ILLBLISS AND THE ULTIMATE COMEBACK STORY
‘I was at a phase in my career where loads of people had written Illbliss off. Loads felt I had hit my prime and couldn’t make a big record anymore, loads felt I had played all my cards and was on my way out’ – Illbliss
Could Illy be the best comeback story of 2016? It’s up there for you to discuss but for me, he is. I have seen the likes of Mr. Olu Maintain dish out commendable efforts for the ultimate comeback in the last three years but it all comes out hot and cold. The music industry in Nigeria for artistes is like hawking on the express road, you must be selling something so interesting that catches attention or selling it at the right place for you to get the necessary audience needed. The problem is not just too many artistes in the same market, it’s the fact that there are too many demigods trying to dictate what the industry should be and be fed with. Too many people that talk about the music industry lack the proper knowledge and experience. They judge easily and make recommendations that can’t be justified. Their judgments seems to be driven by beef; that much was evident in your favourite awards. To make a successful comeback like Illbliss did, he needs to be commended. I had a conversation with him and it was quite enlightening.
Kindly describe you and your music career in 2016 in detail?
In 2016, I released my fourth studio album titled ‘IllyGaty’ (7057). The lead singles off the album were ‘Ayakata’, ‘Nku’ and ‘Jawonlaya’. The album is only available for digital purchase and available on all major digital platforms > Music Plus, Cloud 9, iTunes., Spotify, Tidal, Google play, etc. in 2016. The strategy for Illbliss was to amplify my quieter sides most especially live performances and various levels of fan engagement. We rested the more executive side and opted for a more agile, more interactive, more vibrant approach. It was also a year of artistic collaborations, and the album features Flavour, Mayorkun, Ycee, Dremo, Vector, Phyno, Reekado Banks, Mr. Eazi, etc.
From your point of view, what are the progresses in the music Industry and what are the setbacks?
The quality of the music has grown exponentially and there are no monopolies. New artistes are breaking in everyday, they are making a living via cult following and solid fan base. We are yet to explore so many other avenues for revenue and multiple income streams.
Everybody loves a comeback story, what were the reasons you put in so much effort last year?
My comeback in 2016 came from a renewed sense of purpose and hunger, I was at a phase in my career where loads of people had written Illbliss off. Loads felt I had hit my prime and couldn’t make a big record anymore, loads felt I had played all my cards and was on my way out. I have always been the underdog in this music business, always had to prove myself with each single, each album. The Fortem freestyle dropped and silenced all that followed closely by iLLY Chapo! Then ‘Jawonlaya’ dropped and took over the clubs, the airwaves, the streets and my position was reinstated once more. I have had some downtimes in my career but I truly never gave up. I stayed consistent and God rewards hard work… I’m a living testimony.
What should your fans expect of you in 2017 and what are the changes you expect to see in the industry?
Fans should expect more videos off the Illygaty album, plus I’m already picking beats for my fifth studio album. I’m also working on other artistic properties that I can’t reveal yet but a full-length film is in the works.
Describe what went through your mind when you realized you won those awards at the Headies after several years of nominations?
I have been nominated for the Headies twelve consecutive times. For every time I didn’t win in the past years, I knew God was preparing me for this day, for greatness. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I won the Lyricist on the Roll and Best Rap Album categories. I say special thanks to the Headies committee for the acknowledgement. I should be renamed Illy De Caprio!
– Sesan Adeniji
Culled from Mystreetz magazine