The superbly original Bikey will astound you with his originality. But this uniqueness is unique in its own right, in that Bikey not only embraces his individuality as an artist, but he is equipped with the
raw talent to back it up. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he migrated to the United States in 2001 for studies and has since stayed and rebuilt his career here. Fast forward to 2009 when Bikey remixed "Brooklyn We Go Hard" by Jay-Z and made it "Cleveland We Go Hard" alongside "Dapper AJ". He also remixed "Heartless" by Kanye West but included a reggae twist that was an instant local hit. Bikey was back.
Bikey recently released a few tracks including Dancing Girl (perfect club hit minus the cheese factor) and Antigravity, a track that highlights Bikey’s deep vocals beautifully.
Check out his YouTube videos or catch him live. With an amazing physique and stature, you will forget he is a performer and not a model. Until he turns it on at least! I guarantee Bikey will make you a fan.
I look forward to future tracks from this hidden gem.
I had the opportunity to speak with Bikey this week, here’s what he shared.
You have such a distinctive voice, sound and style! I love it!! Is this a quality you were striving for or did it naturally happen?
I would have to say it is natural. I have a deep thunderous voice that is very unique and I am blessed to have such a gift. I remember when I was a young boy trying to sing like Michael Jackson and a couple of other cool RnB singers. My sister, Nneka used to tell me to sing with my own voice and stop trying to sound like somebody else. I never forgot that, and after that I would sing along to music in my own range as opposed to the pitch the artist sang. I was slowly developing my skills and it really helped me a lot when I started writing professionally. I was able to carve my own identity. My Dad also has a deep voice and I definitely got it from him.
What artists inspired you when you were in Nigeria? Did you also create music there? What artists inspire you now that you’re in the U.S.?
When I was in Nigeria I was inspired by a lot of artists. Artists like Fela, Onyeka Onwenu and Sade amongst others. I also listened to DPG, BBD, De La Soul, including the two best rappers ever; Biggie Smalls and Tupac when I was there and couldn't figure out who I liked better. I liked Biggies lyrical skill and Tupac's Philosophical ideals.
When I was in Nigeria I only did live shows. I did not record anything professionally. So I did create music there, I just didn't go to the studio to lay out the tracks.
Now that I am in the U.S., I am inspired by artists such as Wyclef, Jay Z and Enya.
What have you learned about the American music industry that you would change if you could? How is it different from the music industry in Nigeria?
The American music industry is very very huge. I can't tell you that I have covered every aspect of the industry but I will tell you that there are a lot of good artists that are being left out. The music industry in Nigeria is also growing rapidly. The artists there are recognized internationally and are leading the musical revolution in Africa.
Do you find that being an immigrant makes creating a name for yourself as an artist more difficult? Why or why not?
There are 2 sides to the response to this question. The first is that it is actually not easy trying to make a name amongst people who don't know you and who didn't grow up with you. One has to build their network and fan base. Meanwhile on the other hand it makes you Unique. So Unique that you are easily distinguished from other artists. Both have worked in my favor. Mainly because I am easily distinguishable and people always want something new, I have been easily adopted and have found my way into peoples iPods and mp3 players.
What are you working on now? Any future collaborations we can look forward to?
Right now I am working on two songs. One of them is with Moises Borges a Brazillian singer. The chorus is in Portuguese and Spanish and the verse is in English. It is a very great song and it' s called "No Tengo Casa". It is an upbeat Dance track and is very lively. I am also working with a spanish songwriter "Margo" on a similar track but the chorus and bridge are in spanish.
We know you write, produce and sing. Are there any other talents that you haven’t yet made public? Maybe you’re waiting for the right moment…?
I do have a lot of talents (I believe). I like to try out new things and don't like to lose. I guess you can say I am waiting for the right moment. Firstly, I like to play sports. I am very good at Soccer, and also Basketball. I am 6 feet 8 inches tall and I usually play in various professional summer leagues. It helps me stay in shape. I also play Ping Pong, Swim, I am a good dancer, Skilled in various computer programming languages and I am a Philosopher. I study works of philosophers like Nietzche and Sigmund Freud. I do have my own perspective on life but I would leave that topic for another day.
Who are your musical influences?
My Musical influences are Barry White, Fela, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Biggie, TuPac, Enya, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Dr Dre, DPG, Bell Biv Devoe, De La Soul, Boyz II Men and Bobby Brown amongst others.
It is such a diverse list of influences that explains why my music turned out to be the way it is. I have such a wide influence.
What is your ultimate goal in the music industry? What is your plan of action?
My Goal in the music industry is to make sure everyone hears my work. I don't like to set monetary goals. I feel that is too selfish. I do wish that people get the opportunity to be inspired in any way by my music and if given the opportunity they will like it.
I am working with a few promoters in the industry to make this happen. We are working with street teams and DJ coalitions like Nerve DJ's to help us build a strong grassroots fanbase.
Is there a genre of music you would love to delve to but are a bit weary of? What genre, if any, and what kind or project would you like to release?
I would not say I am weary of something I love to do and that I believe I can do. I would love to delve into Jazz eventually. I envision a scenario where I would have a young fanbase that loves my high energy songs and also a more mature one that loves my mellow laid back jazzy tracks, some of which I am still working on.
Eventually I would like to release a project that is somewhat themed like a Love EP or Album.
I am currently working with a band that plays Fela music to be a vocalist and sing Fela songs at various shows. I like the idea because Fela is Nigerian and it will give me a way to showcase my culture in a different way.
What is your favorite track to perform live?
This is really hard. I have had moments with each of my tracks.
I have a song title "Move Like a Belly Dancer" which I always do with a Live Belly Dancer on stage dancing while I sing. It's really very exotic and different and it always makes the audience move. I always see people pull out their phones to take pictures. However, I cannot fail to mention our track "No Shaking". It might be one of our most popular tracks and people just scream and shout as soon as the beat comes on. It's not easy to pick your best child you know. All the songs are my babies and I love each of them almost equally.