Meeting Bman for the first time, you inevitably notice his conspicuous Afropolitan dress sense – suit and trousers made with Ankara, a fedora on his head, and glasses to match. A reminiscent of Jidenna’s classic dressing. With his gait and carriage, you would assume he is runway model. But Bman is a fast-rising Nigerian Afrobeat musician from Imo State, based in Lagos, where he works as a top Graphics Designer, while pushing his music hustle.
Thebase.ng had a chat with Bman and he shared with us why he chose music, the challenges involved, love life, why he launched a musical band named Bman and the Rebellious Zombies, and what his fans should expect from him. Enjoy the interview below:
Nice to meet you Mr. Bman, Please can you tell us about yourself.
I’m an afrobeat and Afropop artist, I hail from Imo state and I graduated from the University of Benin where I studied Graphic design, full name Mbilitem Kingsley Osita. My music tells stories based on life experience and the society generally.
Interesting introduction. People choose career in music for different reasons, what is your reason for choosing to be a musician?
I find music as a way of expressing my feelings, passing information to the world and as a creative person, creating art like designs and music gives me satisfaction.
So, for how long have you been in the game professionally?
I’ve been in the music business for over 8 years now.
Apart from being Bman the musician, is there other side to Bman people don’t know?
I’m a professional graphic designer and brand strategist.
The music market is packed, how has the journey been so far in the music industry?
It’s been challenging i must say, trying to get a proper air play from the media and cost of videos are rising by the day. But one thing is sure I was not where I used to be in the industry. Performed in major shows in the country, made sound tracks for movie productions of renowned names, jingles and all. It’s been a busy ride for me though, I’m also glad my fan base has increased and people are beginning to accept and get familiar with my sound.
Now, it has been said by music commentators that established artistes tend to dominate airplay on radios and TVs. Have you had to go through excruciating red tapes in order to promote your art?
Sure, it’s been a horrible experience the reason is that the established artist dominate the airplay with cash and I mean plenty of cash, so the competition is no more about how dope your record is, it’s how loaded your cash vault is, you know lol.
So no matter how good the song is if you don’t get that cash you have a slim chance of getting your song played. I’m not saying they are not real OAPs who play your jam based on merit but they are like 5% in the industry so it’s a very crazy situation.
Your kind of music embraces core Afrobeat and Afropop traditions. How have you been coping with the pressure to make hit songs.
HIT SONGS!! I’m in no pressure making a hit song I just do music and make sure I give my best, work with the right producers and make sure my lyrics are on point and when I’m done I put it out there at the right time then if it’s a “Hit song” at the end, fine.
My music has its own listeners and fans and I’m happy about that and surely people come to me saying “you need to sound like this, sound like that so you can BLOW” I don’t want to create an identity I can’t maintain, I want my life to reflect in my music. I make timeless music that I can still perform in 30 years time that will still be valued and appreciated.
Seeing that Afrobeat is garnering massive global attention, how does your music fit in within this huge cultural movement?
It’s actually a good thing the attention for Afrobeat is massive which shows my time is here, I’ve been doing Afrobeat for over 8 years now, even at that time when it wasnt giving this much attention but it is now, It’s a plus for me you know? The Afrobeat genre is very hypnotic at first listen, you just feel the groove.. My music definitely stands out from the crowd so it won’t be hard to notice.
Who and who influences you musically?
Burna Boy, Blackmagic, Fela, Jidenna
That reminds me, your latest single ‘Gbengben’ is a superb Afrobeat song. So far, how has the reception from your fans?
It’s been amazing, I feel loved and appreciated from air plays and downloads, the numbers are overwhelming.
And congratulation on your newly founded musical band, Bman and the Rebellious Zombie. What a name!
Thanks, it’s the lord
I saw the amazing live performances you are doing with that band on instagram.
So what inspired the formation of Bman and the Rebellious
As an Artist and my style of music which is Afrobeat it always make me crave for live music and performances, I want to hear every instrument played live because it brings in a different vibe and spirit when I’m on stage it also make people see me differently as an artist.
Most of the time when I go for a live gigs I meet different instrumentalist whom I have not rehearsed with so we find it very difficult to get along then end up wasting time to rehearse.
This was when I realized I needed my own band; I got the Rebellious Zombies so we rehearse all the time and we get ourselves prepared for gigs. Anytime I’m been called for a live show I know I’m ready. And also for futuristic reasons, I intend to have a live concert so I’m also getting prepared.
Interesting. Now You made the songs Nothing, Husband Material, and recently Gbengben. For me, It appears you are not too excited about collaborations.
I am though, but I just feel when the time is right collaborations will come, I don’t want to base my ability of making a good music on collaborations
So right now if you were to work with any of the big artistes making waves right now, who would that be?
Would like to work with likes of Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Sarkodie, Blackmagic, Femi Kuti, Jidenna
How is your artistic process like? I mean, do you write your songs first before getting a beat or vice versa?
It depends, but most of the time the inspiration and lyrics come before the beat, and sometimes the beat comes first. But anyway it comes I make sure I make the best of it. and I write my songs myself but when I get lost in writing a particular verse I seek my normal guys for consent and they help me out at times because I like to use lyrics from a lay mans understanding and when I’m done I go to the studio to work with my producer.
How does it feel getting your song as the soundtrack for the Nollywood Movie, Banana Island Ghost?
Hmmmm, it was a feeling i can’t explain I felt very good the day I watched it at the cinema with my goons and it was a full cinema that day and that scene where my song GbenGben was used came in I tried to hold myself from the excitement. I was looking around and saw people nodding their heads to the beat and it gave me joy and I also heard the music selection for the movie was so on point that people started asking for the title of the songs so they can go download them. I got calls, DMs, tweets, mails telling me “well done”. it was an amazing moment I must say.
You were also commissioned to write and perform the theme song of the Food Documentary TV show, Bukas and Joints. Tell us about it.
Yep and all thanks to my producer Andre Vibez, Lekan my friend and Annabel for the help on making that beautiful sound. The show has 2 seasons already and no theme song which was what the show was missing, I happened to know the producer of the show Mrs Biola Alabi and she said “Bman I like your Afrobeat sound I will like you to do something like that for my food TV show”. I sent an invoice and payment was made to be honest I had no lyrics in my head a day to recording date but I had a skeletal feel of how the music will sound like, because I have to talk about the show, the food and places the show has been so when I got to the studio with lekan my friend who finally helped with the lyrics and we began making the beat with Andre Vibez I also called Annabel for the backup cos I wanted a Fela vibe feel which is normal call and response. She came around and we made the music which came out fantastic at the end.
How do you describe your fashion sense?
It’s African, innovative and it portrays class and high fashion. I always represent the Ankara print on my wears which i find very artistic and comfortable and a blogger once called my style of fashion “Afroclassic”
Is Bman signed to any record label?
Not yet, I’m still an independent artist although i have lots of affiliation with other labels and managements.
Now let’s look at your life. Is there a woman in Bman’s life?
I have a lot of female friends and I’m not gay but when the time is right I will let the world know which girl i got in my life. I’m really focused on my music right now, giving it all my time and resources and don’t want to drag anybody into it so I don’t end up making empty promises.
With kind of energy you brought to bear last year, what should Bman’s fans expect from him musically in 2018?
There are a lot of things happening with Bman in 2018 already, the Band and more music, videos and collaborations with major artist, and also expect the unexpected.
How can your fans interact with you on social media?
You can follow me on instagram: @bmansings on twitter: itsbmansings and facebook: Bman
before we go, what do you have to say to anyone reading this?
It’s a tough world out there and whatever dream you are chasing won’t come cheap or easy, never give up no matter what, life will always put you down at some point but it’s a test of faith and believe in your dreams. Dust yourself up and keep going winners don’t quit.