Meet the African Popstar Prince: Joe Boy.
- On becoming an African Pop Star.
- A emPawa Africa success story.
- Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic.
- “I learnt so much”.
An Apple Music exclusive documentary “Becoming an African Pop Star” essentially declared the simple truth: Joe Boy is Africa’s next gift to the music industry. Although billed as the quintessential Nigerian lover boy, thankfully Joe Boy’s talent goes beyond the good looks and catchy hooks! And in stark contrast, the short film is a kaleidoscope of the young artist’s reflective and sensitive poetry cast over a whirlwind of world tours, press conferences, legions of adoring fans and a blurry curation of beautiful hotel rooms. Joe Boy has evidently arrived.
Joseph Akinwale Akinfenwa exploded out of Mr Eazi’s emPawa Africa talent incubator in 2017 and, in one fell swoop, scored a series of hit singles beginning with “Baby” and “Beginning”. His would be the initiative’s first success, exceeding all expectations and going on to inspire tens of 1000s of further applications. Joe Boy then topped this with a collab with DJ Neptune and Mr. Eazi last year. The song, “Nobody”, has had over 100 million streams to date worldwide.
The emPawa Africa program is the bedrock of his success. ““It’s really amazing, I’ve learned a lot. When I first started making music I used to think it was such a big deal to put my songs on DSPs, now I can do this all through my phone. I’ve learned a lot about the music business too, and I’m still learning. Me two years ago is different from me right now.”
Joe Boy’s first album, a one-track opus to the meaning of love in all its forms is very much like the artist himself. It’s a charming display of his talent, lyrical ability and honest & sincere voice. The narratives sway between a celebration of marriage to a risqué affair with an older woman to some very good poetic deconstructions of love. Production from icons Dëra, Killertunes and E Kelly deliver a recognizable Joe Boy sound with enough diversity in instrumentation and genre to keep things ticking in the right direction.
“Count Me Out,” the new album’s experimental opener is a standout, sonically and in its intimacy, says Joe Boy. “On that song I was just speaking my mind. That song is about me. It’s so personal. It’s my favourite because it sounds different from what I normally do on a single.”
Even the album’s title – Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic – is about right as it sets the tone for the continuing evolution of the popstar prince.
C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.
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