Knowing somebody to become somebody, a bad tradition in the music industry- Dizaya
John Uchechukwu Okeke, aka Dizaya, is a fast-rising Hip-Hop star from South-East Nigeria based in Awka, Anambra state.
He hails from Unubi, in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State. Dizaya is a songwriter, singer and rap artiste.
He is also a motivational speaker. He had his primary school at Evangel Model Nursery & Primary School, Ihie, Ugwunagbor L.G.A, Abia State. Thereafter, he proceeded to Community Secondary School, Nihi, Etche L.G.A., River State.
He is currently a student of the Confucious Institute at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. In this interview with Chidex Onyemah, he shares his experience so far in the Nigerian music industry.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I have been in this industry for over ten years now. I spent the early part of my music life writing songs for people who I thought would help me. I am working on my first album now but I already have a track in the market titled “Grace”. Another one which would feature BBNaija star, Laycon, titled “Social Distance”, is on the way.
Could you talk about your target audience?
My targets are the hustlers on the streets, those who are struggling with life, working hard to put food on the table. I am singing to encourage them, to tell them not to give up. I hope my music gets to all of them across the globe. Music is life and I am sure there is life in every note I write.
So, I want to wish them well in their endeavours, rejuvenate their zeal and encourage them not to give up on their dreams. I want to be remembered for impacting these people. I want to be the greatest in the world, not for money or fame but for the impact, I make on people’s life.
How are fans reacting to your music?
Everybody likes my music, and that is what keeps me going. My fans, friends and well-wishers are happy. This is because every line of my songs has a message it passes across. Everybody is always elated, listening to my music.
Even my featured music is loved because fans always want to know what message Dizaya is set to pass across. I am so happy because that’s my aim, to always pass a message across through my songs. I do not go to the studio just to sing like every other artiste. I want to be decent and different. I thank God, I am achieving that.
People are calling me on the phone, sending emails, telling me to keep it up. I feel fulfilled that I am touching lives.
When should we expect your first album?
People have been asking me about that. Everyone wants to know when Dizaya will drop his album. I am working tirelessly on that but due to some challenges that came with this year, w couldn’t drop it this year as planned. By the grace of God, we are going to drop the album next year. I want to give it my best, so, it is going to take some time. I don’t rush things. I always make out time for my music. When the time comes, I will let you know.
What are the challenges in the Nigerian music industry that are posing serious constraints to upcoming artistes?
There are so many challenges that we face as upcoming artistes in this country. The major challenge is knowing nobody in the industry. It has become a tradition that you must know somebody to become somebody in the music industry. The big wigs in the industry who can help us are not interested in helping us. Instead, they use the upcoming artistes for their selfish needs.
This is the major challenge. I remember those days when I was signed by a certain record label. On getting there, they used me, instead of helping me. I was made to write and voice many songs. Most of these songs were sold to other bigger artistes.
After one year in that record label, I dropped and left them. This is one of the very many challenges faced by many upcoming artistes. Also, there are no trustworthy investors who would invest in the career of the upcoming artistes.
How can these challenges be addressed?
Well, it is very simple. It is just by changing our minds. Most Africans do not have the mindset of helping one another, unlike the western nations. Here in Nigeria, especially, we find it difficult to help one another. In the western world, when a white man sees you and desires to help you as a result of whatever potential you have, he will try his best to help you, even if he can’t help you, he will connect you to someone who would bring out the best in you.
This is how Africans should think. We are blessed to be a blessing to others, not to be stingy or selfish. So, whenever we start to think in this direction in the music industry, I believe, things will get better.
What is your special message to your fans?
I must say, I love you all. Don’t forget my advice to you: Belief in yourself and your hustles. Always listen to your heart, don’t listen to the critics because they will say so many things trying to talk you out of your dreams. Don’t listen to negative people. If you fail, you try again. When you make mistakes, you try to correct yourself, learn your lessons and move on with your life.
Be persistent and consistent in your work and you will get to that desired destination.