Tobechukwu ‘Twizzy’ Rodney Ukairo is Nigeria’s latest afropop/dancehall
sensation. Born on the 19th of May, 1996, the Abia State indigene has his eyes and gaze permanently fixed on the top.
Twizzy began to develop an inclination towards music at the age
of 10, after recording his first song, using some less than
professional equipment. He sent the song to his classmates and was
pleased to receive multiple encouraging reactions and feedback,
which gave him the drive and impetus to continue practicing writing and
performing music throughout his secondary school days.
After his secondary education, he moved to Canada for his
A-levels at Columbia International College. Thereafter, he
returned to the UK where he studied the science of music and
music production at Oxford Brookes University, graduating with a
BSc (Hons), Sound Technology and Digital Music in December
Twizzy is currently based in Lagos and signed to Radio Love
Records. He opened up to YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine’s ANN OKWOLOGU in an exclusive interview on where he’s headed next.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Tobechukwu Ronnie Ukairo, I make music and I am from Abia State.
Your stage name Twizzy, how did you come about it?
It used to be Twist before, and as a human being, I feel I’m twisted, so after some time, I decided to change it to Twizzy.
When did you start your musical career?
I started making music when i was in JSS 2, I was about 10 years old then, so it’s been about 10 years now.
What got you interested in music?
To be realistic, it’s girls! I was first trying to get attention, then I realized that I’m naturally good at it, so I tried to learn more. There was a particular girl, though she doesn’t know the story; that I was trying to have a common ground to talk to and I realized she was into music, so I made a song and sent it through my classmate. It was cool and so I felt I should try it.
Did you eventually date her?
Yes, but not with that; it wasn’t even a music thing at the end of the day.
What’s your genre of music?
Afro pop, that’s the most natural for me.
What projects have you been doing or have you done so far, musically that is?
I’m just coming in with my first single, which I just dropped. I have shot the video, I shot it in the UK and it should be coming out soon. I want to have a clean introduction before I introduce it to corporate bodies. We have about seven songs we are exploring at the moment and I don’t want them to be unnecessarily long. I want real good songs, so we are featuring only one for this project.
Do you mind telling us about the seven songs you are working on?
They are all about love, apart from that they are energetic songs. I am giving all my energy to this project. I want to introduce myself properly.
Which is your hit track?
My hit track is my next track, (laughs) it’s any track I drop next, though for now it is ‘For The Gram’. Twizzy for the Gram…
Having schooled in the UK, why didn’t you start your music career over there? Why wait till you got to Nigeria?
I had to think it through for a while. I wanted to make sure that I started on a good foundation because of what people always say about foundation and home being the best. Your foundation has to be strong. I also feel that Nigeria is where I can get my most authentic vibe from because I am Nigerian.
Do you think you will be more accepted here than in the UK?
I don’t know, but it’s not about acceptance. I just want to be real and I think this is where I can get the best vibes.
Your single is trending out there, how does that make you feel and how did the song come about?
I am happy that it is taking shape and people are beginning to feel and appreciate the song. The song was actually what I was feeling in the studio. I will give you the break down: the world we live in now is about social media, the Instagram is a new world that people now exist in. Nowadays take pictures, people will like your picture and you will think they are showing you real love. People who get lost in the social media hype most times are girls; so in a way of making it sound like fun, girls go the extra mile to impress the world and they are doing it for love. So For The Gram is all about how people flow on instagram.
Which artistes are you looking forward to working with?
Locally, I would like to work with Burna Boy, Mr Easi; they are the best Nigerian music artistes to me at the moment.
Are you interested in working with any female artiste?
For female artistes, I would want to work with Simi, I love Simi’s music.
What of international artistes?
Future; he is one of my favorite artistes.
What challenges are you facing in the industry right now?
I feel I am going through the regular process of trying to be heard, that is the challenge for now. I just want people to give me a chance, once they listen, it’s over.
Considering your age, did your parents complain when you started wearing dreadlocks?
It started as an afro, then rough afro, then twisted and it became dread. By then it was too late to stop. My mom tried making a comment, but she didn’t fret over it.
Can you remember the particular thing she said?
When I came back one day, I tried to hug her and she was like, this hair? So, I feel if that is all I’m getting, I’m good then.
Your most embarrassing moment?
I have a lot; one happened when I was in high school, I was running to my class because I was late and there was water all over the floor so I slipped for like 10 seconds and hit my head on the wall. Fortunately, there was no one there.
What is your fashion style?
Cozy, comfortable, unique, try to stand out.
What’s your favourite colour?
It switches, it was pink some days ago, but now, it’s yellow.
What makes it switch?
It’s my eyes. When I look at colours, some of them light up my brain. Colours hit me in a weird way.
What is your favourite dish?
Right now, it’s spaghetti and stew and plantain, with some kind of meat, chicken, turkey.
Are you in a relationship?
No, I am single.
How do you handle female fans?
They are friends, they are fans, they are supporters and I love all of them.
What do you fancy in a girl?
The first thing I see is her smile, then if we can keep a smooth conversation and if it doesn’t feel as if I’ forcing the flow; if it flows naturally.
Can you remember the first time you fell in love?
No, I am still trying to figure out what love means. I have never fallen in love and I don’t think that a lot of us know what love is.
Have you ever had a girlfriend?
Yes, I have.
And you didn’t feel any love for her?
I don’t think it’s love; we were young. It’s just an idea of being in love and we rushed into it.
What do you have cooking next for your fans?
Lot of visuals, lot of music. I am just trying to let them see the intro, but I’m not slowing down after this. I am taking my time with the intro.
Most music artistes indulge in drugs, why is this so?
I feel their pain, it’s an individual thing, and I can’t speak for them, i can only speak for myself.
Have you ever done drugs before?
No, music is my drug; when i make music and when I see people’s reaction, I feel high.
If not music, what other thing would you have been doing?
So, entertainment generally?
Yes, I like entertainment.
Was there any objection from your parents when you told them you wanted to embrace music?
When I hinted my dad, I was still young and he was like, it’s a cute thing; you want to be a musician and it kept on going. So, it was not hard to support me because they had been supporting me.
Some kids tell their parent they want to go in music and they are prevented, how do you feel having the support of your parents?
I don’t take it for granted. I think they know. I love you guys, I appreciate you a lot, thank you so much. I try to paint a scenario where it could have been the other way, so I appreciate them for the support.
I’m sure you have been told that you look good; how do you cope with female attention, do they disturb you and if yes, how do you avoid them?
I just try to be real with girls, so you will know when it is real or lust. Don’t let it go too just be real with your feeling
A shout out to your fans…
I love you guys, I am still trying to make this grow and spread, so, please, when you listen to my songs, help me share it with friends.
Twitter – @DopemanTwizzy
Instagram – @DopemanTwizzy