Olamilekan Moshood Agbeleshe, popularly known as Laycon, came into limelight when he became the winner of the Big Brother Naija Season 5 Lockdown edition, which took place last year. With his latest album, titled ‘Shall We Begin’ which is a talk of the town, the afro rap star says he is just getting started. In this exclusive Interview with IFEOMA ONONYE, Laycon explains why he does not see himself as a fashionable person. He also opens up on the latest things he has been up to and why he is still single and not searching
You were in Ghana recently. How was your trip?
The reception there was all positive. It was a wonderful experience and I am happy that I went to visit. I would always see at the back end that the fans from Ghana are actually high but going there to see and experience it was a whole other thing. So, for me, it was very important that I went to Ghana. Now that I’m back to Nigeria, I will still boost my new album. My next stop will be Liberia.
You have just released your album. What has been the reception so far?
It has been really great. The album already has 20 million streams in the first three weeks that it came out and that’s massive! That is on digital platforms that you can measure. When you go to the streets and radio and TV stations playing the music and the video, it’s been wonderful. Obviously, some people may have their reservations about how they feel about the album but I’ve seen people, who have come out to say this album is actually dope and the songs are so good. So, it’s a positive thing for me because I’m enjoying the fact that now people are beginning to see the beauty that went into the work.
What inspired the theme of your album?
The theme of my new album is ‘Shall We Begin’. I put out ‘Who is Laycon’ in 2020 and now that we know who ‘Laycon’ is, I’m now saying, ‘shall we begin the music journey’? The album is 12 tracks and there was a single that said ‘And So She Spoke’ and it ended with another track that said: ‘And So They Spoke”,
What is the story behind all of that? Are you trying to tell us a story?
‘And So She Spoke’ is a journey and for every important journey, you need blessing from the most important person or people in your life and for me, that was my mum. So, ‘She Spoke’, means she prayed for me. It was essential that she started the journey with me and then after the whole experience, it was now important for me to allow the fans speak through me. So, for everybody who supports me, and enjoys my music , who loves me, if they are going to pray for me and encourage me or say anything to me, what would they say? So, I thought about it and put it in a song and called it, ‘And So They Spoke’ but figuratively.
How do you intend to continue to sustain the success of this album?
Honestly, for me, it’s all about work, work, work!
That is why I’m putting out music and making sure people are listening to the album and we put out a concert for it as well.
Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I do.
Any time you sit down to write a song, what inspires the lyrics?
I write from my experiences. It doesn’t have to be my own first hand experiences; it could be that of my friend or could be that of something that I saw but I have a way to make sure that I say it in a very relatable way. I don’t try to confuse my audience or try to impress them to the extent that they will not get the message. So, when I put my words together, and put in a song, I do it to let people listen to it, find themselves in the song and then interpret it with their own experience. So, they can relate with what I’m saying but from their own perspective. Which is why you see a lot of people add different meanings to one thing that I say but still attach it to a particular experience. I’m intentional about introducing dialogue in my music.
Where you are right now, is that where you thought you will be?
I think about this a lot. It is not where I want to be. It is not where I know I’m going to be but it is a big start; it is a huge start. So, when I say ‘Shall We Begin’, we have started already but we are just scratching the surface. You guys have not seen anything yet.
You do more of raps in your songs. Is that viable here in Nigeria?
My album is a worldwide album. My genre is Afro-rap. So, I rap. But then, I fuse my rap with other genres. If you listen to ‘Shall We Begin’ album, you will see a lot of highlife, afro-pop and there is also real rap. So, there are different sounds and there are different genres that I fused into one to create a body of work to make sure that people will listen to the essence, the core of music and still be able to relate with it and enjoy the music. It is perceived that when you are a rapper, you are supposed to put these complicated words together but I don’t conform to that. I just create music that is wonderful, beautiful and expresses my experience, so people can relate with it and they enjoy it. The quality in my music is that when you are not ‘vibing’ to the lyrics, you are ‘vibing’ to the song, the melody itself. So, I don’t conform to whatever they say about rap. I’m doing afro-rap and people are enjoying it.
There was a Laycon before Big Brother Naija show. Was this your dream before the reality show?
Yes, it’s part of the process. This is part of the process to me. I’m not there yet. I’ve always wanted to be successful. I didn’t see it coming the way it did but now that it has happened this way, at the end of it all, I want to do things that will make me and my music bigger than where it is now but I’m still saying that this is a wonderful space to be and to grow from. So, for me, this is a stage and I’m enjoying the stage.
You did your album concert recently. What is it like being on stage and doing your thing?
The fact is that there haven’t been a lot of opportunities to be on stage because of Covid-19 but whenever I’m stage, I guarantee you to that you will have one of the best performances. I
watched you during Big Brother Lockdown edition and one of the things that struck me about you was your intellectual ability. Is music really the only thing you would like to do with the wealth of knowledge you seem to have up your sleeves or do you have other things you do outside music?
Yea, I’m intelligent. Yes, I’m smart but then, all these things were not the reason why I went into that show. Music made me go on Big Brother Naija reality show. All these things people saw that I was during the show; I learnt them to facilitate one thing, music. I had to drill myself to learn a whole of things not because I felt like it. When I was a kid, I always wanted to learn things but I look at it in this angle; how is this going to help my music? So, for every action I’ve taken, it was always going to be music. So, regardless of how smart I think I am or people think I am, it will always be about music. Every move I make is always about my music. Obviously, there are different things I’m doing outside music; very soon, people will start seeing them. I don’t like talking about things I’m still working on. I like it more when people see the actual work. Let the deeds speak for themselves.
What are the biggest lessons you learnt after Big Brother show?
Yeah, the things I learnt and still I’m learning after Big Brother has put me in the position to want to push bigger and get bigger and these are the things that pertain to my music.
How do you unwind?
Whenever I can, I go out with my friends. I stay in my house, and I read books to actually relax. I play games. I hang out with my friends and then music plays a part in my relaxing and unwinding too. I listen to music a lot. But then, there is really never a time when I’m not working.
Do you have a girlfriend?
No, I do not have one. I’m single. There a lot of ladies.
Even from your fan base, the Icons tripping for you. So, why haven’t you picked one?
Even the non-Icons are tripping for me but that is not my focus at the moment. So, are you searching?
No, I’m not searching. I will rather say I want to be found. Who are the closest housemates you still hang out with after the show? I’m cool with everybody. It’s all love from me to them. Everybody has been busy. So, you don’t even have time to say you want to visit because each person is busy right now, building their brands.
With what happened between you and Erica during the show, are you reconciled with her now?
I’m not going to answer that question. No comment.
How is your reality show, ‘I am Laycon’ with Showmax going?
It’s also airing now on African Magic. It broke record on Showmax and its doing well on other TV stations. So, it’s really doing well.
What gave you that flare to go on a reality show exclusively about you?
It was a show about myself. So, it was more fun for me than anything else. It gives people the opportunity to see how you manage this growth and I wanted people to experience a whole lot of it.
That was why I agreed to do the show. Naturally, I’m not the type that would want to do a reality show at that point but I felt it’s good for people to experience that. Very soon, we will come to an agreement and season two will kick off. It will have more content and more experience put to the work.
What informs your fashion style?
I’m not a fashionable person really. I wear things that I feel comfortable in but I’m more particular about my shoes than the rest. I’ve stylists, who do the rest for me. But for every shoe that I wear, I’m particular about it. I love shades a lot too. I have lots of them.