Kizz Daniel | A Decade of Reigning Supreme in Afrobeats
Pioneers4 Minutes Read

Kizz Daniel | A Decade of Reigning Supreme in Afrobeats

July 1, 2024 Share

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Kizz Daniel reflects on a decade of Afrobeats stardom, discussing his journey, creative process, and vision for the future.

For ten years, the Nigerian music scene has pulsed to an ever-intensifying beat. At its core: Kizz Daniel, the Afrobeats maverick who’s done more than conquer the genre—he’s reinvented it. With a staggering four billion streams, a voice that could melt platinum, and performances that transform venues into sanctuaries of sound, Daniel has become the poster child for African pop’s global takeover.

As he embarks on his “Vado At 10” world tour, celebrating a decade of dominance, we caught up with the man behind hits like “Buga” and “Twe Twe.” From performing at the 2022 World Cup opening ceremony alongside EDM titans Diplo and Calvin Harris, to having Nigeria’s Vice President dub his music the country’s “second National Anthem,” Kizz Daniel and his trajectory has been nothing short of meteoric.

Yet, for all his public accolades, Kizz Daniel remains refreshingly grounded. “It’s been a steady growth process,” he reflects, dismissing the notion of a single career-defining moment. Instead, he credits every song, every show, and every choice he’s made for shaping his artistic journey. It’s this perspective that has allowed him to navigate the treacherous waters of the music industry, including a highly publicised struggle with his former record label—a period he now views as a crucial learning curve.

In an exclusive sit-down, we peel back the layers of the artist described as “the epitome of an all-round entertainer.” From his magnetic tone to his captivating lyrics, from sold-out tours across continents to topping Shazam charts, Kizz Daniel opens up about his journey, his music, and what it means to be at the forefront of Afrobeats’ global conquest. He shares insights into his creative process, like the cultural exploration behind “Twe Twe,” rooted in the sounds of Nigeria’s Nupe Tribe, and his approach to cross-cultural collaborations, exemplified by his work with Latin pop sensation Becky G.

This is Kizz Daniel, unfiltered and unapologetic, as he marks ten years of reigning supreme in the world of Afrobeats.

Image courtesy of WePlugGoodMusic

Over the last decade, you’ve risen to become a global music icon in the afrobeats scene. Reflecting on your journey, which moment do you consider the turning point of your career, and why does it stand out to you?

I don’t think there’s an actual point that I’ll consider a turning point for my career. It’s been a steady growth process. Every song, every show, everything I’ve done as an artist has shaped me to where I am at this point and I can only be grateful for the choices I’ve made so far. 

Your music has evolved significantly from ‘Woju’ to your latest album ‘Maverick’. How do you see your artistic identity having evolved over these years, and who or what have been your biggest influences during this journey?

The one constant thing is change, and evolving in the right direction has always been my focus. From ‘Woju’ to ‘Maverick’, my artistic identity has diversified and it’s pretty evident in what I’m putting out lately. The biggest influences for me are God and my family. Also personal experiences have also been a big influence in my journey. 

Afrobeats has become a global phenomenon, and you’ve played a crucial role in its international recognition. How do you view your role in promoting Nigerian and African culture worldwide through your music?

Afrobeats is more than just a genre; it’s a movement. I’ve been lucky to be a contributor to this movement as both a global ambassador and a storyteller. Showcasing the richness of Nigerian culture and African culture in general on a global scale while celebrating our heritage and pushing the boundaries of our sound has always been my aim.

You’ve achieved over 2 billion streams and numerous awards. Beyond these public accolades, what personal milestones have you celebrated that might not be as visible to your fans?

It’s actually 4 billion streams you know, haha, I guess I’ve done pretty well for myself. Well, as much as I am a very private person, I share a lot of my personal milestones with my fans, from the birth of my kids which is so special to me to the joys of navigating the ropes of fatherhood. So whatever isn’t out there is not out there for a reason ha ha, I’d rather keep those personal. 

‘Twe Twe’ has captured the hearts of many, becoming a significant hit. Can you share insights into the creative process behind this song and what inspired its creation? 

The Nigerian culture is a beautiful and vibrant blend of several traditions, languages, and rhythms. This cultural diversity in Nigeria is almost like a box of treasure for music. Like I aforementioned, Showcasing the richness of Nigerian culture and African culture in general on a global scale has always been my aim. The song ‘Twe Twe’ has its origin rooted in the sounds of the Nupe Tribe, and I decided to explore this with ‘Twe Twe’. I decided to go out of my comfort zone and create something off a cultural zone that evoked a feeling of happiness and celebration, and evidently, people loved it! It just goes to show you how vibrant and diverse the African culture and sound is. 

Image courtesy of WePlugGoodMusic

Your collaborations, such as with Becky G on ‘Cough’, bridge cultures and genres. How do you approach these cross-cultural collaborations, and what do you think they contribute to the global music landscape?

Approaching cross-cultural collaborations is about finding common ground and mutual respect. Working with artists is usually a learning experience for both parties. Working with Becky G on ‘Cough’ was a fantastic experience because it brought together different musical backgrounds and created something unique. Shows you how fluid afrobeats can be when incorporated with other genres.

Every artist faces challenges on their journey. Could you share a particularly challenging period in your career and how you overcame it?

It’s common knowledge of my struggles with my former record label, G Worldwide. That was quite a trying time for me and a learning curve as an artist. We have worked past that now and he was even heavily involved in my last album, ‘Maverick’. 

ans play a significant role in an artist’s career. Could you share a memorable interaction with a fan that has stayed with you over the years?

With every show on the road, my fans give me an even greater memorable interaction, so much that I can’t pick out one as the most memorable, there are just too many!

With a decade of experience at the top, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who look up to you and dream of achieving similar success in the music industry?

One thing I tell myself and anyone who cares to listen is to stay true to yourself and your sound. The music industry is tough, and it’s easy to get discouraged or distracted. Focus on honing your craft, be persistent, and don’t be afraid to take risks. The greatest risks always bring the greatest rewards. Surround yourself with supportive people and learn from every experience, both good and bad. Also, don’t be afraid to explore new frontiers, it helps you evolve and grow as an artist. Success is not an overnight thing, it requires hard work, dedication and an undying passion for your craft. 

As you celebrate ‘Vado at 10’, what future aspirations do you have for yourself, both personally and professionally? How do you envision the next decade of your career unfolding?

Professionally, I’m looking to keep doing what Vado does best, drop hits consecutively. Personally, I aim to achieve a balance between my professional and personal life, ensuring I grow not just as an artist but as a person, as a father and as a husband.

You can follow Kizz Daniel on Instagram, and listen to his music here.
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