YOKEE (3)

Yokee Gilla

(1)    What’s your Name?

Ans: My name is Odeleye Ayokunle Ibukun-Oluwa, but everybody calls me Yokee. It was not hard in deciding on a stage name (YokeeGilla) when this music business or showbiz as people call it, became serious for me.

(2)    For those hearing of you for the first time, how would you describe yourself as an artist?

Ans: Well, that’s a bit tricky. I am me. I don’t try to copy anybody or follow any style. I just do my thing and try to find my sound. Music has really changed me in the last few years and bit by bit, I have learn so much. I am still willing to learn more, so I would say YokeeGilla is new in the game, but he’s focused and he wants to create his own style in the music business and the entertainment industry as a whole.

YokeeGilla raps, sings, dances and goes with the flow. Watch out for me though. (laughs) I have a lot of material coming through and I hope the fans will embrace my music and I, as a person, with love. Yeah, that’s it. I hope I answered your question.

(3)    How long have you been involved in making Music?

Ans: Now, that’s easy. (laughs) I started making music in 2008, even though I started writing songs in 2006. That means this is the sixth year I have been involved in music officially.

(4)    How did you get into Music? And what inspired you to take music seriously?

Ans: I have always been into music since my teenage years, from singing funny nursery rhymes with my Aunty (shout out to Aunty Tope) on holidays in Ibadan, to forming a gospel group in secondary school (Lagos State Civil Service Model College Igbogbo), where we always performed “Special Numbers” on Sundays in front of the whole school. Then we were just having fun.

The university days came calling and my voice became really deep and then I switched to dancing professionally, because I felt I couldn’t sing again, or like I used to. I later became the leader of my fellowship’s dance group (Harvesters Fellowship) before hanging my dancing shoes in 2005.

In 2006, I used to stop by a joint (Bamboo Box) in the University of Lagos to listen to some of my friends freestyle and diss each other from time to time. Famous names were T-Rex, Teeto C mos, El dee, Dr Sid, Obanya, Dizzu Deff (ABD) amongst others. Then I would go to my room and write my own songs and stuff.

One day, after we had graduated from school, I heard   D’banj’s “Mo Gbona feli feli” and just like that, I made up my mind that I was going to face this music hustle head on. That was the turning point.

My mixtape, titled Bamboo Box Mixtape (BBM), drops before the end of the year.

(5)    Where do you get Inspiration for your Music?

Ans: Aaarrrgghhh, another tricky one (chuckles). Ok, I just listen to the beat at first, then I use people and objects around me, or trending issues around the same time I’m listening to the beat. So basically, I freestyle at first, when listening to beats, and then I start writing afterwards. Yeah, that’s it.  

(6)    Are you signed to a record label? 

Ans: Yes o, finally. I just got signed to a new record label named Oxxen Music Gurus and Entertainment Network. When you hear a sexy voice saying “Oh my God, it’s OMG baby” yeah, that’s us. The team comprises of Mr Femi Nuga, Rado, Drummerboi, and the sweet Zoura. Shout out to the whole OMG crew. Trust me, not trying to be cocky or anything like that, but Naija no ready for wetin dey come.

(7)    What is life like as an UpComing Artist?

Ans: My brother, e no easy o. I mean, I just told you that I have been doing this for 6 years. Competition is high now and we also have to deal with a lot of mediocrity in the industry, but eventually, consistency will conquer at the end of the day. Free shows, little or no airplay, packaging, shooting videos amongst many other issues are the problems we face daily, but things get better eventually with a lot of persistence.

(8)    Have you done an album yet? If no, have you got any project you’re working on at the moment?

Ans: Yes, my album is almost done. That will be dropping in 2015 though. This year, OMG gave us a couple of projects to work on and I will only mention the latest project we just finished.

It’s titled the EKO PROJECT – CITY OF OPPORTUNITIES. It’s an EP where we brushed on a couple of issues concerning Lagos, its leaders, people, culture and lifestyle. It was an eye opener for me because I discovered a lot of things about myself and about teamwork.

In a nutshell, “The EKO PROJECT” and “The BAMBOO BOX MIXTAPE” drops this year. In 2015, my singles and my album would follow suit.

(9)    What is it about you that sets you apart from other artists?

Ans: Hmmm, how do I explain this? When I started making tracks, some people said I sounded like M.I, some said like DaGrin, but eventually, after doing a lot of songs, people started saying “Oh, that’s Yokee”.

I think it all depends on your consistency and identifying your own God-given style and flow. Once you can achieve those two, the rest will be in the Almighty God’s hands to give you the platform to showcase what you have prepared over time.

My voice, my flow, my slangs and my laughter makes you quickly set me apart, you know, my own lane.

(10)  What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Ans: I get pass one highlight o. (laughs). In 2008, “Speak English” had the highest number of plays that year in the Cool FM “Play or Stop” programme, hosted by Manny.

I also had to go through a rigorous audition to perform at Felabration (BUY AFRICA), where I was paired with the crowd favorite at the last stage. I murdered him though (literally speaking, abeg o). We both got picked eventually. The performance was mind blowing also.


My first Industry Nite performance, Enigma Variety Nite performance (we brought down the building), signing and embarking on mind blowing projects with OMG amongst many others are my major highlights in my career.

(11)  If you had to work with one person in the industry,     who would it be and why?

Ans: Shina Peters. I hope he has not retired yet. He’s my role model. His music is bliss and his style is just top notch. I had the privilege of seeing some of his rehearsals when I was young. Great man. I cannot wait to do a song with him.

(12)  Besides music, what other activities do you participate in?

Ans: I am a business man and I am into the sports business. Anything that has to do with “sports” that rakes in money, I will be very much interested.

(13)  Name 3 songs that we would expect to find on your iPod or Music Player

Ans:

Caro – Wizkid featuring LAX

Juicy – Notorious BIG

Eko ile – OMG ALL STARS featuring Femi Nuga, yours truly, Zoura and Rado.

(14)  What are your biggest challenges?

Ans: Getting my songs out there for the world to listen.

(15)  Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Ans: Getting closer to God and staying happy always. Three Albums (at least) under my belt, being a wonderful husband and father to my future wife and kids, a lot of performances, owning a foundation (for the less privileged but talented youths), owning my football academy and bagging the world’s greatest award in music, THE GRAMMYS.

(16)  What is your opinion of the current state of Nigerian music?

Ans: We have too many talented artistes and that’s why we are the best in Africa. We are not there yet though. Our music needs to be digitalized and piracy has to die, so that we artistes, can reap all the hard work we put into the products we deliver to the public, for their maximum enjoyment. Bottom line, the music is on point, but we need to get paid. You get me?

(17)   Any plans to expand across Africa and the world?

Ans: Oh yes, I would be very stupid if I’m not planning to take over the universe. I did a lot of covers in my mixtape, and then I am planning to feature a couple of international brands. We’ll get there eventually. Right now, it’s about showing Nigerians what I have got.

(18) What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?

Ans: The competition is one of the greatest things about working in the music industry. If I want to change anything, it would be that I had started earlier enough.

 

(19) Throughout your career so far, what’s the best advice that someone has given you? And what advice would you give to fellow UpComing artists? 

Ans: Best advice would be “Never to look down on anybody, even if he/she is a studio rat. They all add up to your success”. Not forgetting my advice to my fellow upcoming artistes “whatever u BELIEVE in, with commitment and hard work, it will be achieved”

(20)What do you think about what the “Alaba Hits” company is doing for all the upcoming artists, promoting their music?

Ans: I think it is an amazing concept and a unique platform, especially for artistes who have good quality music but have no clue on how to promote the songs out there. God bless “Alaba hits” for this awesome idea.

(21) And last but not least, where can your fans get your music?

Ans: Right now, I have only released a couple of songs on my FB (YokeeGilla) and Twitter pages (@YokeeGilla), but in a couple of weeks, I will be dropping more songs on spinlet, itunes, many blogs and music websites. I pray the radio stations get to play them too. Time will tell. Thank you very much and God bless “ALABA HITS”.

Sounds Like: DA’ GRIN, MI Abaga, JESSE JAGZ, Drake, Wale

Label: Oxxen Music Gurus

Manager: Adewumi Adeola

Band Members: Femi Nuga, Sammy, Ob, Dizzu def
Artist Name: Odeleye Ayokunle (YokeeGilla)
Home Page : http://www.reverbnation.com/yokeegilla
Active Since: 01/07
Genres: Hip Hop / Afro pop / Rap
Location: Lagos, NG
Manager: Adewumi Adeola

Born on the 25th of November, 1982 in Lagos, he is the first of two boys. Ayokunle attended Oxford schools, Chrisland, ABC Nurseryland and Niger pre-age for his primary education, Modern age, Government College Ibadan, and Lagos State Civil Service Model College (1999) for his Secondary education, and University of Lagos (2006) where he studied Accounting for his tertiary education. He started singing in his secondary school days in Model College and was active in his church’s dancing group where he held sway. He continued dancing in Unilag and was an assistant leader in Harvesters Fellowship dance group. In his final year, he discovered a love for rapping and formed a group (GILLA) with DIZZU DEF and LAO. He served in Ogun state where he met with Ob. Then GILLA officially took off and it was until 2009 where he met FEMI NUGA and SAMI (OUTTATOWN) and they came together to create a new kinda flow to the music industry. SPEAK ENGLISH, POP CHAMPAGNE (REMIX), PRAISE GOD, GILLA PARTY, INITIAL GRA-GRA (NAIJA MIX), U TOO FINE are amongst the songs he has worked on. Watch out for this one in the coming years. He also has an undying love for sports, especially soccer, and he is currently working as an executive assistant to the CEO of SPORTVISION, a leading sports and media outfit in Nigeria. OUTTATOWN is in the building people.

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