Listen to Oxlade’s songs, and you’re on a ride through emotions, whether he’s singing about love or his own experiences – it’s a journey. We had a chat with him, throwing a lot of questions his way, and here’s the thing. Surprisingly, he not only answered each one but painted a vivid perspective, allowing us to uncover the depth of his person as far as our curiosity was concerned. Here’s how it went :
When you step out of the studio or off the stage, who’s Oxlade?
Oxlade: Outside the music scene, Oxlade is all about family. He’s your easygoing guy next door—the type who plays games with the bro’s, and would go to the beach to catch a vibe, you know? Balancing between superstar life and just being myself is important. Even with the challenge of getting recognized, I still do random things. I’m a big fan of resorts, traveling, and learning new things.
We know your journey into music began in university but was there a specific moment or realization that made you say, “Yes, it’s music for me”?
Oxlade: Actually, my journey into music began a lot earlier. I wasn’t really singing in university, I was rapping and dancing for the most part. My music started in the church from my childhood, I lost my mum when I was three and I moved to my Grandma’s – see, her and husband were very strong Christians ; this meant singing during morning devotions and it became a routine, a family legacy if you may. But, the moment I knew I was going to sing, was at a birthday party, My grandma, saw me singing at a party and felt something special. She wanted me to serve God through music. After university, I did other jobs, I realized nothing felt right except music. So, I’d say, I found music, music found me, and then I found myself.
Before signing with a label, how did you navigate the music industry and how different has it been, from signing with one?
Oxlade: The label I signed with isn’t just a label; it’s more like a family business. It started with one of my big brothers who believed in my talent. He used to be my boss, but it evolved into a family connection. From the beginning, it’s been me and my brothers – OjahBee, Naya, Giovanni, Chizo – and others who believed in my dreams and are still part of my team since the label picked me up. The family mindset is crucial to me, so I even have people from my secondary school on my team. That’s why being indie or signed doesn’t feel different to me. I’m still surrounded by people who understand my vision and believe in me.
Looking back, what’s a moment or accomplishment that you feel is underrated or not talked about enough, but means a lot to you?
Oxlade: I don’t think it can be underrated but making it out of the streets under the circumstances I faced is a tremendous blessing. Being Oxlade, surrounded by a fantastic team, is a significant achievement. Additionally, having one of the top 10 most-streamed afro beats songs of all time is something I can’t downplay. While many artists contribute to the sound, having my record up there means a lot. On a personal level, there was a time I cringed at my voice, but through my music, I found self-love, and that’s something I can’t downplay either.
Can you give us a peek into your essentials—things you can’t live without?
Oxlade: I should say my phone for obvious reasons; I have to keep up with opportunities, but I absolutely can live without it. I’m trying my best to change that. As for things I can’t live without, I’d say my bros; there’s never a day I don’t talk to them, water, my shades, and my steeze (enthused) Even when I’m at home, I’m always so fly, I don’t think there’s a way to separate me from my steeze.
If you could hop on a plane tomorrow, no restrictions, where’s the first place you would want to visit, and why?
Oxlade: Anywhere the money is, that’s where I would be (laughs). God has blessed us enough to tour the world, so I’ve had quite the adventure. I don’t really have a destination in mind anymore so, whoever pays the highest would see me without restrictions (chuckles).
If your journey didn’t lead you to music, what alternative path or profession do you think you’d be pursuing right now?
Oxlade: If I wasn’t doing music, I’d be dancing or acting right now, but I just know I’ll still do the music (bursts into laughter). It’s kind of sad, I know, but my whole life has been in entertainment. I was the social prefect in high school, and honestly, it sounds cliché, but I always knew I’d be a star. I have receipts for it, but I’d either still be in entertainment or I’d play football.
What’s your ultimate career milestone that you haven’t achieved yet, but you’re working toward?
Oxlade: My milestone is to become one of the biggest Afrobeat artists to ever do it, and while it sounds gigantic & audacious, shout out to Burna, Davido, and Wizkid. I aim to create my legacy, not necessarily to outdo them, but they’ve shown that it’s possible for me to break into this space too. I want to look into the future and say I’m him in my own space.
Imagine a day entirely for yourself, no work, no responsibilities. How would you spend that day?
Oxlade: I’d be at a resort, clearing my head, it’s a really fast life I’m living because music entails a lot of spontaneity so wherever I can grab serenity – I go for it.
Do you have a collaboration or a particular moment working with another artist that you hold dear in your career?
Oxlade: I always give credit to every person I’ve featured; each collaboration holds significance for me. From Camila Cabello and Dave to those not yet released like Sarkodie on my forthcoming album, Mayorkun, Moelogo – I hold them dearly. And then there’s the person who made me do music, Wande Coal. These songs, they’re close to my heart.
Congratulations on the 2023 Billboard Music Award nomination! How are you feeling about it, and what does this recognition mean to you?
Oxlade: It’s special; I feel special, like the world sees the effort I’m putting in. By God’s Grace, Inshallah, and by the forces guiding our affairs too, I hope to top the charts. It’s a target, even though it’s not just about the numbers but the impact. We’ll see, fingers crossed
Your sound is distinctive and unique. How did you find that sweet spot in your musical style?
Oxlade: I recognized early on that I have something worth sharing that the next person doesn’t, and that’s what I ran with. It’s the most powerful thing you have as a person—nobody can be me in this world, and vice versa. I can’t be someone else. I recognized that my identity is my X factor.
With the recent release of’Katigori/Piano’ and the success of your EPs ‘Oxygene’ and ‘Eclipse,’ how do you see it fitting into the narrative of your musical journey explored in your previous projects?
Oxlade: My releases and projects are very intentional—it’s like tunnel vision, you know? A marathon, not a sprint. It’s part of the Oxlade journey. Even when I used to feel a certain way about song performance, it’s part of a bigger picture, and every song serves its purpose.
Do you have a personal philosophy or mantra that guides your choices and actions?
Oxlade: Do good and live freely—in my opinion, it’s the only philosophy that should matter to man. Be your biggest fan and your biggest critic. Be careful, watch your back and your front. Hold your brothers down, love the people who love you. Negativity takes you nowhere
If you had to choose a theme song for your life right now, what would it be, and why does it resonate with you at this moment?
Oxlade: There’s a song by Ayox, ‘Walking Dead,’ and then there’s ‘Tables Turn’ by myself. ‘Walking Dead’ talks about getting your flowers when you’re alive, the struggles we face in the industry, the complexities. It’s about how we forget to give people accolades, and you know these accolades help us creatives find love in our craft. Then ‘Tables Turn,’ it’s a literal story of my life, about how everything worked in my favor—the highs and the lows – they’re a part of my story, and they make it even better. Check them out; great songs
Do you have a personal philosophy or mantra that guides your choices and actions? Oxlade: Do good and live freely—in my opinion, it’s the only philosophy that should matter to man. Be your biggest fan and your biggest critic. Be careful, watch your back and your front. Hold your brothers down, love the people who love you. Negativity takes you nowhere
Any advice you’d like to share with aspiring musicians, especially those thinking about pursuing a career in the music industry?
Oxlade: Honestly, live by the mantra.
Your fans adore you, but is there a misconception or assumption about you that you’d like to clarify or set straight?
Oxlade: My fans love and adore me; they understand me. I’ve come to realize not everyone will, and misconceptions are part of the art. Sometimes, you put out a post, and people don’t get it. There’s an uproar, but it’s all good because my fans, or as I prefer to call them, my fan-mily, they get it regardless. I say fan-mily because it takes a lot to believe in someone and brag about the person. So yeah, I think misconceptions are a matter of perspectives, and that’s alright. My fan-mily—they get me.
If you could go back, is there anything you’d do differently?
Oxlade: Honestly, no. I feel like my lessons are a part of my growth as a person. But if I had to pick, I’d say it would be trusting the wrong people and loving the wrong people. Even with that, it’s like my story was written by God, so if it happened, I don’t regret it. If I made a mistake, I learned from it. For me, it’s a little sequence of events that contributes to making me who I should be. Without those, I wouldn’t be here or even having this interview (laughs)
If you could relive any moment in your career, just for the experience, which one would it be and why?Oxlade: I’d say the first time my Grandma called me Oxlade, it’s so special. It’s the greatest validation I could ever get, her realizing she raised a star. That’s something I’ll play back. She’s the reason I started hustling. She retired from raising kids and then had to raise myself and my brother, you know? Her acknowledging me as Oxlade to see my reaction, she still calls me by my name, but it hits different! Also, all my wins; performing at the O2, Paris, touring the world as I’m still doing—I’ll relive these moments (chuckles), you don’t need to worry
Tattoos often tell stories. Can you share the sentiments behind any of yours?
Oxlade: I have three palm tree tattoos, and it’s my official image because you could cut a palm tree severally, take out the leaves, the fruit, whatever, but as long as you never take out the root, it’ll grow again. That’s my real life—whatever life throws, the hurdles, trials, and tribulations, even if I’m at the lowest, as long as I’m not dead, I’ll bounce back. As long as there’s life, there’s hope. Then the microphone tattoo—see, that’s my best friend, one of the few genuine cares. I wouldn’t have a voice without it; it amplifies my voice. And the frame of my mum, I don’t need to explain that—duh, and I have my grandma’s face, also self-explanatory
Looking into the future, any exciting plans or projects you can give your fans a sneak peek into?
Oxlade: I’ve been promoting the album ‘Oxlade from Africa’ even before it dropped. People know me for that; it’s been intentional, pushing it since my spike in the market. But yeah, tell a friend to tell a friend; gather everyone because that drops in February 2024, and I hope you’re ready. Even the people who don’t like me, I’d like to see them try to criticize what’s arguably one of the hardest debut albums to come out of Afrobeat. Fingers crossed, we’ll see. And my fans, be ready to download. My first official world tour ‘Oxlade from Africa’ is coming soon. I have bare collaborations, crazy songs, and remixes coming even this December. I have Olivetheboy’s ‘Goodsin’, Katigori & Piano already dropped. Just really exciting music and collaborations I can’t even mention, but you know Oxlade keeps surprising everyone, and people keep asking how. This is the season; there’s a lot of ‘hows’ coming.