Ebuka Igbokwe, popularly known as HotBillz, is a an entrepreneur, dancer, recording artist, music producer, and record label executive. He tells Tosin Clegg about his journey into music, upcoming projects and more
Growing up wasn’t easy
I was born and brought up in Surulere, Lagos, from Igbokwe royal family of Nnewi. My life journey started with dancing, and my childhood dream was to be a star. I studied at Ansar-ud- Deen Grammar School Surulere and it was a place where you could find many talents. I learnt breakdancing in my school days, and was always going to the school hall to watch my seniors challenge themselves. It was so much fun. Then I started challenging other people and getting better with my dance moves. I joined a group called The Don Steppers. We used to go for shows all the time but never got paid. As the first child, I knew that can’t be the source of my income, so I started working for people after I finished my secondary school, but wasn’t earning enough. So, I decided to apply for schooling abroad, where I could work and pay my school fees. I got admission in Sydney and Kuala Lumpur. I chose Kuala Lumpur because it was cheaper and with time I meet my wife, got married and we had a son.
My childhood dream was to be a star but I can say I’m where God wants me to be. I love dancing as it’s the source of my happiness. So gradually I’m unfolding into the person I have always dreamt of becoming and with perseverance, hard work and commitment to my craft I would get to greater heights.
My journey into music
I grew up loving music because my mum was a singer. She taught us to always listen to music whenever we are down or sad. I feel connected to some music whenever I feel depressed, so I feel like using music to pass messages to people. And this more or less drove the inspiration and here we are today on a journey to making mind-blowing and heart-warming music.
Key elements in a good sound
The melody, the singer’s voice and the lyrics. When it’s easy and fun to sing, the chords perfectly support the melody, the lyrics resonate strongly with you, and everything seems wonderful about it. If all these are in place, then we can expect an amazing creation when it goes into production and when the song is completed.
My brand of music
I’m into Afrobeat, Hip Pop music and Electronic Dance music. They enable me to be expressive and spontaneous in such a way that I am not boxed into a particular pattern or vibe. Music is an economy of so many angles and if deployed well one would have a life-long hold on creating excellent contents and mind-blowing sounds.
Working with Byno on my debut project ‘Good Life’
I knew Byno back in the days when we were dancers, and seeing who he has become now made me desire more to make good music with him. He is a man of many talents and yet he seeks for more knowledge, I think he is that musical genius that the world is yet to feel his messages. Working on this E.P, I intend to collaborate with fantastic and amazing musicians as well. And in this E.P, various genres of music would come into play and it won’t be void of conscious contents. The Good Life EP is one all my fans need to look out for, as by its name and theme, it promises so much to ponder on and vibe to.
The challenge of music in Nigeria
The challenge of music in Nigeria is just the lack of resources and that is to be able to help the rare talents that are out there, that don’t have the funds to share their talents with the world. That to me is a major problem, as we have no platforms to encourage talents and sometimes they wear off the person. He will then seek means of livelihood elsewhere. But if a system can be structured, then it would help a lot of people get the exposure they desire and get to have music as a means of livelihood.
I draw inspirations from people around me as well as from my surroundings, personal experiences and all. I try to be very intentional when creating and that’s why I have the ever resourceful vocalist, Byno in my corner to always come through with fantastic lyrics, melody and structure. Music generally is something I could refer to as food for the mind and soul and if well-digested, it lifts one up. That’s why it’s paramount for me to always do it right.
Musical influences and role models
I have quite a long list of people I’m influenced by and I would also love to work with them on as many projects as possible. They are: Kizz Daniel, Tekno, P Square, Larry Gaage, 2Face, Byno, Davido, Wizkid, Teni, Rudeboy (Paul), Masterkraft, Caution Lxe, Simi, Burna Boy, Flavour, Phyno, Tiwa Savage and Olamide
I see myself achieving my dreams
My Goal is to reach the hearts of people all around the world with good music and t