Nigerian street rapper Akinade Blessing Mariam, known by her stage name, Candy Bleakz honoured our interview invite, visiting the office space on a sunny but quiet morning.
Candy Bleakz in this interview talks about her rap, how she became a rapper, her Role model, the kind of rap she does, how introverted she is and sadly, how she isn’t inspired by any Nigerian rapper.
She says… “Nigerian rappers are good but I just don’t have a mentor”
- How did rap start for you?
Basically, I started rapping in church, then when I was in JSS 2, I upgraded my rap and I started going for shows. I was the class rep back then and there was someone who was supposed to go for the show but the person wasn’t available, as a result, I had to represent and defend my class. From then on, I started gaining fans in my school. When I got into Olabisi Onobanjo University, I decided to face my rapping career. I started going to the Fela Shrine from school, I won the best rapper award at the Felaboration 2016. I participated in the Lagos Got Talent show in 2016/2017 and was the first runner up. From there, I went to the Governor’s house and was introduced to a number of Top-notch Nigerian celebrities and that was how I gained exposure.
- Outside rap and music, can you tell us about yourself?
Candy is Akinade Blessing Mariam. I’m from Lagos State, Epe precisely. I’m an ex-student of OSU. I am a story writer, a scout and cadet member. Candy is just a normal girl hustling hard.
- What kind of rap would you categorize your rap as?
Basically, I do trap, Zanku rap. I’m a rapper that can flow with anything that is brought to my table.
- You once said young MA is your role model, why is that?
I think we are similar. First off, she does her things her way and doesn’t care about how others are doing things. She’s a hustler and a very deep rapper. I picked her because of these similar characteristics that link us.
- Is there anyone you look up to or who inspires you in the Nigerian music industry?
There’s no Nigerian Rap Artist that inspires me, I do admire Cynthia Morgan though. Nigerian rappers are good but I just don’t have a mentor.
- How did your parents react when you told them you want to be a rap artiste?
When I first told my mom, she refused, my aunt tried to persuade her but to no avail. So when I got into school, I went for shows to perform instead of going to class. I started doing my thing until I won Lagos Got Talent and the Governor gave my mom some money. Then she told me to just do music if that was what I wanted. My dad didn’t know until this year when people started telling him I was doing music. From that time, they started to support me.
- Are you currently signed to any record label?
I have a contract with Street Billionaires. The contract provides that I can do some other things that we would both benefit from.
- What is your biggest challenge as a female rap artist in Nigeria?
In this country, female rappers aren’t very accepted. The majority just want to dance hence we have a lot to do to be accepted.
- Which track do you think is your best so far and why?
That would be ‘Owo Osu’, featuring Zlatan Ibile and Naira Marley. I was happy while making the music because I got to feature two hot rap artists in Nigeria.
- Which Nigerian artiste would you love to feature on your future projects?
I’m looking forward to featuring Teni, Davido and Olamide.
- How do you plan to penetrate the market and be with the A-list artists?
There’s something I usually say, “Another name for Miracle is Effort”. Any food that is brought to my table, I want to eat it. I intend to keep hustling and make use of every little opportunity I have. I’m very sure I’m going to be up there.
- Tell us something about you nobody knows of…
I am a very shy person. I don’t smoke and I am a very calm person. I am basically an introvert.
- What project should we be expecting from you in 2019 asides singles?
I’m not planning on dropping any album or EP yet until I have a major hit. I am not where I intend to be yet, so until then, I’m going to keep dropping singles and featuring big artists.
- What is your relationship with gbafun, Ijay and Lemon?
Street Billionaire’s Gbafun, Ijay, and Lemon were signed together with me and we were supposed to do our music together for a year before dropping singles. The funniest part is Gbafun was a mechanic, Lemon a car wash guy and IG a TV installer. I was working at a filling station and did some trades. Coming from the street is enough reason to work harder to be somebody.