As Nigerian singer-songwriter Cocoa prepares to perform at YEAh Live 3, we caught up with the newest edition to the Afrobeats scene.
How does it feel to be part of the Afrobeats movement, which has seen a huge surge in international popularity in the past few years?
Anyone who is serious about starting their own business but just don’t know where to start should attend this event. The motivational speakers give priceless advice and there are so many businesses to network with.
It feels great to be a part of the Afrobeats movement. It’s definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with. But most importantly for me, Afrobeats is a genre that allows me to totally be myself.
Your father used to be a DJ and your mother has always been in the choir – how have they influenced you over the years?
My parents have been quite influential. My father is a great lover of music and introduced me to a lot of different sounds when I was younger. My mother also introduced my to gospel and taught me to perform solos in church from the age of six. I guess these early experiences have shaped my musical journey. My mom is one of my biggest supporters and she is one of my mentors. She still plays a huge part in my musical development today.
Who is the person who has inspired you most in the music industry and why?
Oh that's a bit of a hard one! I have so many musical influences. I love Michael Jackson because he was such a great performer. Stevie Wonder because of his vocal dexterity and soulfulness. But right now I would say Fela Kuti inspired me a great deal because he was not afraid to step out of the box and create something brand new. As the father of Afrobeats, he is definitely a huge inspiration for me.
You have a degree in Psychology – is there anything from that course that you can apply to your musical aspirations?
Absolutely. I learned a lot about myself and the world around me from studying psychology. One aspect of psychology deals with the development of therapies to relieve things like stress. I find music therapeutic and I think a lot of people do too. I guess when I sing or perform, I hope that people enjoy it and are getting some form of therapy.
What keeps you motivated, as the music industry is so competitive?
Cocoa will perform at YEAh Live on 23 March
I try not to focus on competition and instead, I focus on myself and compete with myself. I focus on my craft and constantly try to develop it. My aim is to be the best that I can be, nothing less.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for young people at the moment?
A lot of young people today are influenced by gang culture, a lot suffer from peer pressure and some end up with really low self-confidence. They sometimes don’t see how much talent they have or what they can possibly achieve because of these challenges.
Unfortunately the media does contribute to the challenges that young people face, giving them a false reality, which they try to recreate in their own normal lives. It would help if young people were surrounded by positive role models who encourage them and help them to see what they can achieve.
What are your top three survival tips as a music artist?
Be patient, persistent and pro-active.
What are you looking forward to most about performing at YEAh Live?
I think performing at Yeah Live is going to be one great experience for me. I am really looking forward to it. But I am also looking forward to the whole event. There are going to be so many exciting things going on. I can't wait!
Why should people attend YEAh Live?
I think that anyone who is serious about starting their own business but just don’t know where to start should attend this event. The motivational speakers give priceless advice and there are so many businesses to network with. There are so many things that could inspire you or motivate you to get that business idea off the ground.
I guess when I sing or perform, I hope that people enjoy it and are getting some form of therapy.
What are you dreams and aspirations for 2013?
This year, I hope that more exciting opportunities come my way. I look forward to more performances with my band. They are truly amazing! And networking with a bunch of amazing talent in the UK.
Info: Cocoa and a full live band will perform at YEAh Live 3 on 23 March 2013, Montgomery Hall. Get tickets, here.
Press release: YEAh Live 3
Press release: YEAh Live in association with Naturally Simple presents Hair care maintenance – the natural way
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