Adekunle – A Heart of Gold
The best thing about being in this current generation is the fact that we have been given the privilege to witness creative talents and connect with them in more ways than we can imagine. The other great thing is that people aren’t limiting themselves to only one form of creative expression and income generation. We are also blessed with people like Adekunle Gold who spread the joy and love and happiness through what they have chosen to do.
Adekunle Kosoko, popularly known as Adekunle Gold, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and graphic designer. For the longest time, he was known as the ‘Photoshop king’ on social media, thanks in large part to his ability to seamlessly Photoshop himself into trending pictures of celebrities. In 2014, he released his first single ‘Sade’ and became a big hit almost instantly. Soon after, he signed with YBNL and it’s just been multiple success stories after that.
In this interview with Guardian Life, we get to witness the exciting, happy and loving persona that is Adekunle Gold.
Tell us a little bit about Adekunle Gold.
Adekunle Gold is a singer, songwriter, and also known as ‘the King of Photoshop’ when he decides to be crazy. I studied Art and Industrial Design, and majored in graphics. Of course, I’m also signed to YBNL and it’s pretty much been an interesting journey for me.
So you did graphic design for a while and then you started music. What caused this change?
Firstly, there’s no such thing as you did graphics for a while’ because I still do graphics’. When I started working with companies, I was doing music. And even now that I’m focusing on music, I’m still very much into graphics. I design most of my stuff.
What would you say inspired your style of music and what would you call it?
I grew up listening to all kinds of music. I remember my dad made all of us listen to Ebenezer Obe all the time. I actually really loved it. And then as I got older, I listened to a lot of other sounds like pop and indie which I love. The Script is actually my favourite band, and I love Asa as well. I like to refer to my sound as urban highlife; a fusion of pop, highlife and folk music.
You once said you scout for stories that inspire your songs. Still, most of them seem to be about relationships. Is there a reason why?
Firstly, almost all my songs are about me. And then sometimes I’m on social media looking for gist because you know sometimes you just want something funny to talk about. Almost all the time, whatever is going on involves love. Me, I love love and love stories. I’m a loverboy *laughs*. So, almost always, all I’m thinking about is one girl. So, yeah. This love situation is everywhere. If there’ no Yoruba demon talk today, there will be one guy talking about how he was cheated on by a woman. I’m just easily drawn to talking about and listening to these stories.
Before and after an album release, there’s a wild rush of emotions. What has it been like since the release of GOLD?
Having worked on GOLD for like two years, I did expect there to be a breakthrough. I expected success as well. What I didn’t expect was a huge outpouring of love. That I got. I mean, it’s been amazing. Since July 25th that I dropped the album, it’s been nothing but love all the way. I was completely blown away by it all. I’ve travelled out of the country as well since then, and the reception was equally amazing. I’m so grateful that people love the album, and that they think it is brilliant work.
Speaking of the album, I was on twitter some time ago and noticed you’d released the video for Ariwo Ko. There was a bit of controversy surrounding that song, where some people suggested you were speaking to someone or some people.
*laughs* Nah. I said it on Twitter recently that the album was already 80% done when I had the idea to do the song. If you know me, you know I’m very active on social media; twitter especially. I’m always online chatting or ranting about something I’m pretty sure I saw something that inspired it. But the song isn’t about anyone, and it definitely isn’t about any of the people that many have suggested the song is about.
I also noticed you are the executive producer of your album. Based on my understanding, when an artiste is signed to a label, the owner of that label is the executive producer of the albums. Can you elaborate on why this isn’t the case with GOLD?
Firstly, thank God I’m with a label like YBNL, and I have an oga like Olamide that understands that you need to do you. Olamide has given each and every one of us the opportunity and liberty to just do what we want to do. Where he comes in is to give approval. He can say what he thinks works and what doesn’t, and point us in the right direction. For GOLD, I pretty much wrote the music myself. During production, I was the one telling the producer which direction I wanted everything to go. Olamide really entrusted everything to me, and was always there to remind me that he knows I can do it. He would say “Just see it as your business. I’m only here to guide you.”. So, based on all this, it really just made sense to put me as the executive producer. And, of course, I got the approval from my oga.
You sing, you sculpt, and you’re a genius with graphic design. What other creative aspects of Adekunle Gold do we not know about?
I like girls. Is that creativity? *laughs* But seriously though, If talking is creativity, then I like to talk. And I mean I like to talk a lot. I think that’s probably one thing most people don’t know. So, yeah. That’s it. I paint, I draw, I do a bit of sculpting, and then I dabbled a bit in ceramics.
What should we expect from Adekunle Gold in the near future? What’s next for you?
I recently announced a US tour starting October 14th and running through to November 6th or thereabout. I’m also going to be releasing videos for songs off GOLD and new singles. There will also be a lot of new collaborations. I mean, really just a lot of great stuff. And, oh! I’m already working on a new album.
What would you like to say to the people reading this interview?
Thank you very much for the love because there is no way I would have done any of this without you supporting me. Thank you for all the love for the album. If you haven’t gotten it, go get it and tell people about it. I love you all.
This interview reaffirms the fact that Adekunle has a heart made of gold. And it isn’t just about his album or his name. His music has brought joy to a lot of people, his work as an artist has brought smiles to people’s faces and we know this is just the starting point for him. It’s not often we come across such down-to-earth people who effortlessly remain relatable and humble even when they have a few reasons to see themselves as better than others.
In a world where value is sought after, people who have more than just talent to offer are rare to find. Keeping this in mind, we can say in full confidence that Adekunle Gold is a treasure.