Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid was 19-years-old when he sang his first hit song ‘If You See Me Drive By, Holler At Your Boy’, about a decade ago.
Now 31, fatherhood has transformed him as he sees himself first as a father before anything else.
In his recent documentary dubbed, “A Superstar At 10”, which chronicles his decade-long existence as a superstar, the father of three boys; Boluwatife (10), Ayodeji (5) and Zion (4) has this to say about fatherhood:
“Fatherhood means everything to me. Before, I used to see myself as Wizkid the musician, but after I had my kids, I now see myself as a father before everything else; that is who I am. I would put everything before my kids; I would stop the world if I could for my kids. That is the kind of father that I am. They mean everything to me, my heart and soul.
“The most important thing to me is family; I am a big, big family guy. My son is my best friend; he calls me every day and we have the craziest conversations. He is nine years old now. It is very important for me to keep the family; that is one thing that my parents instilled in me to understand that there is nothing more important to me,” he said passionately.
The documentary, which is also in partnership with YouTube and is released on YouTube, captures his life from his childhood to his globally acclaimed album, Made in Lagos. It also captures his mentors and colleagues in the industry, including Banky W, Basketmouth, Terri, Ali Baba, Anthony Joshua and Femi Kuti.
He also recalls in the documentary that his life as a superstar was heavily impacted by his family and experiences while growing up with them, especially with regards to religion.
“I was born in a place called Alabi; it was amazing for me. Sometimes, I still have flashbacks. My house was like a fun house; it is why I have so many stories. I was the last child of the family. I wasn’t a spoiled last baby, but I got my way sometimes. Growing up in a spiritual home in Lagos really opened my mind; my mum is Christian while my Dad is Muslim. I used to go to both and that really just opened my mind to see that the biggest religion in life is actually love; I eat, preach and sleep it.”
Speaking about his music and style, Wizkid said: “I am a musician musician; you get what I mean? I don’t put out music until it is good enough for me. From my first album, I have always wanted to show people that I can make different types of sounds. If you listen to my first album, you would see songs like Joy, which is a reggae song. You would see Don’t Dull, which is Naija pop, you would see Tease Me, which is a dancehall record, and you have Love My Baby, which is a love song. Every time I make my album, I always like to bring in a little bit of everything that I can make into it. And that is why I always try to keep evolving as a musician.”
According to Banky W, the man that brought Wizkid to limelight about Wizkid’s work ethics: “Wiz for a long time in his life wasn’t fortunate enough to afford to pay for studio time. But he was a studio rat and he would just go to any studio where they would let him hang out. And he would hang out all day and just hope and pray that they would let him, at the end of the day, to just record for 15 minutes. So, all day long, he would be working on hooks and melodies and coming up with things, in case he was given an opportunity to jump on the mic for a few minutes. So, that became his process and how he is now one of the fastest songwriters that I have ever encountered in my life. He would just sit and listen to the music and start freestyling a melody that would become a song that the whole world would want to sing.”
“For me, that is where the whole name Wiz comes from and it’s appropriate. It is literally genius level creation at the spur of the moment. For me, I take my time, but he has the ability to do it quickly. I think that says something to people; no matter where you are, develop yourself to get so good that when you are given an opportunity you would make it big.”
Wizkid confirms this, saying, “If it had to do with music, you would find me there, even where I wasn’t invited.”
He has this to say about his mentor; Banky W: “for his understanding of my vision and taking me under his wings like a brother. Me getting signed to Banky W changed my life.”
From being a studio rat, Wizkid has metamorphosed into Starboy the global superstar and label CEO, as he explains about his music, vision and drive.
“Lagos is what defines me; that is who I am. Everything that defines me is based on what I learned growing up here. I don’t joke with my name; Wizkid is a brand. It is one of the biggest brands ever. Wizkid is not just Wizkid; you are talking about Lagos and Africa. Making music doesn’t mean I have to make what is local and popping right now. I am an artiste born and raised in Lagos and I can make amazing music.”