I love my job because it presents me with opportunities I could only have dreamt of. As the Publicist of Coke Studio Africa, I’ve for the last three years been exposed to Africa’s A-List music acts and a couple of the show’s international guest stars. In 2015 we had NE-YO and last year it was Trey Songz. Check out my Trey features:
Meeting and Working with Trey Songz: Part I
So Many Superstars: Meeting and Working with Trey Songz Part II
Beyond the Abs: Meeting and Working with Trey Songz Part III
This year Coke Studio’s guest star is Jason Derulo – the multi-faceted and timeless entertainer, celebrated for a plethora of hit songs including “Watcha Say”, “Talk Dirty”, “Want To Want Me”, “Ridin’ Solo”, “Trumpets”, “Wiggle”, “In My Head”, “Marry Me,” “The Other Side” and “It Girl.” Let me just stop it right there as dude has got too many radio hits. To date—the singer, songwriter and dancer has achieved two RIAA platinum albums, two gold albums and a gold EP.
First of all, I never thought I would ever meet Jason – like where was I supposed to meet him? Him coming to Coke Studio gave me such delight for that reason and because he’s a bona fide hottie, currently at the peak of his career and still riding high with the explosive new anthem: “Swalla” featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. The fact that Coke Studio involved him at a point when he is deeply embedded in the fabric of pop culture for sure stamps the show’s authority as Africa’s biggest music property.
Jason is extremely good looking, handsome and fashionable in person. He doesn’t really smell of anything, almost like clear water. He is very respectful and funny. Before the first Coke Studio Africa – 2017 press conference, I am hosting to unveil him alongside 11 African stars – I had not met him in person. Only saw him working at the studio.
He arrives a tad late for the presser held at The Stanley Hotel and is respectful enough not to jump onto his seat smack in the middle of the African stars and Coke Studio Execs. The audience and media staring at the door, beckon me to see his arrival. As all artistes pass on their sentiments on collaborating together, Jason tosses around good banter with Jah Prayzah on how they first met at the gym.
At the presser Jason says, “Coke Studio Africa has been an all round inspiring and education experience for me, from the original material to the covers. It’s really exciting to be here at this time when African music is taking over the world. The creative and music process has been very cool, I think a lot of Americans don’t really know about the depth of African music and how it varies from country in country here in Africa,” adding, “I feel like I have been welcomed so well. Thank you to everyone who has helped made this process so amazing and comfortable – I really feel like I am home.”
Derulo has made a cameo on Empire and Lethal Weapon. He was on the cover of Billboard Magazine in addition to appearing in Time, People, Men’s Fitness, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, Forbes, and LA Times. He’s received 3 Teen Choice Awards, 2 BMI Pop Awards, and 1 YouTube Music Award.
As he makes his debut on Coke Studio, I am wowed by his amazement in discovering African music and his genuine belief that this music is what the world should aim to be like. Deep, huh? I have the pleasure of arranging and coordinating all his interviews. I also interview him for Maisha Magic’s The Mash Up, KBC’s Grapevine and YUMMY Magazine. He’s such a cool interviewee because it feels like he is not thinking too much into the answers but giving it his first instinct.
Jason on “Swalla”:
“Swalla is one of those songs that you either love or you hate it. It’s such a pulverizing song – when it comes out it stands out among other tracks and I love the fact that it provokes emotion the way it does. It’s amazing to make people feel something. The song does that. Having Nicki Minaj and Ty Dollar $ign adds to the appeal of the song. I thought of Nicki first because of her Caribbean roots and Ty never disappoints with the melodies.”
Jason on the Coke Studio Africa experience:
“I feel like the fact that Coke Studio Africa has brought all these artists from different places to collaborate is amazing – there is no better give back. This is the start of something even bigger than music—it’s a merge of people. Through the show, we will be more exposed to different cultures and music. To me that’s what is most beautiful in the project – I’ve been able to dive into cultures that I would never have gotten to.”
Derulo asserts that his biggest find while in Kenya was the diversity of African music. “Everybody has a different vibe and it’s been really cool to meet everybody and dive into their styles. I only wish that the world would take note on how music is doing in Africa and how African music is mashing up the world. The world would be so much of a better place if it treated itself how music does.”
On Coke Studio Africa – 2017, Jason Derulo will be collaborating with Dela (Kenya), Rayvanny (Tanzania), Bebe Cool (Uganda), Mr. Bow (Mozambique), Falz (Nigeria), Joey B (Ghana), Betty G (Ethiopia), Jah Prayzah (Zimbabwe), Shekhinah (South Africa), Locko (Cameroon) and Denise (Madagascar).
The music collaborations created will feature in a special episode dubbed ‘Global Music Fusion’ – that will be produced by Masterkraft (Nigeria) and DJ Maphorisa (South Africa). The show starts to air across different regions across Africa from September, 2017. Can’t wait!
BONUS: My YUMMY interview with Jason Derulo is on Page 12. Read below: