With his name gradually opening doors and his songs gaining recognition, Tobi Laud is definitely one of the new acts on the block to look out for. Although he’s been in the industry for a while, many are just beginning to vibe to his sound and take recognition of his unique sounds .
In this interview with music critic and writer, Edaki Timothy, Tobi Laud discusses his art, his music, sound and what the future holds for him. He also talks a bit about his personal life, relationships and growing up. Like the sense of braggadocio that accompanies all artistes, he says he is coming for the top.
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Read the interview below:
The name Tobi Laud, how did you come about it it?
I’m going to take you back a bit, before I used to sing, my name used to be ‘Bazz’, don’t ask me the spelling. Most people used to take me for a rapper, because it sounded like a rapper’s name. So, I changed it to Tobi Laud, because a lot of persons said I’m loud. I’m talking about the pitch. In fact, sometimes it gets too loud. When I sing it’s always audible and loud, so I thought, why don’t I just add this to my name?
But then I had this twist to it, that instead of the L.O.U.D, you have L.A.U.D. It’s however, basically still the same thing.
So, did you always think or know that you wanted to do music or it was something that just came across the line?
I didn’t think I was going to do music professionally. In fact, I didn’t think I could sing till I was in like JSS1 or 2, because I went to a Catholic school and you know how Catholics are with their songs. So, that’s where I found out I could sing; seniors liked me and sh*t. They’ll go like, “Ahh, Tobi, come and sing this song for us. Come and sing this hymn for us.” But then it was just still me having fun with music, nothing serious, until I got into the university and then, in 200 level, I had friends that were singing and stuff.
One of them – a rapper, one day was like, “Guy, help me take my hook. Just dey on top the chorus.” So, I decided to try, because before then, I had never really recorded anything. I tried and it really made sense. In school then, the song was all over the place and so I decided to give this thing a try, and Tobi Laud was born.
Still going back, in 2018, you released ‘Benz’, what would you say inspired the song?
There is indeed a lot behind ‘Benz’. When I wrote ‘Benz’, there was a lot happening at that time. In fact, its still happening now. There’s a lot of pressure on young people of this generation to make it. We feel like “my guy just did this, my guy just did that.” We don’t even have an idea of how they got that car or stuff. We just want to have the same thing. We just want people to notice us that we’re there.
And then, I was doing music and it was like “bro, are you sure you’re not doing the wrong thing? Go and make good money.” That’s what the song was about, that the koko of life is happiness because that’s the way I see life.
I’m the kind of person that I don’t need to wait for a big break before I ball hard. I don’t need to blow before I start to enjoy my life. So, that song was basically letting people know that let’s calm down and stuff.
In essence, you’re the “enjoy life, problem no dey finish kind of person?”
Exactly. You get. E no dey finish oo.
Since the release of your last project, It only Gets Lauder Vol. 1, you’ve been on a sort of break, a hiatus. We’ve not heard anything from you. We know that you have a song coming September 4th. Is there, however, a reason behind the long pause?
I wouldn’t say I’m resting. When it comes to music, there’s really no break. Basically, when you drop a project, especially if as in my case, it’s a debut work, I wanted to let that sink, so I don’t bombard people with too much music from me at one time. And then you need to calculate your next move, note how people are reacting to your sound and all that. So, it’s not like I was resting or anything, I was just watching the space.
To ask a funny question, your debut EP, It only Gets Lauder Vol. 1, how would you rate and describe the project in all honesty and without bias.
I’ll say the EP is a standard work and it cuts across varied genres in music. I wasn’t just trying to make people dance. I was giving something rich. I started with ‘One Life’ which is telling folks to push and keep pushing, to strive for that ultimate goal. And it’s also for the frustrated creative who feels like “God how far, why am I still where I am?”
The album is relatable and it’s something one can easily put on repeat. It is not too many things going on at once, so I’ll give the album a seven, a strong seven over ten.
There’s the notion that Tobi Laud sounds too similar in all his songs and sounds. How would you react to that?
I’ll say there’s nothing totally wrong in all that. The way it goes, if you hear a Rema song, you easily know it’s Rema singing or trapping. So, it’s a good thing, because it helps you create a unique voice in the industry. However, I don’t think all my sounds are similar. I try to infuse a lot of other things into my song and sound that makes each song sort of different from the next.
What genre would you say you peddle as an artiste?
I don’t like to limit myself to a particular genre, but I’ll say Afro-fusion. And why I say Afro-fusion iss because I infuse a lot of things into my sound and to my Afro vibe. You probably have heard some EDM songs that I’ve done. There’s Afro-pop, Afro-soul, RnB and all that. I also try to do this Afro Amapiano thing. There’s so much going on. I don’t want to give out too much, but yeah, Afro-fusion basically. I don’t want to streamline my music to one genre or all that.
September 4th, there’s a new song coming out, Come Closer. Give us an idea, a feel of what the song is.
‘Come closer’ yeah. I’ll be dropping it with a video, so I think that should shed more light on the whole thing. It’s a song that has to do with you falling in love, shutting your eyes and ears to the stuffs happening around you.
Is that you own love story?
No no. That’s not my love story. The song is based on people’s experience. I don’t know if you know it, but come closer was a freestyle from some years back. My team heard the song and they were like, “guy, how far this jam?” They were like, “this is good, let’s make it a song”, and that’s how the song came to be. The song is you taking a stand and saying yes, to that relationship, even if there’s a lot of no from others, and there are friends hating. The video brings out a whole new twist. The audience will love it, I’m certain.
Going forward, which artistes are you looking at working with in the nearest future?
If you’ve been following my Twitter, you’ll know that I have this thing for Mayorkun, like there’s something about Mayorkun’s sound that I feel if you put it with mine would be magical. He’s one artiste I’ll love to work with.
And then, there’s Teni Makanaki. I’ve been a big fan of Teni even before ‘Fake Jersey’; from the days when she was just dropping freestyles and alll that. And then there’s Wande Coal, he’s like the oga at the top.
What would you say is your biggest win as an Artiste?
The biggest for me, I don’t really know which I’ll refer to as the biggest. But one event that has happened to keep me pushing, there was a time Shizzi, the producer ‘DMed’ me when I just dropped Kanipe and said he was impressed with the song.
There was also a time that Teni ‘DMed’ me and said she liked my music and I should keep pushing. These things spur me on. And sometimes my performances at event. There was this time, a performance I had last year that made me feel, “oh bro, if you can do this thing, then there are big things coming your way.”
With the lockdown, a number of artistes have taken to learning a new skill. What have you learnt during this lockdown?
I’ve learnt my way around some software, basically for editing and producing. Now, I can sit in my room, record my sound and send it to for mixing and better production. Also, I’ve been able to improve on my writing.
Since you mentioned writing, what would you say is your greatest strength as an artiste? Songwriting or singing?
I would say it’s my melody. I just get a sound and just jump on it, begin to vibe and enjoy myself, mumble stuffs and just put the shit out there. So, I’ll say my greatest strength is getting that proper vibe that is soothing to everyone, to every listener out there. I know I am good at that. It comes really easy to me, then I go back and write and expand the whole thing.
Relationship? Any lady in the picture?
That part of my life I don’t like to put it out there, because I feel like, “Tobi Laud, e just dey start oo.” Some people enjoy their relationship life low-key, others don’t, so that part of my life is low-key at the moment.
Your opinion on an artiste place in social change?
There are some artists who take it upon themselves to make conscious music and stuff that can help to rebuild. However, I don’t think an artiste should just sit there and do nothing. You’re the influential person, so you should be out there. With the platform we have, it is only right that you use your platform to push yourself out there and own the issue, not just for your country but on a global scale. Yeah, I’m all for that.
Who would you say is your favorite between Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido?
The three of them are all good musicians. This is a tight spot really, but I’ve always been a big fan of Wizkid. I love Wizkid. I love Davido. I love Burna Boy. They are all very brilliant artistes, but I’m a big Wizkid fan. I’ll however say, me going into music was more of a Davido influence than a Wizkid thing. Davido was one of the persons that made me say, “oh this music thing, I can do this.” But I’m more a Wizkid person.
Favourite Wizkid and Davido song.
For Wizkid, it is ‘Thank you‘. For Davido, I’m not too sure but it should be ‘Like Dat.’
What’s the future for Tobi Laud? Say 5 years from now.
I don’t think I’m ever going to be an alternative act. First of all, I like to be in people’s face. I like to create an impression every time I come around. Next five years, I want to have taken over a lot of space in Africa, the UK and the US. As difficult as going foreign might be, I am looking to penetrate that market and with my team I am certain of success.
Let’s get back to your music and sound, what inspires your music?
I get my inspiration from different things. It could come from conversations with people, while talking or listening. Next thing, I’m writing about it. Sometimes, I could be in my studio like this and something simple just happens and I feel the need to document it. Basically, an inspiration for me is God-given. It could come when I’m praying or something like that.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done to you?
Yeah, there was one time. I was performing ‘Medina’ on stage and a girl came on and was dancing and grinding me. Like I didn’t even know her. So, I felt like, okay I don’t know this person and all that. The same day, while I was leaving the stage, someone came and gave me a plate of chicken. I didn’t expect that but I really appreciated it.
What would you say makes your sound different from what is obtainable out there?
For Tobi Laud, what I am certain about is the chemistry between my vocals and message. There is almost no song you’ll hear from Tobi Laud that you won’t hear me trying to sing my heart out. I put every energy I have into any song. Such that at the end of the day, there’s someone out there who can totally enjoy the song and relate to it. And there’s my voice and how I like to bring back my old sounds, then mix with the new. You’ll find that a lot in my EP.
Upcoming artistes you’ll love to work with.
I don’t know if Fireboy should be in this list now, considering his status now, but definitely Fireboy. There’s Bella Shmurda. I’m in love with his sound and there’s Oxlade. These three artistes, I look forward to working with them.
With the number of albums being released weekly, Fireboy’s Apollo, Adekunle Gold, Afro-Pop Vol. 1, Burna Boy’s Twice As Tall, DJ Cuppy, Original Copy, which would you say is your favorite and which do you think could have been better?
First off, all the albums have been smashing. Fireboy’s Apollo is definitely number one for me. The album is a standard and the writing is neat and mature. The one I however, feel like could have been better would be Adekunle Gold’s Afro-pop. I listened to his first project, Gold and that album is pure gold. This one however, good as it is, it could have been better.
Any final words for the growing Tobi Laud fans?
I want to thank my fans and like you asked, if there’s anyone thinking I went on a break, I didn’t. There’s no break for Tobi Laud. I want to thank them for their support. They’ve been very helpful. Even without promo sometimes, my songs still do their numbers.
Also, I’m the Laudest in Africa and I am coming for the top and the crown, so watch out. Photo Credit: Getty