Joeboy, a Nigerian Afro pop and R&B singer, was discovered by fellow Nigerian singer Mr. Eazi in 2017. Since then, he's released his debut album Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic and dropped back to back hit singles. As he gears up to release his sophomore album, we got the chance to chat with Joeboy about what fans can expect in the album, the title of his next single, his vocals being used in Bad Bunny's latest album Un Verano Sin Ti, his dreams of working with The Weeknd and Post Malone, what he looks for in a female and more.
Oumou Fofana: Are you in Nigeria right now?
Joeboy: No, I'm in Ghana. It's 12:41 P.M. over here.
Fofana: You were discovered by Mr. Eazi a few years ago and currently signed to his record label emPawa Africa. Can you tell us about that experience?
Joeboy: So, um, It's been really beautiful. I remember 2017 I was in university. I think I was in my second year of university. I was getting ready for my exams and I was just having like a pretty, pretty like normal day, and next thing I get a call from my friend that Mr. Eazi commented on my video. Normally like, we're friends, we prank each other a lot. So I thought it was like a prank or something and I was like, "Nah, this can't be real." Then I went ahead to check on social media and I saw Mr. Eazi's comment. While I'm thinking of what to say or what to tell him, in my DMs he sends me a message like, "Yo I love your music" and sends me his personal number that I should hit him up, like "Yo, call me. Let's work." And I think from there, things just like picked up and he introduced me to [E Kelly], one of my favorite Nigerian producers. From then I've been growing and it's been such a beautiful journey.
Fofana: What was the video that Mr. Eazi commented under?
Joeboy: I made a cover to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You." You know the song, it was really popular at the time. I shot the video with an iPhone 5. I posted the video on my Instagram and it was kinda like going viral. It was really the first official music content that I posted on my page and people really liked it. It was really booming. I kept tagging people and Mr. Eazi came across it. Uh, somebody actually sent it to Mr. Eazi, like a friend of mine, but he wasn't the only one she sent it to. She sent it to a bunch of other artists. Thankfully, Mr. Eazi saw the video, checked it out, liked it, said to reach out to him, and we started working together.
Fofana: Your second album Pon Deck has been announced. Do you have a release date?
Joeboy: Yeah. It was supposed to drop like towards the end of this year but for some reason we had to move it to the first quarter of next year. But I'm dropping a new single by January.
Fofana: You just released a new single called "Likkle Riddim" and it is dancehall inspired. Can we expect this type of vibe in your new album?
Joeboy: Yeah, I guess. But it won't be too dominant. The way I've been making music recently I just really wanted to try out new stuff and see how far my range could go and I'm really, really loving the experience so I decided to make a dancehall record. For the album I don't think it's going to be dominantly dancehall, but there'll be some influences here and there.
Fofana: What was the inspiration behind you wanting to go a different route with your music?
Joeboy: The kind of music I listen to influences the kind of music that I make. So at that point, while I'm creating, I'd listen to lots of dancehall artists like Mavado, Dexta Daps, Koffee, Buju Banton, and Sean Paul. I've been a big fan of Sean Paul since I was very, very young. So these are my influences for wanting to make a dancehall record. And thankfully, my other song "Sip (Alcohol)" is really big in like the dancehall scene.
Fofana: Are you done recording the album?
Joeboy: Yeah. I think where we are right now is because I keep recording new songs. I just keep adding and removing things. I'd be recording a lot of songs so I'm just going to chill and rearrange the songs and everything, but it's ready. I'd say it's 80% ready.
Fofana: Anything we can expect? Any features?
Joeboy: Yeah, there's a couple of international features and I just can't wait. It's such a beautiful album. Everybody featured on the album put in 100 percent. It's just, it's beautiful. I'm super excited about it and I can't wait. I really can't wait to just release the album. But, you know things have to be done properly. If it was left to me, I would have dropped it immediately.
Fofana: Afrobeats can be very cyclical. Artists would have their moments when they are super hot and then they slow down. Some people would call it a "one hit wonder." You have been very consistent with putting out hits or being featured on hits. From your singles “Beginning," "Baby," “Don’t Call Me Back,” “Sip (Alcohol),” to being featured on Ckay’s “Love Nwantiti" remix. You’ve been working. How do you stay so consistent?
Joeboy: I'd say it is because of where I'm from. I always try to remember where I'm from. Being an upcoming artist for me was really, really difficult because people didn't see me as a superstar. They didn't think I'd become a star and I've managed to prove a lot of people wrong. So anytime I'm making music, I'll always have that voice in the back of my mind saying "Look at where you came from, you just have to keep going." I intend to be here for a very long time. I'm not just here because I want to be famous or I want to be super wealthy. I'm doing this because this is what I love. Making music for me is always fun. It's just fun for me. It's not like a job. Like, just me drinking water, like second nature. That has really helped me stay consistent. I've been making music on and off since 2014. Music has always been like a hobby so even if I didn't blow up I'd still be making music.
Fofana: Do you believe that you’re one of the most underrated Afrobeats artist right now?
Joeboy: Um, I'd say I'm way ahead of my time. Yeah, I'm way ahead of my time. If people don't see it, they're gonna catch up. They're going to look back, maybe like a year from now and be like "Ouuu, this guy has been killing it from time."
Fofana: What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?
Joeboy: I really like nature. I love trees and animals and stuff. I love to talk to strangers a lot. I'd just talk to people that I don't know and just have a conversation with them. That really inspires me because there's so many people out there and you get to see things from different perspectives. So I talk to people, I play video games, I watch funny stuff and I spend time with family. That's how I get inspired.
Fofana: You were featured in Bad Bunny’s latest album. Your vocals from “Empty My Pockets” were sampled in his song “Enséñame a Bailar.” How did that happen? Did he ask for permission or was he, like, paying tribute?
Joeboy: He reached out after the song dropped. The sample wasn't cleared but my team is trying to sort it out.
Fofana: How did you feel about the though? Being featured on a Latin album that went No. 1 globally.
Joeboy: Uh, at some point I felt some type of way because, you know, he didn't do it the right way. It just like gives me some inspiration that my music is so out there that big global artists like Bad Bunny can actually notice it and do something with it. I have a bright future ahead of me.
Fofana: So, besides the new album, what's next for you? I know you did say that you're dropping, a new single soon.
Joeboy: Yeah, so I wanted to announce it on the new year, like the first day of January 2023. It's a love song. I have not dropped a love song in a bit. Like, my last three singles have not been love songs. The love songs people recognize Joeboy for, I am bringing that back. It's beautiful music. I don't want to give a title yet.
Fofana: Come on! Give it to us. This will be an exclusive.
Joeboy: Alright, I'll just do that. So the name of the song is "Body and Soul." It's really really beautiful. I can't wait for everyone to embrace the sound. That drops the month of January. After I drop the album, I'll be going on tour again. I'll be going on a worldwide tour in the UK, the US, everywhere. On the album I even featured two or three emerging artists that I feel deserve a chance to be noticed. That's what I'll be doing, just putting a lot of young artists on because somebody put me on so it's only right that I try to put other people on.
Fofana: Who do you dream of working with?
Joeboy: Definitely The Weeknd or Post Malone. Those are like two of my favorite artists, like ever. I just love the vulnerability in their music. They talk about their stories. It could be a bad story but the way they put it together makes you understand them more. They've been consistent. Their track record and catalog goes hard.
Fofana: This next question is from your fans. Are you single or taken?
Joeboy: Uhh, I'm taken.
Fofana: Ouuu, who is this mysterious woman?
Joeboy: I can't say. It's a relationship I'm really, really enjoying so I don't want to put it out there. You know social media is wild. I am keeping it private you know?
Fofana: I understand. So, what do you look for in a female?
Joeboy: Hmm, do I have a type? I think if you're funny. I like funny people. I have a weakness for people who dance. And, if you can sing? Oh, you got me.
Fofana: What is something about Joeboy that a lot of people don't know?
Joeboy: I'm an adrenaline junky. I love to do wild stuff. I went skydiving last year. I just love to do stuff that makes my heart pump. I can go to the jungle in the middle of the night. I did that in South America. I love video games a lot. I'm a gamer, like a proper gamer. When it comes to games, I am undefeated.
Check out Joeboy's latest single "Likkle Riddim" below: