Two things you’ll always see him wearing: a Bandana and a warm smile — the man exudes positive energy. Why? How does he do it? We talked about values, challenges and what you do when you’re stressed out and can’t take it anymore. Here’s our Festoli Focus Series interview with Eazy Bob Wizzy:
What’s your name, what do you do?
My name is Nabem Ezekiel Iornem aka Eazy Bob Wizzy which is actually 2 people depending on who you want to meet today. Nabem is a businessman, marketing strategist, does lots of things and writes for Eazy and does creative direction for him while Eazy Bob Wizzy is just a lazy artist who waits for Nabem to do everything then he will just come out and tie bandana and shout “Yo! This E-A-Z to the Y, B-O-B-W-I-Z-Z-Y let’s go!”
Lol, so when was Eazy Bob Wizzy born?
EBW was born after my first studio session ever. That was when I knew: “I am doing this music thing.” It was at Sound Time studios. We had made our plans and gathered our funds on the 28 of August 2008. I and my goons: Tu-Strent, Danny Rymez, Gabriello and Young Ben aka Big Money. So, we were in there working, we were going in and out and when we were done for the day we were like, “Guy this thing no easy but e dope!” It was new, exciting, everything. When we were leaving, clouds had gathered and there was no bus to take us from Station to Television. That day, we walked/jogged/ran from Station area to Command junction in the drizzling rain and from there waited out the rest of the rain and still trekked home. When I got home there was rice and vegetable soup with meat. I was soaked, my phone was faulty but it didn’t matter. All I could think of was: we went to the studio, made dope songs and I want this to be my life. So many things happened that day that could discourage someone but all I could see were possibilities. If I could repeat that day I’ll do it over and over and over again. It was exciting. See, that was one of the best days of my life, though not the best music but… [laughs]
What has changed?
That Eazy Bob Wizzy wanted to make music for fun and to make money with no moral compass surrounding his music – just make music people will like and will make money. EBW right now? He makes music for himself, the kind he will like to listen to years from now. What has changed is the focus. EBW of today wants to make an impact, with or without the music.
If you were to choose 3 values that guide your music what would they be?
Honesty: Be true to yourself and others. Be the best version of you – do not compromise who you are.
Excellence: I believe God is angry when we do mediocre stuff –we are abusing the gifts we’ve been given when we do mediocre stuff. We’re all learning so that’s different but when you give your best you have inner peace and you know that what you just did is excellence.
Love: That’s what covers and makes everything because without love nothing really exists. Love defines my music. Love for yourself, love for your craft, love for your fellow man and love for God.
What project are we looking forward to this year?
This year my PlaylistMixtapeEPAlbum ‘Where is Eazy?’ will drop. It has to drop this year. Then I might do a show or two – I love live shows.
Why are live shows/performances important?
Live shows are very, very important, man. As a fan I feel more connected to an artist when I listen live and experience the music, it feels like this guy is talking directly to me right now. As an artist, I feel there is a connection in the room and I can explain stuff. I love connecting. That’s why I have a platform where I can connect with my fans (The Bread Gang) and share news, answer questions and all that.
Was there ever a time you wanted to give up? What made you keep going?
Sometime last year I wasn’t in the right place. Started doubting myself, like… “Guy I suppose do this music so?” then from nowhere somebody messaged me about how my music (2016 album) was for him and I was like “wow, what?” If I have gotten to one person through my music then that is enough for me. God just has a way of showing up and showing off, man. It was nice.
Personally, what are you working on this year?
I’m really working self-discipline this year. When I set deadlines for myself I want to deliver on or before the deadline. If I was signed by a major record label and they tell me to deliver before August 14 so we can release this thing by November 15, I would do it if not I would miss whatever is meant to happen in November. But since Nabem is the owner I just look at him and say, “guy, you’ll set another date abeg.” I had to get one of my guys to be my accountability partner. I tell him my targets, he tells me his and if either of us doesn’t meet the deadline, he’ll give the other person 5k and that kind of thing. I need, need self-discipline so that’s what I’m working on right now.
You have a team but you do a lot of management yourself, how do you handle it?
I enjoy the non-musical aspect. For me, it’s just living. I think I am living as an artist so it just works for me. If I have more people to help it will be better because I’ll have less to worry about. Every other thing is fun, but it gets stressful when you have to multitask and do stuff at the same time. I don’t like being stressed when I want to make music, and all these other jobs are jobs that can stress me.
And when you are stressed, how do you handle it?
I retreat. Like Neo stopping the bullets in the Matrix, I just stop everything and study the Word and look for verses, sermons, articles that help me get rest. You can’t give what you don’t have. So when I feel empty it is actually a good thing because I can retreat, top-up and give again. I think, no I know that’s what God wants – for us to give, go back, get full and give again. But when you retreat people think you are “forming.” They do not care about the artist; they just want more music, more content. They don’t understand.
What is the role of social media to an artist now?
Social media is very important. I wouldn’t be where I am today without social media. I started taking it seriously in 2013; like proper studying and asking questions. How are artists using the internet? What are they doing differently that we are not doing here? I started seeing consistency in brand imaging like, you go to someone’s IG page and it has a certain a feel. You go to other pages and it’s confusing but with some others, there’s a view, a theme. I study single release posts and customize them to my style. SM has cut out most of the industry gatekeepers – they hate it. Some people didn’t like Teni because she didn’t need all that – when the time came she already had the fans and the bargaining chip. SM is dope and distracting but you need to know how to handle it. Still, it is important for any artist or business.
Share with us some of the challenges of being an artist right now:
First of all, iTunes does not exist anymore, I thought I was going to break iTunes one day. I want to say it takes time, to reach the amount and type of people you want, who are willing to pay for the value you are offering. Patience will help you with this but it’s difficult. KD don improve. It used to be that people did not know why they should pay artists for their work. Even other artists did not know why they should pay fellow artists for their contribution to their work – even if you cannot pay financially, there are other ways.
Speaking of collaboration, how is it going?
The state of collaboration is good right now but maybe it is because I am EBW, for someone else it might be different. People are always willing to create. I delay a lot of people’s work but I am working on it. Everybody is willing to collaborate but there is a lot of hidden beef (Side note: please if you are having beef with me let me know). We also really, really need to work on this North-South thing. It is one KD, na only bridge separate us, no be wall. It can be better, like far better.
But you seem to avoid most of the beef? How?
I like to ignore. Sometimes it doesn’t concern you and it does not concern them either. Sometimes you do not have to respond. If I have something to tell you I will call you and tell you; social media is not for that. It is for promoting me and my music – any other thing is a waste of time. Controversy always finds people though; I don’t know how I am doing it.
Finally, what is your advice to creatives out there?
I am mentoring some people even if they won’t admit it, you know yourselves. My advice is that life is different for everybody. No matter how you are navigating life, whether fast or slow, you cannot jump or skip a step. This is your path, stay there. Love God. Most people don’t want to hear it but fall in love with God. I don’t think there is any other way to know your purpose than to meet who designed you. That’s what’s up. And exhibit excellence every day.