AbdulMajid Aliyu Z, alias Zayn Africa, is one of the fast-rising Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer. The 26-year-old artist signed by Yaran North Side, YNS, record label is a Computer Engineering graduate of Bayero University Kano, BUK. In this interview with DAILY NIGERIAN, Mr Aliyu shares his passion, experiences as well as where he hopes to see himself in the music world.
How did you come about the name Zayn Africa?
Zayn means Servant of God, handsome & a King. I have the desire to become all, that’s how I came by the name.
How would you describe your art?
My music is avant-garde, known to be very modern, romantic and accessible which is easy to understand and enjoy.
Tell us a little about your debut album “The Relationship” and why the title?
My debut album “The relationship” consisting of 11 tracks which were released in 2017 is a concept album whose tracks hold a larger purpose collectively achieved through a single central lyrical theme “Romance”. Humans make love & sometimes break up to makeup, that’s a circle of Romanticism which explains the title of my debut album “The Relationship”. Album tracks include Saurara, Don’t cry, Don’t Cry Remix (ft. Babsin), Kece On My Mind, Mamanmu, Mamanmu remix (ft. Dj AB & Feezy), Kishiya (ft. Feezy), Kije Gida, You Want It (ft. Dj AB & Feezy), Ki Dawo, Banga Wata Ba.
Why the choice of Hausa as the primary language of your art?
Nigeria has been a country with less tribalism. Every language is communicable just not as universal as Yoruba, Igbo & Hausa. Most importantly though, I’m very fluent in speaking Hausa that’s why I made it my primary language of art.
What inspires you? Do you write yourself? Do you have any form of music training?
I was born with the talent of music, and it wants to get out, it’s like an instinct I cannot control. Even when I didn’t have the instrument I would fantasize detailed guitar solos in my head even on the crappiest pop song and enjoy singing along anything sing-able. I write my own songs. I don’t really have any form of musical training, it is something I was born with, not attained later.
It is believed that for you to be a commercial success (appeal to audiences across Nigeria) you have to be in Lagos, do you believe this and do you have any such plans?
I used to believe this in the past but I don’t believe it anymore with the way music has grown & excelled in the digital world. The internet has taken music to a different level where you get to commercialize, promote & become successful from wherever you are. Thanks to Google, Apple Music & the news platforms in Nigeria.
The entertainment industry is noted for having the top few making all the money. So, to what extent does your music pay the bills?
Music has been paying my bills through talent shows, events performances, music featuring & productions.
Every venture has its highs and lows; what will you say is the highest point of your music career so far?
Well! I now have my own copyrights which help protect my work. Another thing of joy is having verified globally on Google & some of the world commercial musical platforms like AudioMack & Spotify as a Nigerian musical artist which helps my work become globally accessible & quickly searchable on the internet; and lastly, being interviewed by the biggest Nigerian news platform ‘dailynigerian.com’.
And what are the challenges?
Working hard is a challenge for me. I’m not the only upcoming musician in Nigeria, I sometimes can’t sleep at night thinking if I don’t wake up to create super music to hit the chart, someone out there is working to beat it, so I have to put in work all the time. Also! Here in the Northern part of Nigeria, not every society welcomes music, it’s hard to cope with societal differences.
What next after “The relationship”? Videos? New album?
Yes! I’m working on my new upcoming Album consisting of tracks narrating about Life (The ups & downs), being patient with it, and how to get over its pressure.
Finally, what is your long term objective(s) with your music career?
My long term objective with my music career is to be able to support myself 100% in music; to write, record & release top-10 pop and R&B songs for the next five to ten years. Create a record label of my own to sign & help upcoming acts. Every week, I commit to doing something that inspires me musically.
As a millennial, how do you use social media in the pursuance of your goal?
As a millennial, I use social media to pursue my goal by connecting with people who can help me spread the word about my music. I always try to find the type of content that seems to really resonate with my fans. I pay attention to what people seem to like, and what proves beneficial for my music, then create more content like that.