K.O. Jamal is the latest eclectic soundsmith in Afro-Dancehall Fusion

Interviewed by Vivian Nnabue

Everyone has their hair all dyed these days but there’s something about how differently it sits on K.O Jamal. This can also be said about his music and all the various depths he draws them from. A brief cross cultural encounter preceded by early music exposure is all it took for him to choose his path of sound and now, he is slowly arming himself for undisputed credibility in the neo-dancehall department of new school Afro groove.

In this Vibe.ng link up, K.O Jamal shares backstories, his American influence, making music about strippers, running his own label outfit and how he hopes to be unique in this saturated music universe of ours.

How did you become interested in doing music?

I got interested in doing music like a long time ago, because I started listening to hip hop at a very young age at the age of 4/5. I traveled abroad one time, I spent like 3 years in America and the culture really influenced me. When I came back to Nigeria, I had that vibe and spirit so I just started chasing my dream till now. That’s how I got inspired to do music.

Do you believe that your sound is different from the regular Nigerian sound?

Yeah I feel my sound is universal, I try to make my sound universal because I feel the world is a small village. You can do a song in Nigeria and be famous in America, Asia etc. as long as you make it universal so I’m not strict to one particular place.

I love being free to do my music… I love freedom.

– K.O. Jamal

What would you call your own genre of music?

I would describe my music as Afro Dancehall because I’m Nigerian, I’m Afro.

Who is John Osariemen Ezomo and how did you cull out K.O Jamal from your name?

Well the Jamal was from a very good friend who influenced me a lot back then when I was in America. So I decided to use the name Jamal then K.O, I got it one way or another from myself. Jamal impacted a lot in me, he was a lot older than me and encouraged me and all that.

How do you intend to stand out in an already saturated industry?

My plan is basically to be universal, to be real just do my thing and put my stuff out there. That’s my plan because I’m a lover of everybody and I feel everyone is unique. I’m unique and I believe that the sky is large enough for us all to fly.

Tell us about your singles and what inspired them?     

Well for my single “stripper”, I went to the strip club and when I got back after the whole stuff, I just got inspired and I went to the studio and I just did something, something good, for “run with you”, I was just basically in the mood because most of the time, I’m always in the studio, I mix sounds a lot, I love to play with sounds, I love to make music. I get inspiration from different sources and different things I see daily…

Why did you choose to own and run your own record label?

Well I just feel I’d be more comfortable doing my own thing for now, I’m still open, if anything is good, I could still fall in but I feel I’m more free to do what I want to do, I love being free to do my music… I love freedom.

Who would you give an arm and a leg to collaborate with?

A lot of artistes have touched me so much because so many of them have been through the struggle, through the fight when it was really tough. People like Tuface, people like Timaya, people like Patoranking, Wizkid, Davido, Runtown and so many other good people out there.

If you had the opportunity to choose another career and excel at it, what would it be and why?

This is a very hard question, I would probably be a doctor, “a special doctor”…

Whose music has motivated you?

Well most of the time, I get to listen to a lot of old school classics, people like Shabba Ranks, people like Buju Banton, a lot of Caribbean artists. Then a lot of American artists people like snoop Dogg, people like Dr Dre , Eminem…These people… because I feel the energy they have and I try and take that energy they have and build myself, it’s all about energy.

What do you think about the ongoing sex doll saga?

I don’t think I would buy this device.

Are you a breast guy or a butt guy?

I would say I’m a bum-bum guy…

How far do you see your career in 5 years and how much hard work do you put in?

Well first of all, I put in a lot of sacrifice, I put in a lot of hard work, I put in a lot of determination in everything I do especially for my music and in the next 3-5 years from now I see myself going really international because the world is now a small place and I feel I’m going to be international, I’m going to be out there. So everyone should be expecting a lot more from me.

What is that first impression people have about you that is usually not true?

When most people see me, they feel I’m very quiet but most times I’m very lively and friendly, I’m a very bubbly person, in other words, I’m not quiet.

Who are the top 5 video directors you would trust your music video with?

I would love to work with J.M films, Clarence Peters because he’s really good, Mex films, then Daps… That guy is really good. For the fifth I’d say I’d like to work with Aje films because he’s really good too.

Off the top of your head, give us your top 5 club bangers yet.

The first song I’d call is by Olu Maintain’s Yahooze- that song went really crazy that year. Then I’d say Olamide’s “Wo”, his new single “Science Student”, Drake’s “One Dance” and “Stripper” by K.O Jamal.


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