It goes without saying but Patoranking is a household name not only in Nigeria but in Africa and beyond! His music and influence has travelled the world and we caught up with him to discuss life in 2020, life growing up, and of course his brand new album “THREE”.
Congratulations on the album! This is your third album, and it’s perfectly titled “THREE”. Why did you feel you needed to release it now?
Three is a powerful number. Good things come in three’s. This year I turned thirty and this is my third album. So the three things I wanted to highlight and make you feel were “Love”, “Happiness” and “Life”.
Got some brilliant features on there too, Tiwa Savage, Sauti Sol, Flavour, King Promise, how do you decide who to collaborate with and who not to?
Everyone featured on the album are people I’ve worked with before and before I work with you as an artist, I’m most definitely going to be a fan of your music already. I have a fan feeling, so it wasn’t really difficult to pick. I met King Promise at the club and we shared the same mutual love for each others music, and I’d already worked with Tiwa and Sauti Sol in the past!
Your song with Sauti Sol ‘Melanin” is one of my favourite songs of the last 10 years, how was is it working with them again?
They’re great guys, you can tell they are really into their music! As someone who is a music man, we just had to work with each other again!
I’m a proud Nigerian, always have and always will be. I also really love Caribbean culture and Caribbean music. I feel like you’re the same. Where did you love for Caribbean music stem from?
It started from me coming from the ghetto. There’s a ghetto type of dancehall music we do called “Galala” and I started as a Galala dancer. So I was dancing to all kinds of galala beats at festivals, carnivals, street jams. While I was doing that, I found myself loving the culture and that’s just how it grew in me!
I don’t really like labelling artists, genre-wise. Was there a conscious decision to brand yourself as a “dancehall” artist?
At this point I don’t think I can be boxed into one genre. I just tell people that I’m an African artist and I make African music. I just follow whatever mood I’m in. If I want to pass a message to my people, I speak pidgin, because I know they’re going to get it clearer. If I want to take them to the dance, I go Dancehall and if I want to talk about love I go both Afro and Dancehall.
The video of for the lead single “Abule” has hella energy and its you paying homage to your ends “Ebute Metta”. What inspired you to write about that?
It was very important I did that; first and foremost I’m a symbol of hope to the people in the ghetto and I always want to stand as their voice. So I always try to make sure I carry them along. Give them props and a shout out when it’s due. I’ve sang a lot of ghetto love songs, ghetto conscious songs but never spoken about how we party in the ghetto.
I wanna talk about the scholarship you set up this year, offering 10 fully paid scholarships to promising students across Africa. What inspired you to do that?
We’ve been doing this kind of work for over 4/5 years now. I would have loved to have been an information technologist but I didn’t get the opportunity to go to university. I said to myself, God if I’m a position to make money I definitely want to help people go to school. I understand the importance of getting informed and educated. So I’m using my platform to the best of my ability! Also I’m grateful to African Leadership Union (ALU) for their support.
I LOVED LOVED your Colors performance. The blend of the yellow background to your red jacket and trousers was perfect, I love detailing like that. How important is your style to you?
For me fashion is very important to my music because they compliment each other and I still think I’m not really paying attention to that part of Patoranking. I’m definitely going to pay more attention to it because I love fashion. Fashion comes with ease for me, I don’t try to impress anybody, I just dress how I feel!
What your favourite item of clothing?
Probably my hat. Most of the time I always want to go out as Patrick not as Patoranking. The only time I want to seen as Patoranking is when I’m on stage or having interview with PAUSE. Most times when I go out, I just go want to be a cool street boy that reflects success.
How do distinguish between Patrick and Patoranking? How do you find that balance?
I’ve been able to master that art for years now; I’m grateful for fatherhood because it has made me a better person. I keep learning and growing everyday. Learning everyday has made me understand myself more and my persona. It has made me carry those two images differently and I’ve been able to carry them well. I just try to keep life as simple as possible.
If you were on a desert island and you could only listen to THREE songs for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
This is deep. This is the type of question submit as an essay! If you ask me in three four years, I might give a different answer! So there’s “Lion of the Jungle” off of the “THREE” album, that song is to keep my going and to understand that there’s no going back to my former life, but I’m a lion so I will survive! Then I would picked “Abule”, my song again. I still want to find time to party! And the last song would be “One Love” by Bob Marley!
Here in the UK we’re still in a funny phase of lockdown and no live shows. When do you think you’ll be able to perform again?
I’m ready! I just can’t wait to get going! If they say tomorrow, then I’m ready tomorrow! When they say game time, I’m ready!
What’s the one thing you’re most proud of this year?
There are so many moments that I have and I am forever thankful. There are moments where I’ve cried, failures I’ve learned from and moments that are precious. But the freedom to make music feels me with so much joy! To create how I feel without feeling restricted. That is a moment I celebrate every time.