Nigerian born R&B artist Aminu takes his cues from classic greats like Marvin Gaye, adding his own style drawn from US, UK and Nigerian musical elements. With three videos under his belt, Aminu talks business, playing Dubai, and life lessons as he continues to carve out his musical niche.
You’re an R&B artist and your influences are drawn from Nigerian, English and United States music. What do you see as the differences in R&B music styles of those countries?
I think there’s a major shift going on. There are so many brilliant artists coming from all over the world but every country or region of music has its own distinctive character. It’s just like a culture, so yes, the music cultures are all very different but somewhere everyone finds a meeting point that kind of makes them not be so far from one another.
You’ve made three videos thus far—Can’t Sleep, Shake U, and Love U. What have you learned along the way about creating and producing a video for your songs?
I’ve learnt a lot over the years shooting all those videos! From my very first one I believe I’ve come a long way. I come from a theatre school background, so I think its only natural that I want to direct videos in future. I just think I have a different way of seeing things and I’m able to create scenarios. It is just about writing a good script.
Have your degrees in Business Management helped you with managing your career? Has it had any influence on your approach to music?
Yes, absolutely! Completing my MA in Business Management has definitely given me the courage to take control of my affairs and build a team of professional individuals to assist in keeping everything afloat when it comes to my music or any other business, as a matter of fact.
The music your write has a fun party side and a smooth romantic side. Is one or the other easier for you to create?
I love to party but not hard. I also have a fun romantic side, yes! I always find that it is so much easier to discuss some issues in life if you share them in a playful manner.
I love all those artists and a whole lot more, but the way I feel my music is unique is due to the fact that I’m a Nigerian. So no matter what influences me, there’s a part of me that likes to showcase the exotic way of living that some of us are used to. Whether it’s climate, food or language. So many things! I have the international and African touch. Being a vocalist allows me to explore many avenues and I am not complaining.
You’ve played to live audiences throughout the UK as well as in Dubai. Is there a difference in the audience reaction and if so, how do you address that when you play live?
Generally I feel that I get the same reaction wherever I go, which is people smile when I perform most of the time. I think its because I smile a lot too! As performers we need to realise we control the audience. It’s a powerful tool we have in our hands but we don’t realise it.
Tell me about the best and the worst show you’ve ever played.
Best gig has to be playing Jazz as a 3 piece with an awesome pianist and bassist at the iconic 7 star hotel in Dubai, Burj Al Arab. It was several months of great food, great people, great contacts and so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Worse gig! Why are you making me do this?! I won’t mention where but I missed my brother’s wedding to rehearse for this gig and even after that sacrifice I never even got an apology! Oh well, life goes on!
What is the most important thing you want people to know about you, as a person, that comes through in your music?
I want people to be patient and support me so I can bring out more music that’s hidden away. There’s a lot more good stuff to come out from me and I want my fans to be a bit patient and wait for more.
As you move along in your career, what is the best piece of music business advice you’ve been given, or learned?
Always see the glass half full not half empty! Those words have changed my whole life!