Interview with DJ Spinall

DJ Spinall is the mastermind behind many trades, his expansive legacy is built from his exceptional artistry as a DJ, producer and artist. These different avenues contribute to his depth as an artist, as he hears music through many different hats. His ear for music, both as a DJ and artist allows him to get a comprehensive insight into music, which directly feeds into his sound. 

Among one of the pioneers of the Afrobeat scene, Nigerian native, DJ Spinall, plays an integral role in the outreach of the genre and his music has travelled the breadth of the globe. His latest venture dips into a cross genre fusion as he joins forces with dancehall legend Kranium on their collaboration ‘Everytime’. The Afrobeat backdrop collides seamlessly with the vocals of Kranium and the music video has been viewed 1.1 million times and landed on the Official Afrobeats Chart in the UK. This is no fluke, his constancy as an artist is exceptional and to date his music has been streamed over 100 million times and his visuals have surpassed over 55 million views.

The depth of his music catalogue will have you constantly unearthing new gems and his culture rich sound is prevalent at the core of his artistry. He has collaborated with the likes of Wizkid and Tiwa Savage on ‘Dis Love’, as well as that he teamed up with Kojo Funds on their international link up ‘What Do You See’. Last year he also appeared on Beyonce’s documentary ‘The Lion King: The Gift’.  

A visionary, DJ Spinall, has helped amplify the sound of Afrobeats on a global scale. His name is recognised internationally and his profile has continued to build. He was the first African DJ to perform at SXSW and Glastonbury last year and he was also announced as ‘official DJ’ for the BET Awards in LA. 

We had a chance to catch up with DJ Spinall following the release of his insanely infectious track ‘Everytime’. Read on to hear more about the inspiration behind his the single, collaborating with Kojo Funds and his list of Lagos based artists you should watch out for!

You’ve just released your single ‘Everytime’ featuring Kranium, what was the inspiration behind the single?
Just personal experiences & purely good vibes. We just wanted the ladies to know that we hear them. We love a confident woman! 

How did the collaboration come into fruition? 
I met Kranium a few years ago in Uganda and we became friends from there and we’ve made so much music since then. “Everytime” is just one of a few hits that we have in the vault.

What was the recording and creative process like? 
Kranium is a super gifted musician but he is so humble with his talent and that made the collab fun and beautiful. He came up with the melodies and I wrote the song. 

Delving deeper into your incredible music discography, a stand out collaboration for us, was ‘What Do You See’ with Kojo Funds last year, how did that collaboration form?
Man like Kojo!!! That’s my bro! Genuine great guy. I actually reached out to him directly and he responded with so much love. We didn’t waste any time getting into the studio and recording that hit! 

From your music discography, for you, what was the most exciting collaboration or moment for you in music?
Oh no. LOL. I can’t answer that. All my records are all uniquely special and mean different things to me. They all excite me! That’s the honest truth. 

As a Nigerian DJ, is it important to you to bridge the gap between the music market in West Africa and the UK?
Absolutely. I love being able to curate music that connects audiences and talents across the world. It’s actually one of the biggest highlights of my job.

What would you say the main differences are in the West African music scene to that of the UK?
Well, UK music is very broad. There’s grime, pop, hip hop.. the list goes on. Whereas in West Africa, people are primarily bumping to Afrobeats. 

What stand out artists should we be looking out for, both from your home city Lagos and any up and coming artists in the UK, that may have caught your attention?
In Lagos, I’m keeping a close watch on Omah Lay, Crayon, Oxlade, Ceeza, RAYBEKAH and in the UK, I’m really liking Dolapo, DDB, Shaybo, Simba and so many others. 

As a trailblazer in the afrobeat scene, what are the key qualities you look for within artists of that genre?
Character, Discipline, Hard Work & Talent. 

Who are your dream collaborations? 
I would love to collaborate with anyone who has genuine passion for what they do.

You became the first African DJ to perform at SXSW and Glastonbury last year, what was the experience like?
It was amazing. Every opportunity where I’m the ‘first’ is always incredibly humbling. It still feels unbelievable and I can’t wait to do it again!

How did the Covid restrictions affect your plans for this year? Have you found new ways to connect with fans and artists alike due to the guidelines?
All our tours were cancelled. We have been doing a lot of virtual recordings. Just like everybody else, I’m adapting to the new world. 

What are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months? 
My 5th studio album!

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