It all started on Instagram.
Like most internet sensations of the 21st century, Dandizzy, whose real name is Daniel Darius, has fast grown a huge fanbase, all thanks to his spontaneous rap prowess.
Dandizzy, also known as Wave Zaddy, recently started gaining recognition across the country for his viral popularly accepted street rap videos, where he freestyles to entertain random listeners on the streets of Lagos and Port Harcourt.
He began his musical career in 2009 in Port Harcourt where he was raised and then joined a record label, Cadilly Entertainment, officially in 2017.
In this chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Dandizzy lets us in on the challenges he has faced in his quest to become a household name in the Nigerian music industry
PT: How did music begin for you?
DANDIZZY: I’ve always loved music right from an early age. I realized I could sing right from when I was in JSS 1. I attended a boarding school in Umuahia and then, I used to sing and rap with my seniors and I loved and admire music so much. I also sang with my classmates, I had my own lyrics and freestyles.
That was how my love for music developed, I was just nine years when I entered JSS1 so it’s been a long time I ventured into music. The interest and efforts to get better waxed stronger over time, I left the boarding school in JSS 2. I was raised in Port Harcourt and that’s basically where my love for music began.
PT: When did you start doing music commercially?
DANDIZZY: I started doing music commercially after I finished secondary school. I met a friend, Mr Isaac, who took me to the house of Burna Boy’s former producer. I used to sleep and frequent the house a lot; the house was basically a music house for all. It was where everyone goes to when they wanted to make music.
I learned a lot in the house and from there, I started to go to a lot of shows where I would basically do a lot of freestyle and get paid. I used to go to a lot of streets just to do freestyles. So that’s how I got into music commercially.
PT: How would you describe your type of music?
DANDIZZY: I feel like I have so much talent that I can’t focus on a particular type of music but I do Afro-pop and hip hop.
PT: Who would you say you look up to in the industry?
DANDIZZY: I look up to the likes of Olamide, Phyno, Wizkid, Davido, and a lot of other popular artistes. But mostly, I listen to a lot of Olamide.
PT: Do you think you’d be doing music with him in the future?
DANDIZZY: Yes, of course. In fact, I have been texting and disturbing him a lot lately. Hopefully.
PT: You recently became a viral sensation for the street rap you do. What inspired it?
DANDIZZY: It is really hard to sell out your talent to people in Nigeria. There are lots of us out there doing this thing so I had to devise a way that directly appeals to the people to showcase what I have to offer, and it paid off.
PT: You have shown a strong prowess in your ability to make music out of any word, what is your secret?
DANDIZZY: I don’t have any secret. I just take life very simple and music is just a gift, it is a talent. I don’t do anything, I don’t rehearse when I am alone, I just chill on my couch and when it is time to rap, I just open my mouth and it comes to me. That is how it is for me. Music is just in me. It is just there constantly.
PT: What is your opinion of the Nigerian music industry? Would you say it is difficult for young talents to make it?
DANDIZZY: It is difficult for young talents coming from the south and the east, I swear. It is difficult to rise when you are from those places. Anybody that “blows up” from the South disconnects from the South totally, anybody that blows up from the East disconnects totally too. Only Phyno tried to stay connected to the Easterners and tried to bring up boys but he can’t do it alone you know.
The few big artistes from the East did not even grow up there so they identify with where they grew up. I can count how many young artistes Olamide has helped apart from the ones signed. How many artistes he has given the platform, the limelight, and set up on the stage. Too many.
Things like that can help many artistes and make them “blow up”. I don’t see any reason why you’d just “blow up” and just disconnect from your people like that. The number of lives you touch is your legacy that you build and people will never forget you till they die.
PT: There are lots of upcoming singers like you that are not yet fully recognized, what would you advise them to do to become visible?
DANDIZZY: I would advise them to keep doing their thing. Don’t wait for any celebrity to post you, don’t wait for a celebrity to slide in your DM. Just keep making effort and stay consistent. Anything can happen at any time, anybody can just stumble on your video, and then you are set for life.
PT: Which Nigerian music star are you dying to work it?
DANDIZZY: I want to collaborate with a lot of people. Davido, Wizkid, Olamide, Burna Boy, a lot of them that I can’t even choose. There are female artistes too, I like Teni a lot, I like Tiwa Savage and Niniola too.
PT: The music industry today is dominated by lewd and raunchy content which the audience appears to vibe to a lot, do you think it will be difficult to rise in the industry without using such lyrics?
DANDIZZY: You see the truth is that sometimes you need a certain kind of lyrics to express how you are feeling. Sometimes you just need to say some things the way they are and the way you feel in your heart. These fans have expectations but I want to express these things the way they are and the way I know best.
That is what most of us know and that is what will get people’s attention easily. If I start to give you motivational songs now, people will easily forget about me. We are marketers that sell what people want. They will always come to say can Nigerian artistes (don’t) do this and that but when that artiste listens to you, you will ignore him.
PT: But not all Nigerian artistes use such content. The likes of Adekunle Gold make pretty decent music and he has a lot of ratings.
DANDIZZY: How old was Adekunle Gold when he “blew”? It is not easy to make it on that path and not all artistes are as patient as Adekunle Gold.
There are no jobs in Nigeria, what most people have is their talents and they just want to make it into the limelight and help their family and sort things out for themselves.
You expect them to be doing what two or three people want? They will do what one million people want so that they can get one million people’s attention. At the end of the day, everybody needs to do what they have to do to progress and get food on the table.
PT: Speaking about jobs, you forfeited your university admission to pursue music. Why did you do that?
DANDIZZY: That is a long story and a story for another day. I did it because of music and something else. I was sorting myself out. My family was not able to do anything and I was trying to make things work for myself. I am the first son and there were lots of responsibilities. I needed to move on.
PT: When you eventually achieve your dream of becoming a superstar in the Nigerian music industry, is there something you would never do?
DANDIZZY: The only thing that I know that I will never do is hard drugs. It is just too bad.
PT: Now that you are gaining the audience and followership across the country, is there something you are cooking up for your fans?
DANDIZZY: Very big music from me. I have been working on it since last year. It is an EP but I might turn it into an album, depending on when I release it.
PT: Did you feature any star in it?
DANDIZZY: You would know when it is out.
PT: Apart from music, what else do you do for money or to pass time?
DANDIZZY: Music pays me a lot. Music is all I do for money. Apart from music, I like Forex trading.
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