Rema discusses music and his originality with Swizz Beatz

Estimated read time 4 min read

Nigerian superstar singer and afrobeats sensation Rema in an exclusive discussion with American record producer and rapper Swizz Beatz gave insights about his music process. Rema, known in private life as Divine Ikubor engaged the veteran producer in a discussion that centred on originality and creativity.

Speaking about his influence in the industry despite his relatively young age in music, Rema said, “I have opened doors…..just four years in”.

“Facts. The quality. And when the game names you something? Like when I named myself the future, that was just an unconscious responsibility but when the game, by itself, calls you ‘the prince of Afrobeats’, or you’re this or you’re that, it’s like the universe has picked you, you know? The culture cannot deny that I’ve opened doors. Even though I’m just four years in,” he remarked.

Then the “Calm Down” singer went further to talk about his creative originality while advising young ones to stay true to themselves. He said being authentic is one great piece to making an impact. He added that you can get it the hard way by being original or easy by copying others just for the fame and girls.

“Just tell yourself the truth. Do you wanna copy, or do you wanna create? Do you want it the easy way, or do you want it the hard way? Because a lot of people feel like, once they bloom, it’s up. Some people like it for the flashiness, [or] to get the girls, the jewellery, the cars.”

Confirming that originality is key, Swizz, a veteran in the music industry said the best one could ever offer to himself is to be authentic.

“Man, you’re very wise for your position and your age, and it’s a breath of fresh air to hear the youth speaking,” Swizz noted. “Because a lot of people…They really don’t get it. The message that I give to up-and-coming producers or songwriters is like, listen: Be original. The best thing you could ever be is original. Because if you’re original, then you can control that journey. If you’re copying other people and you’re doing something just for a quick fix? It’s gonna be exactly that. It’s gonna be a quick fix. And it might work! But then when it works you can’t balance it. Because it’s not you.”

He added that being materialistic is not his top priority which is why he is not in the news for his girlfriend, house, cars or chains but for the work he does.

“I never made that my priority [being materialistic]. My name is in the news every day, but it’s not because ‘Rema got a girlfriend,’ or ‘Rema bought this,’ or ‘Rema did that.’ Even the chain — nobody knows the [price] of the chain. I just talk about the value of the album.”

On how he makes music, the 23-year-old said he likes to spend short time on each project. He also prefers to work with beats that normally most people would not consider.

“Process-wise, I know you’ve [Swizz] been in the studio with a lot of people who write, and a lot of people who don’t write. Like, me, I don’t write most of the time. I make use of energy mostly. That spark. That brightness. When that idea comes, I just want to drop immediately. Sometimes everyone knows that I could do a better take, but I’ll be like, ‘No.’ I don’t want that perfectionism to come in, you know?

“I don’t like to be in one idea too long. When I record I make a sad song, and then the next one is a party song, and then a sad song, and it’s just different vibes,” he explained. “I really have fun with producers because sometimes, I’ll be like, ‘Where is that folder, that one where you hide weird beats that you know nobody is gonna vibe to?’ Because we know in your free time, you guys just create stuff. Those are the jams I like,” he noted.

Also, the singer at the conclusion of the interview with Rolling Stone revealed that he feels music is his way to immortality as music does not die.

“When you find your purpose, I feel like the heavens rejoice. Here we go with someone who has found a fresh frequency to bring into the world. I don’t know about superhero movies or all of that, but one way to be immortal is music.”

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