Nigerian Afro-dancehall artiste King Perryy, listed as one of the fastest-rising acts in the genre, had a double celebration last Wednesday: it was his birthday and also the day on which he dropped his début album, Citizen of The World, on all digital-streaming platforms.
When he spoke to The Sunday Gleaner on Thursday, he was still on cloud nine, having partied the night away in Lagos.
“It is just amazing and overwhelming. I have been working on this album [for] three years now, and it means the world to me to be able to present the finished product,” he declared.
Citizen of The World, he says, has a deep meaning. “ Citizen of the World is a mind state, an identity bringing people together. But before you become a citizen of the world, you have to be aware of yourself, your environment. Global citizenship is something we need to talk about. The moment we see the world’s problem as our problem, the world will begin to change for the better. We can start by being our brother’s keeper,” he preached.
His philosophy can, in fact, be traced to his upbringing. A quick scan of King Perryy’s bio reveals an intriguing statement. “A former seminary student who once studied to become a Catholic priest, King Perryy has carved a path as one of Nigeria’s most ambitious young artistes since dropping his breakthrough single Man on Duty (featuring Timaya) in 2018.”
With a chuckle, he explained how his path diverged from the hallowed chants of ‘Hail Marys’ to the edgy sounds of dance-pop music. It all started with his parents sending him from a young age to Catholic seminary school. He completed junior seminary and reached the juncture where he had to make a life-changing decision. He had to choose to either enter senior seminary and become a priest, take the vows of celibacy and poverty, or embark on a different journey.
“I was in the junior seminary for six years, and I was on the choir and enjoyed the music, but God spoke to me in a different way,” he offered.
“I want to get married and have children. So I decided to leave the seminary, and I went to a day school. I always had a passion for music and used to make beats on my laptop and eventually decided to take music seriously,” King Perryy further shared.
His parents, he said, were not disappointed with his decision, and he has had no regrets. “With my music, I still think that I am doing God’s work,” he said.
Comprising all of 17 tracks, Citizens of The World, which was released via Timaya’s DM Records, is an album that reflects King Perryy’s signature “continental sound”. According to him, it is a fusion of lifestyle and cultures that incorporate Afrobeats, pan-African pop, reggae, and dancehall. “I’m not just ‘of’ one place or Nigeria. I’m ‘of the world,’” he elaborated.
Among the producers on the album is Jamaican Grammy Award-winner Romaine’ Teflon’ Arnett of Zincfence Records, who has done projects with artistes such as Koffee and Chronixx, and King Perryy is grateful for his input.
“Big shout-out to my brother Teflon Zincfence. He produced two tracks, one of which is African Boy, which I like very much. Honestly, it would be hard for me to choose a favourite track on the album, but Africa Boy is a special song,” he said of the motivational reggae song.
Other key tracks are the Afrobeats-soaked Yawa, produced by Ghana’s GuiltyBeatz, who has worked with Mr Eazi and Beyoncé, and which was released as a single on Wednesday; Prayer, produced by Nigeria’s TMXO (Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage); and the Kris Beatz-produced Funicator, the story about ladies on the grind.
“The Funicator is a song that gets you on your feet. It tells the story of a sex worker who only speaks the language of money. I like to say that I make exciting music, but I always tell a story,” King Perryy stated.
He added:” Prayer is a prophecy. I made that song thanking God for things that will happen in the future. And fast-forward to the present, and those things are happening now. My breakout song, Man on Duty, I knew it was a good song, but I never expected it to be so big. Even today, people are still playing that song, and new people are finding out about it.”
Currently on a promotional blitz for Citizen of the World, King Perryy is focused on making music that inspires and “puts a smile on people’s faces”.