This month we bring you a triple treat in the person of talented singer, songwriter and music producer, Maleek Berry.
He sat with us in an exclusive chat about his music, fashion choices and style. Take a look at what went down
— Please introduce yourself.
My name is Maleek Okunola Soyebi. I am originally from Ogun state, Ijebu. I’ve got some traces of the North as well, so I have a little bit of Hausa Tapa, just a quarter, just a pinch.
— What does music mean to you?
Yeah, music is my life man. I know it sounds cliché. Ever since I was a kid, I grew up watching Michael Jackson videos, Michael Jackson multi 25, that’s the thing that inspired me to go into music. Yeah, man, music has just always been in my household. My grandma, when I was younger, God rest her soul, used to always go to Ijebu on the weekends for Ileya, and then, so many musicians, like Barrister, used to come and play, so I have always had music in my blood, in my system, whether it was Fuji or Pop or RnB, or growing up in London, music is my life.
— How did you get to start working with Wizkid and Davido?
I got introduced to a then young boy who goes by the name of Davido. I got introduced to him by this girl who used to go to my university, who was his cousin and she was like, yeah she’s got this young guy and he’s just like me, he produces and he sings and all that. This was like 2010. We connected and we stayed connected since. I came to Nigeria in 2011 on a family holiday and that is how I got to spend about 2 weeks with Davido and his family. I got to spend time with Davido and got to meet so many other people. One day, Wiz randomly came to Davido’s studio. He had a studio on his Dad’s street couple of blocks from the house. I met Wiz the day he came to the studio and I played three beats for him and he jumped right on it and the rest is history.
— How do you describe your sound?
I would just describe my sound as – you know there’s a new word I have been throwing around – ‘Neo-Nigerian, Neo-African’ which is like the new wave, the new sound. It is just like a fusion of all of my influences, whether it is RnB, Pop or Hip Hop. It is like a cocktail sound of all of my influencers growing up.
— Why did you move from being behind the scenes to being on the mic as a musician?
You know, I wanted a new challenge for myself. I wanted to take things to the next level. I wanted to play a part. I think I saw what was happening in the African music scene ages ago and I saw, from ages ago, our music crossing over to the mainstream and I guess I decided I wanted to become a part of that story. I wanted to become one of the ones that take our sound to the world and colonizes the rest of the world with our sound. I think that is why I took that step. You know, crossing over into the artist realm hasn’t been easy but we thank God.
— What do you think about fashion?
I feel like what you wear is definitely a representation of who you are. Fashion is very important to me. You know, I spent years on Kanye’s University blog back in the day. So, you know Fashion is definitely important to me. I love it just as much as I love music.
— What is your advice for young artistes coming up in the game?
Okay, advice for young artistes coming up in the game will be, find your truth, and stick to it. That would make it easier to be yourself. Just be yourself, be original, you can look at you inspiration but take something from them and try and make it better. But always be original and always just stay true and study your craft. Oh, and learn an instrument, very important. if you want to last, learn an instrument.
Maleek Berry’s amazing talent has made us love him even more. He will give you your eye’s worth with his stylish looks in his Accelerate Photoshoot.
Written by Nkem Ikeh
Other posts on The Cover are: