In a recent exclusive interview with Jaguda.com and the Northorious Podcast, Nigerian music act, Bella Shmurda, talks about his highly anticipated collaboration with American rapper, Bobby Shmurda, his music career, life, and more.
The Dangbana Republik frontier also expressed willingness to work with upcoming Jos-based artists.
Read excerpts below.
DJ Ruffee: Before we start, we have some of my team members here. So I will just introduce them before we get into the interview.
We have Abdulrahman, he is from Jos. He is a music enthusiast and one of the co-founders of the notorious podcast.
We have Ebun Bello, she is a member of the team at Jaguda. She is our social media handler and blogger as well.
And then we have Peter, he is a blogger and columnist at Jaguda and they will be throwing in some questions as we proceed.
DJ Ruffee: What Motivated you to start music?
Bella Shmurda: I used to have a case of Inferiority complex while growing up and the only way to express myself was through music. It was through singing and that was the major motivation for me as I want to be a strong-willed person. And that made me.
DJ Ruffee: What influenced the name “Bella Shmurda?”
Bella Shmurda: I like Bobby Shmurda and the GS9, so I coined Shmurda from there. My name is ‘Abiola’ so I coined Bella from there and made it “Bella Shmurda”.
DJ Ruffee: When Bobby Shmurda was released from Prison did you see the social media trend that was clamouring for collaboration between Bobby Shmurda and Bella Shmurda?
Bella Shmurda: Yeah, I saw it. Shout out to Davido. He was the one supporting that. I’m going to the U.S soon so that is probably happening. We’re working on it, it’s in process.
DJ Ruffee: Who was your major influence when growing up?
Bella Shmurda: While growing up I listened to African Contemporary music. The likes of King Wasiu Ade Marshall, the likes of Pasuma 1, we have the juju music; King Sunny Ade too. Also, Baddosneh (Olamide), Oritse Femi, Wizkid. These people are major influences, sources of inspiration. They are mentors and people you can look up to. They do this afrobeat thing perfectly. I am a successor as they are the predecessors to this thing.
DJ Ruffee: Who do you owe your first big break?
Bella Shmurda: Shout out to all LASUITES, that’s my school. Shout Pocolee that’s my brother, shout out to Baddosneh, these people made Bella Shmurda, these people were the influence, these people were my people. These people were the supporters of my brand and they are still my lovers. Baddo is a big influence, Poco is a big influence, where I come from, Okokomaiko is a big influence.
DJ Ruffee: That’s great. Considering the period, we are in, at this point would you consider yourself a successful artist? How would you say you have settled in the music industry?
Bella Shmurda: I call myself a work in progress. I’m not there, I’m not the best yet. I’m trying to be great, I’m trying to be better, to be unique. I can’t tell you that I am perfect at this stage as I am still working. I am still moving, I am trying to get better.
There are better days ahead.
DJ Ruffee: Beautiful. So, let’s talk about the Headies Award. Were you a little disappointed? Were you okay with the result?
Bella Shmurda: What I will say is, This is Music. It’s supposed to be free. It is supposed to be good. It’s supposed to be nice. Music is supposed to be happiness. You know, music is supposed to be a point of connection. There can’t be two firsts, there can only be one first. I’m cool with everybody and I am doing well in my lane. Everybody is good. Shout out to Oxlade, Shout out to everybody on that list. Everybody is doing well.
DJ Ruffee: If you did not do music what else would you have done with your life? We saw that you just finished school. Shout out to you on that.
Bella Shmurda: Yeah, I would probably be struggling as an artist and as a historian. I went to school and studied history and International relations. So I would probably have been Someone, Somewhere doing something else. You get me.
DJ Ruffee: Are there plans for service now that you’re done with school?
Bella Shmurda: Definitely.
DJ Ruffee: How did it work for you, doing music and school at the same time? Particularly as you’re a celebrity and you’re big. Do people treat you differently because you are Bella Shmurda? Or do people treat you differently because you are one of them as a student?
Bella Shmurda: Shout out to all LASUITES! It’s not easy but I try to balance it. Most times, I feel I am graced. Most times, I feel I am blessed. Because not everybody could balance this thing. Not everybody could make it out. You understand but definitely, there are plans for service. I’m gon serve man, I am a graduate. So it’s a sure thing.
DJ Ruffee: That’s great. Your Sophomore EP, High Tension 2.0 just came out. Can you just walk us through what the inspiration for it was? What was the summary of the project?
Bella Shmurda: High Tension 2.0 is a continuity of High Tension 1. High tension basically means, a lightning/thunder strike and I take myself as a strike of thunder because I do me. High tension 2.0 is for people to enjoy. If you’re a lover, you get a lover feel. If you’re a street boy, you get a street boy feel. If you’re nothing, you get nothing. That’s all on High Tension 2.0. Majorly, I have been doing collabos and I just feel, I should do this that has just me on the tracks. I need my people to feel me. I need my people to connect. Just me, no mixed feelings.
DJ Ruffee: Yeah. Now, Afrobeats and Afro Pop is doing really big things internationally. We have Wizkid doing it big, Davido, Burna Boy, Olamide and the likes. Do you see this as a challenge, as a feat you want to achieve in the future? How do you plan to break in?
Bella Shmurda: Definitely. These people are my mentors. These people are people, I want to be like. These people are people I want to always roll with. So, it is a challenge for me. I want to grow bigger. I want to grow better. You understand me? So definitely, these people are inspirations. They are motivation. So, I can’t take that away.
DJ Ruffee: So, what has been the biggest break in the music industry for you so far? What has been the highlight of your success so far?
Bella Shmurda: I don’t have a highlight yet, there’s much to come. Bella Shmurda still more to come. SO just wait for the highlight
DJ Ruffee: So what features should we be expecting in future? Who are you really hoping to work with globally and internationally?
Bella Shmurda: I’m hoping to work with everybody good. I’m hoping to work with everybody doing well. I am open to everybody working hard.
DJ Ruffee: Yeah that’s good. Considering the nature of the economy, how would you advise emerging artists to handle the development in music? Because times are hard. Upcoming artists are having it difficult. What would be your advice for them?
Bella Shmurda: I’m an emerging artist as well. So definitely I am still in the process, and other people are still in the process. So, what I will say is, know what you are doing. Know who you are. Know what you really want to do. It’s simple. It is tit for tat. You have to be ready for it. You have to be strong for it yourself,
DJ Ruffee: So right now I will give some participants a chance to ask you one or two questions if that is okay with you.
Bella Shmurda: Okay.
DJ Ruffee: You were in Jos a couple of weeks ago. Was that your first time in the north?
Bella Shmurda: No, I’ve been in the North before. I have been to Abuja. Abuja is also a northern part of the country. I have been to Kano as well. Jos is another place in the north.
DJ Ruffee: What was your experience like, because there are a lot of artists and experiences in Jos. Were you scared knowing the stereotype that people have about plateau state and Jos? Were you a little sceptical and what are your thoughts?
Bella Shmurda: I was actually scared to be sincere. I was scared but at the same time, I had to link up with my fans. I have to see my people you know. I have to preach the gospel, so I have to be there.
DJ Ruffee: And what was your experience? Did you get the experience you were expecting?
Bella Shmurda: Yeah, it was all love. And it was crazy. People came out. The popping was crazy. Ahh… Abuja that’s home. I’m always bopping. You get me (Laughs) so this is home man. So we winning. We kinging.
DJ Ruffee: So when should we expect, a Bella Shmurda Album?
Bella Shmurda: Anytime. You can wake up tomorrow morning and see my album out. Please don’t be surprised
DJ Ruffee: So, Bella is consistently working. That’s what it means there?
Bella Shmurda: Bella has always been a workaholic.
Ebun Bello: HI BELLA
Bella Shmurda: What’s up babe what’s good.?
Ebun Bello: I’m good man. So good to have you on here.
Bella Shmurda: Yeah thank you.
Ebun Bello: So recently you had this linkup with Wizkid where he gave you money and it was all over the blogs. And now we’re asking, should we be expecting a Wizkid Collaboration very soon? Are we seeing something from you and Wiz very soon?
Bella Shmurda: Basically, I went to Ghana, we vibed. It’s Wizkid and Bella Shmurda. So, expect the unexpected and this is tension. You get me. So just expect the unexpected.
Ebun Bello: Besides the music, what does Bella do in his spare time. Cause you know you said something like, music has been your escape.
Bella Shmurda: What I do for fun, sincerely I meditate, I try to walk around. I try to see nature, I try to observe things. I try to educate myself. I try to know better.
Ebun Bello: Are you someone that likes your me-time with nature you know, the calm and serenity?
Bella Shmurda: Yeah, I like the calm and serenity. That’s nature for you. So, I try to go through that. Cause it’s crazy out there.
Ebun Bello: So, this is my last question. Last year, covid hit and it was really bad for a lot of people financially. There were no concerts, we could not travel, of course, things are getting better now, but what would you advise other artists coming ahead of you or present when it comes to finances. Because I know it was a tough time that year, you know everybody was just looking for a way to just patch things up. What would you advise people?
Bella Shmurda: At a point in music, you have financial issues. It’s a normal thing. Upcoming artists should not think about it. They should just work. They should just try to get the music right. It’s important because that’s the money. That’s the end of the game. Yeah.
Abdul: What’s up broski?
Bella Shmurda: What’s up, brother. What’s good
Abdul: Bella What’s up? What’s good?
Bella Shmurda: I’m good brother.
Abdul: Tell us about Dangbana Republik. Are you the only artiste, do you own it?
Bella Shmurda: Like I will always say my fans own Dangbana Republik. My lovers, Bella Shmurda supporters.
Abdul cuts in: But You established it, right?
Bella Shmurda: No, I’m the frontier. My people. My fans established it. And I am the frontier
Abdul: So, are you the only one signed to Dangbana Republik?
Bella Shmurda: Dangbana Republik is not signed to anybody and nobody is signed to it. Everybody is just working according to fit.
Abdul: Are there any artists signed under the same Dangbana Republik?
Bella Shmurda: We don’t have any artiste yet but we have artiste friends. We have Fola, Seyi Vibes, We have the likes of Jamopyper, Everybody. Zlatan Ibile, Baddosneh, I’m friends with everybody.
Abdul: I saw clips from your show in Jos and obviously you had fun. Are you going to return here anytime soon?
Bella Shmurda: Jos is a good place. Jos is a place that needs to grow. Jos is a place that needs to be shown to the world.
Abdul: You should put the word out to your colleagues to come around. I’m sure they are scared of coming down here. You should consider working with some Jos Artistes too.
Bella Shmurda: Okay. You have some names that you can call for me. I can write that down. Let me write them down.
Bella Shmurda: Definitely, because someone groomed me up. Someone helped me. I’ll be glad to do that.
Gracey: Thank you very much. Bella, do have any closing words before we let everybody go?
Bella Shmurda: Everybody should stay safe and wear your mask. I think the Corona is still out there, but not in Lagos. Everybody should preach good gospel about Bella Shmurda. I need a good Bella Shmurda out there and I know you guys can do it. Respect to everybody out there. I love you all.