Hot 97 Interview: Mr. Eazi Talks Growth of Afrobeats, J. Balvin & His EmPawa Initiative
Thanks fans for hitting over one million views on YouTube on his new hit single “Supernova”
Intercontinental singer, Mr. Eazi just had a quick interview with Ebro Darden on Hot 97 and disclosed the present growth of Afrobeats genre, how he met with J. Balvin and also what he’s doing for the African music artiste with Empawa.
Speaking about the J.Balvin, Mr. Eazi revealed that meeting and touring with the Columbian singer changed his perspective on a lot of things and the experience was also humbling for him. They met, according to Mr. Eazi through Michael Brun and they have stayed in touch ever since.
I had a show in Haiti and then Micheal Brun is a DJ/Producer from out there, he played a couple of beats. 20 minutes we made like four records. The following week he had a session with Balvin and then he played one of our sketches and Balvin just went crazy and then he got on to my music and then we started talking. I toured with him at the end of last year which was like the most humbling thing I’ve ever done because it messed with my mind… In my rise, I’ve never done shows where I’m the opener and nobody knows my song… so I had to experience that and I was like wow, so this is how people feel when they open for me… the key thing was that Balvin will come out and watch me perform and that even taught me because usually, when the openers are opening for me, I’m just backstage chilling… and that friendship just turned to a collaboration, so we’re working on a couple of stuff.
Speaking about his Empawa Africa initiative and the plans ahead, Mr. Eazi revealed that due to the restricted internet, he has recently signed a deal with Nigerian based telecommunication company, MTN to enable Nigerians to stream songs of artistes from Empawa at no cost. Speaking of how long Mr. Eazi intends to run Empawa, the singer reveals that he has set aside funds for the first three years and for now, he’s sure that that three years cannot be stopped as financial resources to run it has already been allocated.
Speaking further on the issue of internet, Mr. Eazi opened up about how artistes are being shortchanged due to the lack of internet in Nigeria as a huge percentage of the music consumers in Nigeria patronize bootlegs in the industry like individuals who download and resell music consumers. According to Mr. Eazi, a system like this work for him, who admitted he has and still encourages such, because the most important thing for an artiste, aside funds is getting the music out there, which those channels do. With this, Mr. Eazi stated that the numbers on streaming platforms or how big a song really is might not be seen because a majority of the music consumers are not recorded on these platforms.
You can have a Shatta Wale record that is like probably the biggest record in Ghana and you could online and 2Million views on Youtube and maybe see 1 million streams on Spotify, 500 on Apple music but it doesn’t reflect what’s going on because the music consumers are listening to the music via informal platforms. So they go into the markets on the streets and they have these guys with laptops who have downloaded all the songs and then they’re selling off the laptops via Bluetooth to kids who are just going there and paying like a dollar.
He ended with how Afrobeat is spreading and how he blessed he considers himself to be a part of this time.
It’s an exciting time for African music and I’m blessed to be part of this generation that’s why it’s important for me to make sure that this set up is proper with Emapawa.