27th March, 2013
Coming from a background steeped in music, it didn’t come as a surprise that Babatunmida Kuboye, the son of renowned jazz duo, Tunde and Fran Kuboye (Fran died in 1997), has decided to launch a professional music career.
Though Baba, as he prefers to be called by fans and friends, has always been on the periphery of the music industry by virtue of his regular sessions at his parents’ popular Jazz 38 Club with The Extended Family Band and even released an album to lukewarm reception years back, the London-based RF Engineer is now keen to give established Nigerian music stars a run for their talent and artistry.
He is coming to the scene with a new single titled, Baba De Baba, accompanied with a video shot on location in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
“My guiding principle in doing music is that it should always be fun. I had fun making the track. From the composition to the recording in the UK to the video shoot in Florida. My hope is that people will also have fun while they watch and listen to it,” Baba said.
He added that despite the fact that he only has one single at the moment, he is upbeat about his chances of overcoming any challenges that will confront him on his way to stardom.
“I have been exposed to some of the good and bad sides of the industry due to my background. I have also had personal experience while doing my music. Though nothing can ever fully prepare one for the wonderful world of the music industry, I think I have a good support system and experience to deal with what comes my way,” he said.
“ There are other artistes like me who compose or produce their own music, rap, play an instrument and run their own label. I am bringing an alternative. That alternative is just the music that I compose which I think is distinct. My music is urban, but you will still hear some jazz or Afrobeat influences in my compositions,” he said.
This, he admits, is because he grew up listening to the popular music of his generation.
“I like the commercial and style of putting music on wax. My folks always insisted that music be seen as an expression and nothing more, so I don’t do music out of an expectation or for any other reason apart from deep interest, burning passion and great desire,” Baba reiterated.
No doubt, his family’s Afrobeat and Jazz background remains a big influence in his career, though Baba is always receptive to other genres of music.
He took a keen interest in hip-hop when he listened to the late American gangster rapper, 2Pac Shakur’s fourth studio album titled All Eyes On Me in the mid- 90’s.
He recalled that his dad bought a CD changer at the time and 2Pac’s album was among the free CDs given out as part of the package.
“I felt the lyrical content and the beats on 2Pac’s album and that got me into rapping. I also listened to other rappers such as Nas and before I knew it, I became more conscious and thoughtful with my lyrics. These days, my musical taste is more eclectic; I like to hear the collection of sounds. I will try anything once – but my favourite stuff is urban music,” he said.
Not surprisingly, as Baba started writing his own songs in his teens he took more time to rap; to the consternation of many who thought he would follow in the footsteps of his father by doing Afrobeat or Jazz. The drawback, he says, was that he felt his voice was too deep to be a lead singer and that was his reason for not taking to Afrobeat or Jazz.
“One would expect that given my background, I would be doing Afrobeat or Jazz. If you put it in terms of genre of music, it is a deviation. But if you put it in terms of what my parents and uncle (Fela) did – it’s actually not that different.
“I think my parents took to jazz because it was the popular and cool music in their time. Fela formed Afrobeat and made it a popular music then and even beyond his time. I grew up listening to these kinds of music as well as what was on radio and TV. Having been exposed to all these as a kid, it allowed me appreciate music, its composition and instrumentation,” he said.
The young rapper whose late mother, Fran (nee Ransome-Kuti) was a singer, pianist, painter, saxophonist and dentist; and his dad a bass guitarist and entrepreneur, said he is not into music for competition but rather to contribute his quota as a talented artiste.