Naija Underground Sounds-Jozy Za Finest

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Tell us about yourself and how did the whole dream start up?

My name is Akoh Josiah, a Rapper with the Stage-Name, "Jossy". Igala by tribe from Ibaji LGA, Kogi State. Born and bred in kaduna, the last born of six. Attended Victory Academy Nursery and Primary School kaduna, went to Nigerian Military School Zaria for my secondary education, later joined Heyik International Schools Kaduna where I wrote my SSCE.. A graduate of Mathematics from Taraba State University where I graduated as the social director. I have always loved music since from childhood. Back then I would make efforts to score most of the trending songs by listening through a stereo set. Most times I would have to write down the lyrics myself while listening. I wrote my first song as a kid. It was gospel, wasn’t a Rap song anyway. I started loving Rap music when I first listened to "Stan" by Eminem. The whole concept of the song really got my attention and that brought about my love for the Rapper, making him the major Artiste I had listened to back then. I could easily relate with his lyrics, the clowning side mixed with the no-nonsense side of his personality through his songs were a reflection of myself. I would rap his songs in class and almost everywhere there was a social gathering, that at one point people around started calling me Eminem. That was about the time I got the motivation to start doing my own thing. I started with just writing lyrics generally about the things around me, and whenever I got to rap my stuff, people would still scream like I was doing Eminem. That motivated me to write more, even though I didn't hit d studio then. I watched my passion for rap grow each day as I continued therein. Then the desire to become a super star later set-in, that was when I decided it was time to start recording.

What made you take the leap into Music?

Firstly, I have a strong passion for teaching, like I've always wanted to impart knowledge and positively impact lives. Next is, I know music flows through my system, so I see it as a tool to reach out to people. And then, I want to be very rich and famous and music is just the perfect elevator through which any smart, talented artiste, with God's grace, can get to that level.

                                     

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

My first big challenge was decision, I wasn't sure if I would do well in the business so I was skeptical about taking the first step. I think I overcame that by taking time to study the art and the business so well such that I could almost-correctly predict, after listening to a song for the first time, if it will blow or not. I could also through trending songs see the leak in the business if and when there's any, and from my comfort zone wait for the artiste who will fill up the void.

This helped me in having a good idea of what listeners out there would wanna give their attention to and pay for. Another big challenge as an upcoming artiste is funds. Money for your upkeep as looking good always is a major sell-out in the business, then money for recording and promoting your art.

I was able to cope through this stage by doing side jobs, I would teach in schools to make some money, take some pupils extra moral classes as well as home-lessons after school hours for some extra cash. At one time I had to work as a manager in a Bar and a Club just to make some money for recording and promotions. It wasn't easy at all but thank God we here now.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

Oh yes, I was trained by parents who believed Education is the best way to succeed in a society like ours. So the place of education was on top of my priority list. I handled this issue by trying to combine school and music, it wasn't easy but it was worth it.. Infact, at one time I had to lay low with my music career and face education. And that was one of the smartest choices I made. All thanks to my parents. Though it wasn't easy convincing them to accept music as my career but somehow somewhere along the line they later agreed and gave me their blessings. I think I would repeat the same process if I were to go back in time and face the same situation.

How did you build a consumer culture around your style of Music?

For any product to sell it must be able to satisfy the need of its consumers, either by providing comfort to them for relaxation, or by providing solutions to their problems. Music is a product, a commodity that can be bought and sold. So for a song to sell, irrespective of its Genre, it must satisfy the need of its listeners. I'm a teacher, a motivator, and sometimes a comedian(all these by nature). This makes it easy for me to identify a need and meet it. I dare to heal with the words that I speak, this brings about hope. I tend to instruct even as I address issues via my words, and it brings about correction. Also I can, with real-life situations, through the things that I say, make anybody laugh or at least smile, and this brings about comfort. So to entertain or/and provide solution with my product, hence making it saleable, what I did was to consciously and unconsciously channel all these strengths and attributes to my style of music, and Boom!!!

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your Music?

I would attribute that to my desire to make this world a better place

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as a musician if any?

The biggest mistake I've made so far as a musician was/is not having most of my special moments as an upcoming artiste on record.. I, at certain points in my little beginnings have met with some great celebrities whom after hearing me flow, made some nice comments about my art that were so encouraging. Now I wish I had those commendations on record somewhere. The only place I get to relive those moments is in my head. Won't make such a mistake again.

What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained?

I just rest. And by the time I'm up, full bar.

How do you believe evolving technology will impact the way we do Music in Nigeria over the next 10 years?

Nigerian music over the last 10 years has taken a quantum leap. All thanks to all who took it upon themselves to upgrade our standard especially those in the technical section, ensuring that our gadgets for recording, mixing and mastering, up to the ones for video-shoots and editing, are up to date. The Show Organisers, promoters, bloggers and online magazines are not left out. Our songs and videos are now world class. Technology has really helped us, the invention of Online Radios and Streaming Sites have gone a long way to ensure massive reduction of Piracy. Artistes and investors can now venture into the business without much worry about the fact an undeserving entity from nowhere will "come and chop" their sweat. With all these on ground, there's no telling as to what doing music in Nigeria will be like in the next 10 years given the evolving Technology. It will be very easy and lucrative for the smart, yet confusing and unproductive for the dull. Nigerians are smart anyways..

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first started as a Musician?

Getting to the top might be very tough, yet staying on top is tougher. Who are the people that mentored you into music / show business? Eminem, MI, Olamide What is the best advice you received recently, and that you still follow? "Understand the times and know when it changes".

How do you prioritize your work when you have multiple projects to complete?

As we grow in business, the place of a GOOD manager should not be undermined. I should be smart enough to listen to his/her advice

Are you happy with your career as an artist?

Yes I am

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself selling out Arenas, and very big event centres. I see myself as that Rapper whose songs would have gone round the globe. I see myself as that Artiste whose life will be a Role Model to many around the world, worthy of emulation. I see myself on top of the world with Riches and Fame, surrounded by a strong team and support In the next five years, I will look at myself and see the answer to the cry of many.

What is your favorite thing about art?

The power of its creation, the voice and attention it gives to the creator.

Whats the best advice you would give an upcoming artist trying to take the same strides like you in the music industry.

First, Know and understand your market before productions. Take advantage of Technology, especially for Promotion and Marketing. Don't expect everyone to like you. Put God first.