Joshua Iniyezo, the Delta-born, Ajegunle-bred artiste also known as Solidstar, broke into the Nigerian entertainment scene with a chart bursting single, One in a Million. The fast rising act tells Ademola Olonilua about his challenges, his relationship with Tuface, whom he featured in his debut work and his love life
With your dreadlocks, one will think you are a reggae artiste. What is your style of music?
I do R‘n’B; I do highlife. But I’m more of an R‘n’B singer. The dreadlocks are a result of a style I used to do with it. After some time, I decided to change it. This is my new look.
After you released One in a Million a few years back, you disappeared. What happened?
After One in a Million, I had about three videos. They all enjoyed massive airplay. My new single is coming out very soon. We’re running a promo already.
Do you think you can do any song that will supersede One in a Million?
You need to hear some of my new songs and you will know that I’ll do better. I’m dropping a single soon.
What is your relationship with Tuface?
Tuface is like a father to me. He taught me some things I know now that I didn’t know in the music industry. He is always with me; anytime he is having a show in Nigeria he calls me to perform. He is everything to me. He shows me love, he is my mentor.
Can we say he is the reason you are in the limelight today?
I believe I’ll be successful without him. Why I featured him in the One in a Million track is because of his style and I have been looking up to him.
So, featuring him on that track was like a dream come true. Though the song is good, when Tuface heard it, he said it would do well with or without him in the track. Getting him for the collaboration was like a dream come true.
At 21, you have won an award as the Best Up-and-Coming Act at the Nigerian Music Video Awards. You are rising fast. Do you not think things are happening for you fast?
I think it is the grace of God. Where you are destined to be, nothing can change it. I’m destined to be great. Just give me five years from now and you will see greater things will happen to me.
What are your plans to further your education?
I want to drop my second album. After dropping the album, school is the next thing on my agenda.
When you dropped a video for you song, Confused, people criticised it, saying it was aimed at Ruggedman. Is that true?
I did that song based on a true life story. It happened to a friend of mine. He called me and told me he caught his best friend and his girlfriend in his bed. He asked me for advice and I told him I had none, but I would love to write a song about his situation and he told me to go ahead. That was how I got the song. I didn’t write the song to diss anybody.
What were the challenges you faced trying to get into the Nigerian music industry?
I faced a lot of challenges. There was a time I had to hawk pure water on the street just to record a song. Some friends used to make jest of me and tell me I could not make it as a musician. There were times I would be about to perform on stage and the organisers would get me off stage. I thank God now though.
Were your parents not against you doing music at the expense of your education?
The only person that had problems with it was my father. My mother gave me all the support she could render. She knows I can sing and I have the potential. My father said he wanted me to go to school first or learn a trade before I did music, but I told him it was music I wanted to do. There was a time I hardly went home. I stayed out for about a week or two before going home because my father was always giving me problem. I was always in the studio recording.
What was growing up in Ajegunle like for you?
It is a very wonderful and nice place for someone to grow up. You cannot grow up in Ajegunle and be cheated by anybody. It was fun. I can be bold anywhere I go to. It was rough and tough, but for me to come out successfully, I thank God.
How are you coping with your fame?
I like it, but I miss a lot of things. I cannot walk on the street the way I used to. I cannot go to the usual joints I used to go. I do not go to play football on the street even if I want to. I have to go to a private field to play.
How about your old friends? Do you still keep in touch or you have dumped them for new ones?
They do come to see me and, at times, I go to see them in Ajegunle. We hang out. I was born in Ajegunle, my friends are there, everything started there. Most of my friends are there. The new friends I have stay in Festac Town, Lagos, but I go to see my friends at Ajegunle. We play together, I’m still with them.
You started music in the church. Why did you go into secular music?
You have to study and understand the music industry as an artiste. You have to know what kind of music will move in the industry, what people want and will accept. When I looked at all that, I told myself that though I could do gospel, let me give the people what I feel they like and see if it will be accepted. I tried it and it was accepted. When I saw it was accepted, I decided to do this.
You were into music, but it took you a while to embrace it professionally. Why?
I was with Achievers Music. They were working on me, my voice, my lyrics and my rhymes. I came out from Ajegunle and the kind of music I did was the type they do in Ajegunle: the Konto, Swo kinds of music. They changed and groomed me from the Joshua in Ajegunle to the Joshua in Festac.
How is your girlfriend coping with your stardom?
I’m still searching. I don’t have a girlfriend though there is this girl I’m asking out.
How are you coping with the female fans?
Fans want to be with me. Some want to stay with me all day, both male and female. I’ve a way of handling that, the female thing I mean. Some of them want friendship, some want something else. I’ve a way of handling that. I’ve somebody that handles them for me.
Today, we see Nigerian stars collaborating with foreign stars. Do you see yourself getting there soon?
That is my dream. I’d love to do a song with Akon. I’m working on it and by God’s grace, next year it will happen.