By Taiwo Okanlawon
Afro-pop rising star Lefty has narrated his music creation process and how he wants his fans to feel when they listen to him.
For many who the name and artiste, Lefty hasn’t popped up on their radar, he is an exciting talent to listen to. His debut single, “Shamanya” revelled in the laid-back vibes and most particularly, Lefty’s deft ability to cook up rhymes that serenaded the beat in an elegant manner.
“I got to meet Orbeat through a friend and promoter, Foe,” Lefty talks about the song’s creation process. “I was excited about meeting him and told him I would want to work with him. He was fine with it and sent me a pack of beats. As soon as I got to the beat for Shamanya, I knew instantly that was what I wanted to work on.”
While Lefty was talking about Shamanya, there was this resulting confidence about the song. For the singer, it didn’t begin today. As far back as when Lefty was in secondary school, he had been hell-bent on doing music.
“I used to record then but not professionally,” he reveals. By the time he got admitted into the university—University of Minna—the passion to make music professionally increased.
Lefty was at a crossroad: Focus on music or drop out of school. He didn’t do either. He fashioned out a way where he could be consistent with the two, sometimes making hard decisions like being absent in class for a show in town.
“I recorded a lot of songs but the thing is, I didn’t put them out. It was just within the campus community. My institution had a radio station at the time so they were playing my music a lot. I also had homies who became my hardcore fans, helping to spread the word about me anywhere they went to.”
A new era beckoned after school. Flying without the financial wings provided by parents was always going to be hard. There’s an urge of independence that emanates and for Lefty, his was about “making his certificate work.”
This decision meant music had to take a backseat as financial stability was the main goal. After applying to many companies, he would eventually get a job as a sales representative and in those two years oscillating to bump up sales, there was a burning desire within him.
“The journey hasn’t been easy,” he admits. “I felt like I suffered a lot because I was unable to record for those two years. I felt like my music was dying, I was doing well with the numbers as a sales representative, I was contributing to the growth of the company but I wasn’t developing myself.”
Lefty would later step off the pedal of being a sales representative to fully focus on music. Adapting the knowledge gained from his past job, he started a small business, pooling funds from that to finance the marketing of the songs he released at the time. “I dropped a number of songs on radio,” he says.
“I dropped a number of songs between when I left the job and now. I actually promoted those ones but not to the highest level. I tried my best though within my urban area, Abuja and a few radio stations in Lagos.
When asked how he got his record deal with Whistle Clean, Lefty owes it up to his crew of friends who had put in word for him since his University days.
“When a number of them got to know that Lefty is ready for the music now, a number of guys came together and they happened to know someone who was about to launch a label. They spoke to him, played him a number of my songs and he was impressed.”
With Afrobeats expanding and most artists inventing subgenres, crafting new descriptions for their sound, Lefty feels he is more of a fusion of Hip-Hop and Afrobeats. Like many artists, Lefty’s introduction to music was spurred by what he heard in Hip-Hop.
“It wasn’t really about the sound, but the content,” he says. Nas and Jay Z are his major influences, as he listened a lot to their albums while growing up.
“I learnt a lot from music. Especially Hip Hop, the content I listened to, they actually got to shape my life of some sort. When I hear people talk about their experiences in life, you can actually relate and learn from their errors and what they did right.”
It’s this mindset Lefty aims to base his forthcoming EP on. Titled Long Live The Whip, Lefty wants to pass a message through his debut EP.
“These are difficult times and what most people need right now are hope and succour. All of the songs on the EP are content every Nigerian can relate to. Whoever gets to listen would actually feel some sort of comfort, something they can relate to.”