releasing a double album to showcase his versatility.
“It shows you two sides of Praiz,” he said.
He explained that one album was called Rich and the other Famous.
“On the Rich album, we have the R&B songs and on the Famous album, it has pop songs we all like,” Praiz said.
He insisted that R&B was marketable in Nigeria.
“I would like to correct the notion that R&B doesn’t sell in Nigeria, I think that’s wrong,” he said. “I got my endorsements with a R&B song not a pop song.”
Praiz, who was previously an Etisalat ambassador but now represents rival telecommunications company, MTN, talked about the artistes he collaborated with on his album and why he chose to work with them.
“I worked with Wizkid, Patoranking, Bez, Awilo, Chidinma and Sammy,” he said. “When doing my collaborations, I’m actually particular about the sound. I try to picture the kind of music I want to make at that particular time and whose sound would actually play better on each song and those are my reasons for my choice of collaboration.”
Known for crossing genres, Praiz said he was not a jack of all genres but to survive on the Nigerian music scene, one must be versatile.
“As a good musician, you should be able to pull off any performance. You should be able to give your audience different kind of music and that’s what I bring to the table and when you listen to the album, you will know I mean business.”
He talked about the challenges he had trying to prove himself after coming close to winning the Project Fame.
“It was a hard time for me. I mean, the talent was there but resources to record music, promote music, wasn’t there, so it was trying time. I still kept putting more effort, went to shows, took pictures just to show that this guy that was in Project Fame is still in the story. I begged to perform at shows for free, and I paid my dues.”
He said despite the initial struggles, his music career had progressed. He cited his collaboration with MI on Epic from MI2 as a major boost to his career.
When asked how rich and famous he was, Praiz, the first of five children, said: “Look at me, don’t I look rich and famous? I pay my dues. I take care of my siblings. I pay their school fees conveniently. I pay my house rent. I have a car. I travel when I want to travel. I have four siblings; three of them are in the university. My parents have done their best. They can afford to pay their fees but it’s my way of saying thank you to them for bringing me up. I think I’m rich and famous.”
Praiz clarified that he was not in any relationship. He said he was focused on his music with his mother and sister being the only women in his life.
“I’m inspired by experiences,” he said about his song writing. “I would rather write a song based on an experience, be it personal or indirectly. It makes your songs sound real with a lot of people being able to connect with your song. The Rich & Famous song, a lot of people were able to connect with the song especially the part where I said, “Mama, I will buy you a Range Rover.” Everybody wants to say thank you to mummy. Generally, mummy, daddy thank you for making me who I am today. People like to listen to songs they can connect with.”
Praiz, who has been signed to X3M music since 2011, said the relationship between him and the label was more than business. He pledged his loyalty to the label’s CEO, Steve Babaeko, who believed in his talent and gave him the opportunity by signing him on.
On the similarities between himself and American R&B star, John Legend, and any plans of the two working together, Praiz said attempts have been made.
“And hopefully, by God’s grace, it will come to reality,” he said.
On his Project Fame contemporary, Iyanya, he said he had never seen the Kukere singer as competition.
“People just keep saying me and Iyanya aren’t cool. The truth is we are actually closer than what a lot of people actually think. We are like brothers, right from when there was nothing to now that we are smiling, we go way back.
“Funny enough, I was never envious. I believe in time, everyone has his or her time. Iyanya has put in a lot of work even in the Project Fame house and he ought to have blown even before he did, but he didn’t allow winning get into his head. You have to experience the struggle and it’s just life and a learning progress, make mistakes, make corrections and get better.”
Sharing his opinion about the Nigerian music industry, Praiz said Rome was not built in a day.
“The Nigerian music industry is the biggest in Africa, and I’m proud to be part of the industry and the whole world acknowledges us. Africans want to do sounds like the Nigerian music industry. Structure-wise, we are getting there.”