Coryn Solomon provides MI Abaga’s latest album with the most profound oratory interludes, and some of her words strike a chord quite similar to Kizz Daniel’s controversial exit from G-worldwide.
“…The people who are most likely to shoot you down are very often your protégés…
Once they’ve sat at the feet of the father, they need to shoot the father down or the mother; and that’s what happens. It’s not really personal, it’s a way of empowering themselves… just expect it, get yourself ready…”
For Jude Abaga, this dwells on the succession of the Nigerian Hip-hop ‘throne’ but it takes a slightly different context in Kizz Daniel’s case.
Wizkid left EME to establish his Starboy label before joining Sony Music, Davido broke out of HKN to form DMW before he also engaged with Sony Music, Olamide threw his deuces at Coded Tunes to birth YBNL, Burna Boy parted ways with Aristokrat Records to continue with his Spaceship imprint and Runtown recently escaped from Eric Many to float his Sound God Music Group.
Kizz Daniel has done the same by leaving G-worldwide to create Fly Boy Inc and he will not be the last pop star to follow this pattern.
To repeat Coryn’s words, it’s really not personal.
‘Where I’m coming from is not a bad place. It is actually a very good place but we can only hope for a better place.’
It only becomes personal in the presence of breached contracts, sentimental attachments, greed and other related cancers of music and label business.
A year ago, Kizz Daniel covered the 10th issue of Vibe.ng magazine in the company of his then G-worldwide family and the unity that was displayed during that shoot, all of a sudden seemed like a well-rehearsed performance. Did Kizz Daniel know that he was leaving at the time of that interview?
Posing that as my first question to him for this feature, he confesses that the decision hadn’t been made at the time of our meeting, saying that a quick series of events later followed; all of which led to his secession.
He curves my hunger for deeper details with the following words and a smile. ‘We thank God everybody’s happy. We’ve moved on. Kizz Daniel is doing fine, G-worldwide is doing fine and that’s what really matters.’
‘Finally, I am interacting with other talents in the industry and I feel it is good for the growth of the industry.’
Caught between my nosiness and extremely limited time, we move on to the changes that his career has experienced in the past year, starting with his new collaborative spirit.
In 2016, Emperor Geezy had released a comprehensive statement, addressing his reason for the no-feature policy adopted by his company. He claimed it was a strategy to build a solid brand for his acts but the strategy took a toll on the artistes who were perceived in the industry as proud, snobbish and arrogant.
This unconventional decision which seemed to many like a curse now feels like a blessing in disguise. The quenched starvation of crossing Kiss Daniel’s art with that of other artistes has not only exposed another dimension of the Yeba crooner’s depth of talent, it has also helped him stay afloat and retain credibility in his tough legal season. From CDQ’s ‘Gbayi’ to the joint effort with Wizkid on ‘For You’ to DJ Spinall’s ‘Baba’ to Seyi Shay’s ‘Surrender’ to DJ Neptune’s ‘Wait’, Kizz Daniel has been one of the extra flavours that has seriously spiced things up in the music industry this 2018.
‘Many more are yet to be released’, he says in subtle excitement. ‘Finally, I am interacting with other talents in the industry and I feel it is good for the growth of the industry.’
He’s fresh off an international collaboration with Major Lazer and Kranium (Loyal) and he assures that there are similar projects in the pipes. ‘Others are still coming out. I’ve worked with some artistes in the U.K. and about 2-3 artistes in the U.S.’
Going from Kiss Daniel to Kizz Daniel may have been regarded as a conceding move but it was a small price to pay for the Fly Boy Inc brand to gain its wings. He admits that the name rebranding affected a number of things but in his words, “very soon, everything go gel’.
‘You have to think about yourself, you have to think about your artiste and you always have to put your artiste first.’
In September 2018, Kizz Daniel announced the signing on of singer/Songwriter-Demmie Vee and Producer-Philkeyz to Flyboy Inc. The media thought this development too sudden, buttressing that Kizz needs to regain his own balance before packing on extra responsibility but the singer doesn’t quite mind.
On how he has managed the leap from being a signee to becoming CEO, he admits that it is not a walk in the park but he plans to prioritize his artistes, no matter what.
‘The transition has been great. I’m beginning to feel more and more like a father. I’m glad I have Demmie Vee on board. He’s an amazing talent. I’m actually very excited about this particular artiste because I know he’s got what it takes to become the next big thing in the industry. It takes a whole lot of time and energy to be an artiste and a CEO at the same time. You have to think about yourself, you have to think about your artiste and you always have to put your artiste first.’
He may have noticed the “why wouldn’t you want to put yourself first” question on my face but he explains before they form into words.
‘You want to put the artiste in a very good place so that at the end of the day, he can look back and say, Kizz Daniel did well with me so whenever he is all by himself and he thinks about it, he’ll remember that “this dude actually came through for me”. That’s what I’m doing right now and I really enjoy it.’
Vibe: Based on where you’re coming from, what would you like to do differently?
Kizz Daniel: Where I’m coming from is not a bad place. It is actually a very good place but we can only hope for a better place. That’s the stage I’m currently at. The hoping stage; for a better place and a better position.
(He blurts out randomly)
Kizz Daniel: Actually, I just want to be the greatest artiste ever liveth. I don’t really care about who the biggest is. It is just a temporary thing.
Vibe: Very Interesting. How did you find Demmie Vee?
Kizz Daniel: It’s a long story. There’s this song by Demmie Vee titled ‘Tiff’. A lot of my fans kept tagging me to the song on Instagram and Twitter saying oh, “There’s this artiste called Demmie Vee. He’s really good and he makes your kind of music and I was like, Kiss Daniel type of music? Are you for real? So I looked into it, I watched the video, I listened to the song on repeat and I loved the song so I reached out and I got him.
Vibe: I see that you already had a working relationship with Philkeyz before he officially joined Flyboy.
Kizz Daniel: Oh yeah, Philkeyz is like a friend of the family. We started the whole thing together. He is ever supportive of the brand Kizz Daniel. He produced “No Do” when I left G-worldwide. He also produced 90 percent of all the songs I recorded from December 2017 to February 2018. He’s just there in the picture and he is a very good guy.
Vibe: Let’s talk about your new album- No Bad Songz. The title carries quite a lot of cockiness.
Kizz Daniel: (Laughs cockily) Cheesy right?
Vibe: Lol. Is there any other underlying meaning besides the obvious?
Kizz Daniel: No bad songs. That’s it. When you listen to the album, you no go hear any bad song.
Vibe: What does the Z in ‘songz’ represent?
Kizz Daniel: The S still stands for the Kiss Daniel so I just changed it to the z cos I’m now Kizz Daniel. If you’ve noticed, everything I write on social media, I replace the s with the z.
‘I’m writing a movie presently. It’s going to be about my life.’
Vibe: The album’s art is quite dark.
Kizz Daniel: That’s life now. You constantly have the good side and the bad side whispering into your ears. That’s just life. That’s perfection right there. That’s the balance, good and evil.
You cannot tell me that you only listen to the good side all the time. At times you listen to the good side and sometimes you give in to the dark side.
Vibe: Now that you’re open to features, who should we expect on the album?
Kizz Daniel: I do not want to give names right now but I know there are a couple of features on the album that are groundbreaking.
Vibe: Are your current singles on the project?
Kizz Daniel: The only song on it is ‘No Do’.
Vibe: Of all the features you have been on, which do you hold dearly?
Kizz Daniel: I love all the features the same. They are good tunes. I don’t jump on the song if I do not like the song.
Vibe: There’s been a drastic switch in your style and it has got people talking. Is this intentional?
Kizz Daniel: Not really. Tomorrow fit come now make e be say na singlet and boxer I go just dey wear. (laughs) It’s just change.
Vibe: The elections are almost here. Are you one of them politically inclined entertainers?
Kizz Daniel: (Scoffs) Naa, but I’m definitely going to vote…
Vibe: We’ve seen Kizz Daniel as a comedian and we have seen you take up some acting roles like in Seyi Shay’s ‘Surrender’. Are you going to branch out into the movie industry at some point?
Kizz Daniel: Yes, I am. I’m writing a movie presently. It’s going to be about my life. And this is an exclusive.
Vibe: You cannot have Kizz Daniel and not talk about girls.
Kizz Daniel: We don old. We don pass that stage.
Cover Story: Anonymous
Photography: Kunmi Owopetu Studios
Cover Design/creative direction: Slimkiss