Sniper Spotlight with Waje from Gala Music

Credit: Waje

Waje, the renowned African singer-songwriter, has teamed up with Gala Music for a four-track LP that’s being released as a series of limited edition non-fungible tokens.

Each Signature track will mint one hundred copies available exclusively on Gala Music. NFT music collectors who purchase the tracks and pair them with an active Jukebox Node can earn rewards, merchandise, and $MUSIC tokens when the tracks are streamed.

For fans of Afro-beat and Afro-pop music, Waje is one of the continent’s most captivating voices, and her latest EP was created exclusively for Web3. Last week, we spoke with Waje about how she created a new sound with this record, what it was like to work with Gala Music, and much more. Check it out.

How did you get involved in Web3 and Gala Music?

I was in Grenada, and I met a friend of mine who was telling me about the opportunities that Gala Music provides for artists. And for me, what got my attention is the fact that it took out all the middlemen. Because sometimes you really want to connect with your fans, but you just can’t find that exclusivity. You understand that the numbers are important, but you still don’t feel like your fans have a one-on-one connection with you.

So, when we started having that conversation, I thought that this is the platform that suites my personal needs as a musician. And then we went back and forth for a few conversations, and I’m here today.

Tell me a little about this project you’re releasing this month — a new EP consisting of 4 tracks.

Here in Lagos, Nigeria, people describe me as “The Vocal Queen.” So, everything I have done in the past has been from the strength of my voice. Of course, I’m very into pop music and all that, but it’s just really about soulful music. I’ve been more of an afro-soul artist.

For this EP, I wanted something that would endear me to a newer audience and probably a younger audience as well. When you have a career that has spanned over a decade, sometimes you get bored. I was bored of creating music the same way, and I thought why not try a writers’ camp situation. Get a bunch of writers and producers, go into an apartment maybe for a week, and it’s just music. You wake up. Eat. Music. Sleep. Wake up, eat, music, sleep.

And it was such a vibe! Because we didn’t even know what we wanted. I didn’t go there saying, “This is the kind of music I want to create.” I just wanted something that was joyful and energetic.

When we started each track, we allowed the beat to speak to us. Sometimes we didn’t even have a name to call the song. For “Odo,” for example, I remember I was listening to this producer playing something and I was just like [starts singing “Odo”] — and I’m not even Ghanian! [Odo is a Ghanian word for love].

But that’s how music speaks to you. And for this project, that’s really what I want people to feel. The project is about my space, where I am now in my career. I’m having a lot of fun. I want more, and I hope that I’ll be able to articulate that with the music I’ve produced and we’re ready to drop.

I want people to feel free. I want people to laugh. I want people to dance. I want people to dance even though there’s some serious messages there, but it’s still about being inspired and letting your head down and having a good time.

How can fans get a hold of this new music?

It’s simple to get ahold of the music. People just need to go Gala Music platform and listen to it. And it’s not only my music. I go there to learn about other artists I’m not acquainted with.

It’s just literally going to Gala Music and streaming. And in terms of what Gala offers, there’s so much more, from live music to merch. So that’s why it’s just a win-win situation for me, because I get to bring this to my fans and to new lovers of Waje.

Gala Music is introducing me to a new audience. But outside that, the perk of the fans listening to it is they get to interact with me as a live performer. We have some merch as well that we hope to give away and get to fans.

What has it been like working with Gala Music?

Not to sound cheesy, but it’s been amazing. Really easy. You know how it is when you get into tech and all that, sometimes the information and how you understand it can be a lot. Especially for people like me who only know how to sing and that’s it.

So, Gala really helped us understand the process. As a matter of fact, I had a few other artists calling and asking me to explain Gala Music. Being able to pass that knowledge in its simplest form has been life-changing for me because then I can also help other artists besides myself. Because I believe when you’re given opportunities and platforms like this, it’s not just for you.

What do you think Web3 can do for artists and musicians?

The most important part is it creates more avenues for us to make revenues beyond the ways that we know how to. Back home, it’s either you have a show, or you’re booked for a show, or people are streaming your music.

But with Web3 you can bring it to anybody in their home no matter where they are, and they get to experience the artists and your art and creativity.

What is the Web3 scene like in Nigeria? What do people think of NFTs as fans, collectors, or artists?

It’s still kind of new, in a way. But I’ve known about NFTs for maybe three years now. I remember, there was a platform that had a podcast that had an artist on that was trying to educate people about NFTs that I used to listen to. And when we got on Gala, my manager said, “Waje, this is full circle for you. Because you’ve been trying to understand how this whole blockchain thing worked.”

So, the technology is still pretty new, but Africa is growing seriously in the tech space, and the opportunities are endless here.

What advice do you have a for a younger artist starting out?

I would say, really love the job enough to work hard for it. Sometimes people get carried away and think it’s a hobby, but it’s also a job, so you have to take it seriously. If you need to learn an instrument, learn it. There are some things I wish I’d focused on. I don’t play any instruments. I only started playing last year. So, if you have to, do it.

Also, don’t focus only on the creative side of things. Understand where tech comes in, understand the business so you can expand your audience as well and your brand.

For more information about Waje and her EP release on Gala Music, visit her page here.

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