An important part of Maytermorphorsis is celebrating the process (click here to understand why). I’m so excited when I see people pursuing their dreams and doing an excellent job of it. I had a chat with Okikiolu Kayode, who goes by the stage name Klay.
Guys, Klay has an amazing voice, as in “huh-may-zing”. Even when he speaks, his baritone causes all the feels. Trust me, you can’t understand until you hear him speak. Klay is a songwriter, producer, musician and on-air personality with the Beat F.M Ibadan.
When I listened to Klay’s song “I’m in,” I became his biggest fan. You know how a lot of Nigerian music is “Oya pop the champagne” or “Gbam jigi gbam gbam,” basically no lyrics and only beats, well Klay is not that kind of musician. His songs make sense! His lyrics are deep, clean and refreshing. He is also very creative and you can see the creativity in the video of his song “I’m in” below, where he uses a very simple idea to engage his audience to the very end.
In this interview, Klay talks about his journey in the media world thus far, his experience when his voice cracked and when he had to run away from sudden wealth. Follow @klaymovt on Twitter and Instagram, and you can find him on Facebook as Kayode Okikiolu.
Also listen to Klay’s traditionally infused banger “Jo” here.
Name: Kayode ‘KLAY’ Okikiolu.
Educational Background: I graduated from The International School, Ibadan and right after my senior school certificate examinations, I spent the next few months trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. Thankfully I got to write Cambridge A levels and that gave me some perspective. Equipped with my love for understanding and meeting people, I went on to study Psychology at the University of Ibadan. I’m currently a Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) student, with 2 more levels to go till I graduate!
What do you do: I’m a Presenter at the Beat 97.9 F.M Ibadan but when I’m off air, I write and produce original music under the Stage name KLAY. I wish that was all about me, but then I also work as an online TV presenter on the show ‘What Do You Think,’ and play around with photography and graphics. I would say I am a media entrepreneur.
How did you start: I started off with this very compelling interest in everything relating to the media around me. From movies, music, billboards, radio and TV commercials, everything fascinated me. My mind was like another universe on its own where I could imagine anything and be anyone I wanted. A defining moment was when my voice cracked 2 years earlier than my classmates, I was fascinated by the new gift I had, but initially was not sure how to use it.
Anyway, my brother eventually taught me to use an audio recording software, and I started producing radio jingles and podcasts in 2010 with my mobile phone and a computer. I also wrote songs with a friend’s guitar. I recorded my first ever single Never ever with the stage name Darek, which I released in University. The song made me a bit popular and from there, my journey officially started .
What challenges have you faced: The truth is I still face some of these challenges. My first and major challenge is making sure I am at my best always. I feel it’s an insult to my audience when I churn out mediocre content, and I have to be careful because I know people are watching. I always try to be a better version of me and that can be very HARD! But it’s worth it in the end. Oh, money should have been the first on this list but I am learning that money will come when you’re consistent at being your best. Finally, the media industry can be very tricky and I am constantly faced with situations where I either have to compromise or stand my ground and stick to what I believe. Now sticking to what you believe when it’s the right thing can put you in a difficult position especially when it’s against the status quo but hey, no one has ever made a mark by maintaining the status quo.
Toughest decision you have made: Okay that’s a tough one. This decision comes to mind right now. I was in junior high then and somehow, someone printed out pages of credit card details and left them in my care. Now if you live in my part of the world you should be familiar with the term yahoo-yahoo, a colloquial expression for internet fraudsters.
At that point, I was on the verge of what seemed to be eternal wealth. All I needed to do was consult yahoo-yahoo boys, learn the ropes and start doing whatever it is they did with the credit card details then. Somehow, my memory kept replaying what my mum always told me. She always said “The bad things others can do, you cannot do them,” so I reluctantly got rid of the papers! Oh my, I felt like I missed my chance to be rich for life but here I am sharing the experience with you without regret. I didn’t turn out to be a fraudster but it would have been nice to buy the cool gadgets back then, legally of course.
What has been your most rewarding moment: I would say my most rewarding moment was at some point when I looked back and saw how much things had changed for me. This is because growing up, I had to battle with a loooot of self-esteem issues. I was not sure if I was good enough and a lot of things seemed to point to my seemingly inevitable failure. It was terrible. Now, the story has changed, people walk up to me and say amazing things about how much they appreciate my voice, my music, my presenting and my person in general. It is very humbling and of course rewarding to hear these things and see that my consistency eventually paid off. So at those moments, I just pause and thank God for how he has transformed a nobody to somebody.
Do you have any fears: I am not exactly permitted to be afraid, (if you know what I mean) but I would say I dread feeling comfortable and relaxed. I like challenges and I have this unusual dream to try almost every sport and every form of challenging thing I can get my hands on in life (up next is swimming but I’m still learning to trust the water and let go). Anyway, If you want to get at me, try to stifle my creativity. Okay please don’t!
What are your plans for the future: This question was a turn off for me at some point in my life but now I have seen the benefit of planning ahead. I plan to establish a media outfit that will strictly put out wholesome media content in terms of music, radio and T.V content. The media outfit will also groom and develop young talents for the future, so they can fill up the void of good and constructive content we currently have in the world of entertainment. And by the way, the outfit is working on this already (watch out).
Any advice: Yes o! If something has not been done yet, well maybe that’s your cue to do it. Never be afraid to believe in and work on that idea of yours. If it is an idea that will make the world a better place, don’t worry, people don’t have to fully understand it now. They can play catch up later.
The first step is staying in God because one with God is in the majority.
Klay left me with these words and I thought to share “Everyone has something special, but it always appears ordinary to them.”
Hope you enjoyed the interview. If you know anyone you think is doing a mighty fine job and should be celebrated, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get back to you.