[INTERVIEW] EUGY OFFICIAL
(Eugy wears T-Shirt by Champion, Coat by Champion x Clothesurgeon, Jeans by Levis and Shoes by Muji.)
In a time where Afrobeats is becoming a global genre reaching new heights, it almost feels silly not to celebrate the artists from a Diaspora that I myself have never been so proud to be a part of. A lot of artists have come through to fulfil their time within the Afro Music scene but an artist that has stayed consistent with his work rate is Eugy. Stealing the hearts of his heavily female fanbase, Viper sits down with the artist we can rely on for music that is so sensual.
Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
I’m Eugy Official and I’m a musician.
I don’t like to confine people to boxes but what style would you say your music falls under?
I would say my style of music is African influenced with a blend of the UK sound, so we would definitely say it’s Afrbobeats but with a hint of the UK flavour to it.
As we were shooting you were talking to me about your early influences and growing up, let’s talk more about this.
My Dad is actually a Pastor so I grew up in Church. I play piano, drums and bass guitar. My younger brothers do too so we used to play for my Dad’s Church. My Mum and Dad sing so we sung all our lives. As we were growing up we wanted to take the music thing more serious. I think I got to about secondary school. I was 13 and I saw some kids that were mc’ing. They used to hit on the walls and rap over the beats and I thought, yo that looks really cool. I wanted to try it so I used to hang around with them during playtime until I got the hang of it and I started doing poetry and recording songs off radio and writing the raps. I would learn to rap the way they were rapping specifically just to teach me flow and things like that. I turned into a Grime MC. I was doing that for a while and at about 19 years old, my brothers and I formed a group called E3 brothers. So we actually did it as a comedy thing first. We made a song about Jollof rice and Supermalt and we did it as a skit. We put my Dad in the video and everything. At that time it was going viral back then and everyone was like ‘yo you guys need to sing seriously’.
When you say going viral, obviously back then things were different.
So yeah through Facebook. YouTube wasn’t that big.
Was it around the time of SB.TV?
Yeah. Even Jamal hit us up because he wanted us to do a series where viewers would choose a subject and we write and sing about it.
So we did that and then formed a vocal harmony group then we did X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. We did pretty well in that show but we didn’t take it any further. At the time I had finished uni. My youngest brother was still in uni and my middle brother had just started to open a barbershop. We were all at different stages in our lives. Where I was ready to drop everything and go for everything 100% my brothers were taking their time. I’m not saying they were not serious but they just were not as driven as I was at the time. I just spoke to them. They’re my brothers at the end of the day so I spoke to them and said ‘Yo either take a step to the side for a bit so I can go at 100mph and get this thing working’. So about 4 or 5 years ago I said that to them I did it and I switched up the style. When I was actually in uni Afrobeats was becoming very popular. Back then David and WizKid were dropping songs and how old were they back then and they were dropping songs that were going off in our uni clubs? So when I saw being ourselves was cool and not having to pretend to be somebody else.
Imagine we’ve grown up listening to High-Life and these songs but now it was a time that everybody accepted you for being who you are and that’s the music I know the most so for me it was a nice moment for me. I switched it up and started rapping in twi and English. I was mixing the two and Davido somehow saw one of my freestyle videos and hit me up and he was like he wanted to sign me. We did a song, David flew in, we shot the video and we lost the video. Don’t even ask! That opportunity went away but it was a good sign that someone as big as David at that time has taken time out to follow me and message me and speak to me and send me videos to motivate me so I knew I was on to something. I knew I had to stick at it. The thing is about this game is its not easy. I don’t think you can juggle a job and be doing music full time. It doesn’t work because what happens is at work you start lagging and they get onto you. I just said to myself I’m gonna quit everything that distracts me from doing music, I’m gonna go broke and eventually something should come from it so I linked up with a director called Vertex.
(Eugy wears Top by Muji, Jacket by Scotch and Soda and Trousers by Levis.)
Is he from this country?
Yeah he actually used to be a part of Marvel and he was a big video director. At the time I didn’t know about the stars in the U.K. I hadn’t been around nobody so when I linked up with him he was like yeah come to London. I went to London and started going to clubs. I was seeing Krept and Konan in the club, I was seeing Steff and all of this stuff was gassing me. I was like Rah all these things are one connection or one person away and that was all the motivation I needed. I met Mr Eazi and we did ‘Body’ first and that one was doing pretty well. Off the back of the energy and vibes that we were going through at that time we mad ‘Dance For Me’ and the rest is history.
Wow! So that sounds like a long timespan. Within that time what have you learnt about the industry?
Never expect the same day twice and there is no set blueprint to doing this thing. People will give you advice. Everybody has their own journey they have to go onto. It also teaches you to be resilient. That’s the one thing I learnt.
Earlier on you spoke about growing up here and the way you got into music. What were your influences at the time? What did you grow up on? I’m guessing Church influenced you.
Yes. Ron Kenoly and Kirk Franklin. J Moss. That was the Gospel music then I would go outside of my house to school. Me and my bredrins would listen to Hip Hop. Biggie Smalls, we all grew up on Michael Jackson, people like Kano, Wiley so my music collection was very very varied and that made me who I am.
You mentioned earlier about doing stuff that was you and not doing things that other people were doing so how was your experience growing up here?
It was tough. I came around 1994. I was 6 so when I came I had an accent. Fresh off the boat and that. I went to school. There was always difference in the culture. You know we’d come to school smelling like stew and that. You come to school and your jumpers smelling like stew because when your Mum cooks everything there and there were different things. People would be like why are you smelling like food. Being an African back then was not easy. A lot of my friends who were African used to lie and say they were Caribbean so that no one would get onto them about being African. My Dad always taught us to be proud of being Ghanaian so I used to wear being Ghanaian on my sleeve and I was very very proud of it. When I saw people were coming out of their shells more and representing where they come from, I think that was a good moment for us.
Lets talk about your early collaborations. How did you find working with them? Are there people you really clicked with?
All of them. Everyone has their vibe and their energy. They’re all pretty relaxed people and we all had a common goal and when you meet people and your hearts are all in the right place it’s not a bad thing. You only get good vibes and good things come out of it. I learnt a lot from them.
You also mentioned that you played the drums and piano. In terms of your music process, are you producing?
Sometimes but I’m with the producers at the desk saying ‘yo try this, lets try it this way’. It would be very hard for me, if I hear something to sit there and not be able to say to the producer but usually I let the producers do their thing.
Have you got a good relationship with one producer?
Well a few like Team Salut. They’re really dope. Emile Laurent from Amsterdam. Maleek Berry. He’s a big boy artist but he’s a dope producer as well. Juls. Juls is epic. A few people I’ve been working with but Team Salut I would say are the ones I’ve been working with the most.
Is there anyone you would like to work with?
I’ve worked with Guilty Beatz and Killbeatz and I would like to do more stuff with them.
(Eugy wears Shirt by Scotch and Soda, Two Piece by Lee and, Socks by Umbro and Shoes by Converse.)
What kind of artists do you listen to who are doing a similar thing to you but aren’t well known yet?
I think there’s a guy called Benji Flow. There are the favourites like King Promise. I love King Promise, I think he’s dope. Frenna from Amsterdam. Wavy the Creator. She’s gonna be huge. Theres a few artists. Grade Ajilore. She does a lot of funny videos and vlogging but she’s gonna be huge when she comes out. Summer Walker, SZA kind of vibes. Fire Niya.
I know you talked about going back to Ghana. When you o back is it solely just to enjoy yourself?
Hahaa! I have been but me and My Dad are in talks to sort out something like a nursery back home. The first time I went back after a while was 4 years ago so when I’m going back all I’m seeing is enjoyment. Now when I go there I’m settled and comfortable and I know a few people, I know what’s going on and now I want to try and make a bit of a difference and give back. Not that they need me but I think it’s good for all of us from the Diaspora to give back to where we come from and to help out.
Where would you is say home for you?
Here. Everything is here. My Mum and dad are here. My nieces, my brother and sisters are here and I’m based here. I’ve lived here for most of my life but that’s not to say if they said ‘yo you’ve got to get out’ then I can do that.
I don’t think they’ll do that! I know you just released some new music from Notion. Talk to me about what you’re releasing soon.
That song is called ‘Hold Me Down’ featuring Wavy The Creator. We actually shot that video at the National Theatre in Accra. That’s been getting a good response so far. I’m currently working on my EP. It’s gonna have 5 to 6 songs I would say. That should be dropping by the end of this year. I’m hoping by the end of November so I’m in the studio pretty much everyday recording and making music.
How long does that process take or is it a constant?
I don’t think we ever stop. As an artist I don’t think you should ever stop recording because that’s us training. If you don’t record you lose it sometimes so I record almost every single day. I have been recording, we have songs there but I think new experiences always bring new music.
How would you describe the feel?
We’ll call them vibes.
Who do you make music for?
Okay. In my heart I feel like I make music for everybody but I’ve realised that my music tends to generally attract females because I’m singing about love, mostly. So, I would say definitely for girls but I hope the guys listen to it.
Other than music are there any other avenues you want to get into?
Acting. I used to do musical theatre. If I didn’t do music that’s what I would say would have been what I really wanted to go into so I really want to re-explore it and do what I can do.
My final thing. Talk to me about your favourite Ghanaian food.
Alright ladies and gentleman, my favourite Ghanaian food is Kenkey. Now, I don’t know who came up with Kenkey but God bless their family. May they never suffer. Kenkey is the best thing ever. What do they make the Kenkey with?
[Mum – ‘Corndough’] Corndough and they serve it with pepper. You know condiments. So you’ve got red pepper, green pepper and you can have some tilapia, even fried egg goes good with it. Sardine goes good with it. For me that’s my number one.
It will have to be Jollof. Jollof rice with plantain and chicken on the side. Banku could have come second but because I did Kenkey first, Banku can sit in third.
(Eugy wears Jumper and Jacket by Champion x Clothesurgeon, and Trousers by Levis.)
Words, Photography and Styling by Rachel Abebrese.
Special thanks to Scissors Palace, Lordship Lane.