Babajide Awoyinfa Entertainment express

NEXT 2 BLOW: My Goal Is To Create International Music That Can Appeal To World Audience – SOJ Luciano

Tuesday, May 21, 2013Omobaswagz H

Written By: Babajide Awoyinfa  
With three mixtapes - Organized Crime, The Luciano Effect and Champagne Freestyle Sessions - Olusoji Alabi Andrew is no Johnny-come-lately to the Nigerian music circuit. Esojay Luciano (as he is popularly known) is in a class of his own. With a superb style that cut him out as a core rapper and superlative songwriting ability, he is absolutely the type of musician needed by the music industry. If his efforts are anything to go by, he is someone with prospect. The Computer Science graduate of Covenant University, currently signed to RUC IMPERIAL, an entertainment outfit he co-owns, discloses to Entertainment Express his map to music glory. 

Let’s have a comprehensive introduction to you?
I am a native of Osun State but I lived in Lagos all my life, so I’ll say I represent Lagos. My name is Esojay Luciano. My real name is Soji Alabi. I’m a rapper and songwriter. I represent R.U.C. IMPERIAL™, a music, fashion and lifestyle company that I also co-own. My official single is titled “Gbagbe.”  Its video, shot by ace video director Akin Alabi, has been released. The video, full of well-scripted scenes and beautiful locations has cameo appearances from Olamide, YBNL and Fred Ade Williams of Tinsel. I also released a mixtapeChampagne Freestyle Sessions. A video from it is titled “Clique” and is out on social network.

Why the strong passion for rap?
I started out singing in church until I discovered that I could also rap. I started rapping since when I was about eight years old, I can’t remember what song exactly, but as soon as I heard my song I fell in love with it. The way artistes rhyme words and the technique used in delivering rap really got me hooked. I started practicing rhyming words on my own till I was very good at it.

Why did you decide to launch a career as a rapper when the market is oversaturated right now?
I agree that the industry is getting saturated right now, but I also believe in quality over quantity. A lot of rappers on the scene now don’t know what rap is all about.  My music is of international quality with indigenous content – that, I believe will separate me from the crowd. I have no plans in being a one-hit wonder; I plan to stay in the game for a very long period of time. 

What did you learn from your upbringing that has helped you navigate the music business and rap?
Growing up, I learnt to be patient. I also learnt that there is a process in everything in life. This has helped me in the music business because success is not an overnight thing. I am ready to pay my dues and go through the process to attain that height.

Looking back at your childhood, what was your first experience with music?
My dad is a great music lover. He also plays the guitar very well. While growing up, we had a large collection of records that were always played in the house. That was when I really started paying attention to music.

It had always being my childhood dream to go into music although my parents never knew that, I kept it as a secret until I finished secondary school. That was when I told them what I wanted to do.

How did you come about your stage name “Esojay Luciano”?
My name is Soji, so the derivative “Esojay” comes from spelling out the first three letters. S-O-J. Luciano came from my friends, because of my obsession with the Mafia, especially, the way they organized things. In Mafia history (Lucky) Luciano was the Boss of all the bosses. My friends started calling me that from university and somehow it just stuck.

At what stage of your life did you develop interest in rap music?
My interest developed when I was eight years old. But I started perfecting it when I was 14.

What gave you the conviction to pursue a career in music?
Looking up to someone like Fela Kuti and seeing how legendary one could become doing music and also my strong passion for it and realizing that it pays well for those that do it well.

You studied computer science and yet still went ahead to embrace music?
Music was my first love. But the average Nigerian does not think it is an honorable profession, so I had to go to school to obtain a degree. As soon as I got my degree, I got the liberty to do music. And Computer Science would just serve as a Plan B. Now the music is working out.

What inspires your music?
My inspiration comes from God, my experience as an individual and also listening to the Greats. Music is a medium for people to learn, especially rap music. I’m motivated to teach people about a wide topic of things through my music.

Do you have any official single?
I recently released a single titled “Mr Lover” (Se Mi Da da) ft. Lil Miss Miss, a female rapper/singer. It’s a single for my fans from my surprise mixtape Classic. It was produced by an upcoming producer, Egbon Talented.

How would you describe your music?
What I do is rap/Hip hop, but I infuse our local dialects into it. You can also call it Afro-Hip hop. I don’t have a particular sound; I can rap on soulful beats, R&B and up-tempo dance music. If you listened to my last mix tape, you’ll discern how I work with different sounds.

How do you plan to impact on the Hip-hop scene?
I am not coming in to add; I plan to change the Hip hop scene in Nigeria. Mediocrity is being celebrated; I am coming in to change all that by God’s grace.

Explain your flow and how it grew to where it is today?
I listened to a lot of New York rappers while growing up; I’ll say I have the American thing going well for me.

What does rap do for you personally?
Rap is like an escape route for me. It’s where I pour all my thoughts that I may not normally share with people. Right now, rap is a medium for me to share my story which I know will motivate a lot of young people out there.

What were the songs that molded you as you were growing?
A lot of Michael Jackson’s songs. As far as rap is concerned, I’ll go with this three- “Juicy” by the Notorious B.I.G, “The World is Yours” by Nas and “Dead Presidents” by Jay-Z.

Are there any new rappers or major artists that you look up to as role models?
Very few rappers of the present rap era impress me. But I love Diddy and Jay-Z for their business acumen which has influenced me a lot, and Nas also for his lyricism.

In your opinion what are the characteristics of a successful rap artist?
Commercializing your music, (which means being able to appeal to a larger audience) signing other artists and nurturing them to stardom.

You’ve been heavy on the mix tape circuit, how has this helped your grind as an artist?
Mix tapes are like mini albums now. It has created a platform to let people believe in me and my talent and it also made my music reach places I could only imagine.

Tell us about the Champagne Freestyles Sessions mixtape?
Champagne Freestyle Sessions dropped in November 2012. Originally it wasn’t meant to be a mixtape, but later ended up as one. We had a lot of great music to give out so it ended up being a mixtape. We worked on mostly indigenous material. The tape features R&B singer Funbi and RUC Imperial label artistes Yung Eezy and Gwill’ d’ Don. The singles of the mixtape are presently on air. Hard copies are also available at various stores.

Which one of your songs best showcases your talent as a lyricist?
This is very hard for me to pick, because all my songs showcase lyricism at its best.

If you had the opportunity to work with other rappers who are your pick?
I’ve worked with some underground artistes, some mainstream. I’m not really looking to work with anybody outside my label for now. But if anyone wants to work with me I’m available.

Any plan for an album later?
Yes. I am presently working on an EP titled “Blue Blood.” With the success of that, I plan to drop my debut album.

Tell us about your record label
The name of My Record label is RUC Imperial. I co-own it with mutual friends I met in the university. My friends are hardworking, dedicated, and focused, which make it easy for us to work together.

What other organizations or institutions impacted your music?
Universal Records, Bad Boy Records and Def Jam records are organizations that impacted on me and my music. Looking at the structure on which these organizations operate, my dream is to own a company as big as Universal in Africa.

What makes your music unique?
My music is an extension of who I am, what I have been through and what I represent. It’s a blend of indigenous and Western music. My target is to create international music that can appeal to the world audience.

Pertaining to your music career, what is the best advice you have been given and who gave you this advice?
I read it in a magazine. The late Notorious B.I.G gave Mase an advice who in turn gave 2Chainz the same advice - “Pray every day.” I have been holding on it to it till this day. I also keep a level head. I am focused.

Twitter handle: @esojayluciano. Instagram: Luckyesoajayluciano Official Blog:

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