Song-writing is serious business. So is the art of performance itself. Born Kingsley Uche Ehilegbu, this young singer-songwriter is aware of his strength as well as weaknesses in music. “I write rap but I don’t perform it,” he said at the lunch table in a restaurant in the upscale Lagos mainland neighbourhood of Ikeja GRA, where he was sought out. He had toyed with the idea of playing bass guitar but he decided that his strength is really in song-writing.
Of course, he didn’t start his career with song-writing. As a young secondary school student in Ogudu Grammar School in Lagos, he wasn’t just another bookworm. He and his friends in school stepped out of the box occasionally to perform covers for popular songs during school gigs. Getting famous, they selected a name for the group Ultimate Guys. It was a much-needed comfort zone, having lost his father as a young boy living in Bourdillon Street in the upmarket Ikoyi neighbourhood of Lagos.
Moving to the less affluent Ojotaneighbourhood to start a new life after the loss came with its perks, one of which was music. In time, the group began writing their own songs.
“Our first single back then was Dansia till everyone decided to go solo,” he recalled.
He loves telling stories through his songs but then he doesn’t think freestyling is an entirely bad idea.
“I don’t think there is any harm in free styling to make hits. But if you listen to my songs, you will know that the words are carefully put together. There is always a story there,” he said and on the request of his reporter-guest, he played one of his newly recorded songs.
Speaking on music collaborations, he revealed that there are still many established artists who are offering to feature their vocals on emerging artists songs for free to give the latter a break in music. He was fortunate to get Timaya on one of his tracks, “Give Her”.
“Give her what?” this reporter asked and he laughed mischievously before responding, “When you listen to the song, you will understand.” It was just an attempt to imitate Ellen Degeneres, a day time show host in the US, who sometimes feigned ignorance to create humour.
Apart from Timaya, he also had the good fortune of collaborating with Skales in the song titled, “Baby”. Another song he called “Skunkin dance” is a self-created dance challenge with the video shot by the phenomenal Clarence Peters. Other songs include “Badman”, “Tears and Fears” and “Some More”.
Still working hard in the studio for a possible hit song, he has recently recorded songs such as “Come Through” working with a wide range of producers like Yung Dee, Smoking Tunes, Funny Tunes and Pixie.
Kingsboi is not discouraged by the delay into stardom. Like many fresh artists, he has had to perform for free in his earlier days but now he is also giving back into where he came from.
“If I see talent in a young artist that wants me to feature on his track, I will do it for free,” he said.
He said Davido is one of the music artists who have been very helpful to new artists in their studio work.
Kingsboi has performed at a reggae concert in Ghana as one of the few Afropop artists on the list of headliners. He has been a regular face at such Lagos-based fun spots as D’ Place, Club Royale, Club Uno, Vertigo Bar in Elegushi and Babcock University in Ogun State.