NY producer and musician KING LEKAN is gearing up for his debut EP No Time next month. King Lekan has just released the EP’s lead single Give You All. We caught up with King Lekan to talk about his new music.
AC: Let’s talk about your new EP No Time. What does this body of work mean to you?
KING LEKAN – No Time means everything to me. It is like that first step that a child takes that makes him/her eager to continue to walk, and then before you know it, the child begins to run. I was having a conversation at the beginning of the pandemic with a friend, and that friend challenged me as to what was stopping me from releasing my personal project and that I am fully capable of shaking the industry as a result of my skills and experience. This conversation was what I needed to get up and get to work. Therefore, No Time to me means the time is now for the world and afrobeats industry especially, to see what else I have to offer musically aside from being behind the piano and directing music with their favorite artists. I have always been producing music but I have never taken the time to work on a full project to show that I am indeed capable of making great records. So, what’s a better project to work on than mine? Therefore, No Time is my elevator pitch to the music industry/afrobeats industry. And It’s only up from here.
AC: How about the lead single Give You All, how did that come about?
KING LEKAN – Give You All is a very special record to me because how everything happened is really God – not to sound cliché. I always wanted to work with Moelogo, and so I reached out to him in faith, he responded and we went to work. I sent him a few beats, he picked the least expected one (which was strange to me) but I never doubted his vision and skills, therefore, when he picked the beat that I least expected, I knew he had a plan for the record. Moelogo and I went back and forth with the record and Give You All came about – written & performed by Moelogo, produced by me. You see, sometimes in life, you meet certain people that just want to help you without any strings attached and Moelogo was and is one of those people. To me, God used him to help me get to the next level, and I thank God for that. Moe, if you are reading this, thank you!
AC: In the studio, do you have a fear you’d like to conquer?
KING LEKAN – Well, it’s not really a fear, but a feeling. So, I’d like to conquer the feeling of thinking I’m not good enough as an artist. Just to be clear, I know that I am great as an artist and a necessity for any artist, musician or producer to work with, because I know I bring something very unique to the table that no one else can, because I am that guy (not to sound pompous, but it’s the truth); but there is always that voice that always makes me almost doubt my abilities while working in the studio. So, I can start a whole track/record, almost finish it, then delete it and start another record. I’m weird like that. But I think it is a normal thing for most artists like myself trying to get their feet wet in a particular industry, but I never let that feeling affect me because I know I am King Lekan.
AC: What about outside of the studio?
KING LEKAN – Outside of the studio, I would like to conquer the spirit of always putting others first before myself without even thinking twice. You see, sometimes in life, you have to be selfish with yourself and look out for yourself more in order to fully advance because we live in a world where people just want to use you and drop you once they’ve received all they can from you and then come back again when they need you. I don’t mean to preach but you can cue to organ here. But jokes aside, I want to be able to still be selfless but also know when to look out for myself first when needed. Hey, I’m just saying, sometimes, I don’t want to be afraid to put myself first, and then bring you in after.
AC: Where does the creation of a song begin for you?
KING LEKAN – Well, I don’t really have any specific regimen while creating a song. So, usually just let the ideas flow as I hear it. As a pianist and music arranger, I usually start with a chord progression that comes to my head. But that’s not all the time. Most of the time, I already hear the end product in my head, so I just work towards the end product I hear in my head without thinking too deep.
AC: Who do you feel inspired by in the music industry?
KING LEKAN – I feel inspired by anyone in the industry who works hard constantly despite their level of success and also people who are always looking to bring up other people with them to share in their success. Therefore, people like DJ Khaled, Davido, Jay-Z and so on are artists that inspire me, not only because of their talent, but because of their hard work, drive and selfless nature to make sure everyone around them are also able to enjoy their success one way or the other. This is how I want to be once I get to that level. Also, music producers like SwizzBeatz, Pharrell and Timbaland who make timeless music inspire me because I also want to make timeless music that can cut through various cultures across the board and not just Africa.
AC: As a music artist, what are you still trying to learn?
KING LEKAN – Well, I am still trying to learn a whole lot. This industry is ever changing, with regards to music production, sounds, music business, etc. Therefore, all in all, I just want to be well rounded with regards to the industry as a whole, from the production aspect with regards to really digging deep into mixing, mastering and learning new production plugins to diving deep into the business aspect with respect to deals, various music laws and so on. Therefore, I am always reading and learning about anything pertaining to the music industry in general. So, I am still trying to learn anything learnable.
AC: How important is social media to you right now?
KING LEKAN – Social media is very important to me right now. It has become the driving force of an artist’s market and strategies. Therefore, with social media, I am able to promote my music, and I am able to see my demographic and connect with my supporters/fans and give them what they want to hear with regards to music and also produce content that allows them to get to know me as an artist and individual.
AC: Ahead of a gig, do you have any pre-show rituals?
KING LEKAN – Yes. I run around the dressing room 10 times (lol) – just Joking. Prayer and push-ups is my pre-show ritual. I like to stay healthy and stress-free normally by working out, therefore, push-ups take away the pre-show nervousness and prayers to the most high God gives me that confidence that all will be well.
AC: What’s the biggest realization you’ve had this past year?
KING LEKAN – The biggest realization I’ve had this past year is that success is a journey and not a destination, and also that you have the power within you to orchestrate your story, so make sure you tell your story how you want it to be written.
AC: What makes you feel nostalgic?
KING LEKAN – Nigerian High-Life music makes me feel nostalgic. There is just something about High-Life music that always makes me think about my childhood growing up in Festac, Lagos – Nigeria, and that is usually a great feeling.
AC: What do you want the world to look like in 10 years?
KING LEKAN – This might sound fictional, but I want the world to be totally free of hate so that everyone genuinely supports each other in peace and harmony. That is definitely a reach, but a wish. Anything can happen o!
AC: If you had the chance to put something on billboards worldwide next week, what would it be? Or what would it say?
KING LEKAN – It would say Black Lives Matter, and so does black artists – Listen to King Lekan’s No Time EP”. And my picture and EP cover will be on it. Straight like that!
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES