The maxim that when there is a will, there is a way best describes the determination by Franklin Okechukwu Aniebona, aka Frankeyz, to get to the top of his career as an artiste. Starting off with The Disciples, an all-boys band in a church choir, his quest for success as a musician saw him performing at events and hangouts until he decided to go solo. Noted to have backed up notable stars like 2Face Idibia, Banky W, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, Sound Sultan and Vector da Viper, he had a chance meeting with officials of his new label, Greywolf Empire, while performing at a hotel in Lagos. Already going places with tracks like Oshere and Camera Boy, Frankeyz says he is all about bringing originality into Nigerian music sphere…
How did your career in music kick off ?
It all started way back in church in the choir at the time. I was a member of an all-boys band known as The Disciples, and we used to sing in churches and from our performances in churches, we started working as a band doing live music at gigs and private shows in town and I could say it was from there that the whole thing started maturing and I started having a different view of what I wanted to do with my life and career as an artiste. It got to a stage I wanted to do my own thing, so I broke off from the group to pursue a career in music and I ended up as a backup singer to a lot of notable singers in Nigeria. I have worked with singers like 2Face Idibia, Banky W, Davido, Olamide, Sound Sultan, Jaywon, Vector and Yemi Alade was the last artiste I worked with before my present label, Greywolf Empire signed me on.
How long have you been doing music?
I believe this would be my sixth year doing music and I just thank God for everything.
You just mentioned a long list of artistes who you say you have worked with, so what is that extra touch you are bringing that would set you higher than the next singer?
Basically, I learnt a lot from 2Face during my time working with him as a songwriter. For him, originality matters a lot when you are around him. While from Yemi Alade, you need to have that stage presence to carry the crowd along with you when you are doing your thing on stage and I can go on and on.
How would you describe meeting your current label, Greywolf Empire?
I was singing at a bar in a hotel, I think Golden Tulip and the management of my label was present at that time and shortly after my performance, they walked up to me and wanted to see if we could work out something and I had to give them a couple of my demo tapes and later it ended up in them signing me to their label, Greywolf Empire.
How long have you been signed to Greywolf Empire?
I have been with the label for one year and it has been a fantastic ride so far.
How would you classify your kind of music?
I would call it Afropop, but I always don’t want it to sound strictly that away, so I try to infuse a lot of other blends of music like highlife and reggae to give my sound a unique style. For example, Oshere has a feel of pop and highlife while Camera Boy has a blend of reggae and dance hall to it so as to balance the whole thing for my fans.
What would you say is that special touch you are bringing to bear on the music scene?
I will be bringing originality into the scene and creating music and content that people will listen to and exclaim wow, is this guy from Nigeria?
How did your childhood and upbringing influence your choice of career today?
I grew up in a family where music is everything. My father loved music, my mother also had this special passion for music and my siblings were also infused with music. Growing up for me was rough and music as a career path is not one which parents are encouraging their kids to pursue, but then it wasn’t easy for me as I had to go through a lot to arrive at my present point today.
What is the idea behind the track, Camera Boy?
Camera Boy is something that happened to me when I had this celebrity crush on a young Nigerian artiste. I bumped into her and asked for a selfie which she granted and when I went further to ask for her number so that I could send her a copy of the picture, she became upset and the memories from that incident stuck and that gave life to the song ‘Camera Boy’.
What other choice of career would you have followed if music hadn’t gotten the better part of you?
It would be acting because I started off as an actor in Lagos with Galaxy Television at that time and I did a couple of soap operas before I took a detour into music.
How would you rate the Nigerian music industry?
The transformation in the music industry is huge right now when you compare the kind of music being churned out with what we used to hear like ten years ago from Nigerian artistes. Artistes are now looking inward on how to bring different sounds to the studio for the listening pleasure of their fans and I think that is a step in the right direction because we are getting more acceptance, on the world stage with our music from Africa. We need to work harder on the kind of content we are producing and with that Nigerian music will find its footing in more countries of the world.
When do you think your album will drop into the market?
The label is actually looking at dropping an EP and not an album in the coming months, maybe sometime next year, but presently, we are trying to create the right sound that would make that possible and also promote the brand, Frankeyz, to the music industry and Nigerians in general so that from there we would know the next step to follow.
Five to ten years from now, where would you want to see your music take you to?
Five years from now, I see my brand going beyond the shores of Nigeria where the name Frankeyz will have a foothold with international brands on the global stage. And I believe I will be going into other stuffs like music production and maybe a little business by the side. In all, I just know the future holds great promise for the brand called Frankeyz.
– PATRICK CHILAKA