"When I left university and I joined Choc city, in my head I thought my life would change the next day and I would have a Ferrari immediately, a mansion, and all that kind of stuff. It wasn’t like that obviously, it has been a step-by-step process really—one thing at a time. "
PUBLISHED: August 08, 2022
As most success stories go, there’s no upward sloping line or a hurray at the peak of a mountain. Rather, it’s a jagged line with defining moments of ups and downs. Blessing Akiode, professionally known as CandyBleakz, has had her share of setbacks and rejections as an upcoming artiste. She started dabbling in video directing to serve as palladium, with her mind set on quitting music if things didn’t play out how she wanted. ‘If I don’t get it this time, I’m going to quit music for real.”
The intervention she needed came after she won the best act for Lagos Got Talent.
“It was from the video directing I knew about Lagos Got Talent and after winning LGT, Gbenga Adeyinka introduced me to M.I. M.I introduced me to some people in Chocolate City and from there, I got signed. That was the last time I felt like giving up. I still get frustrated, tired, and go through lots of pain, but I just cry it out now.”
Although young, Candy Bleakz didn’t start her career yesterday, she discovered music in JSS2.
“I always wanted to be a medical doctor since I was a little girl. I watch lots of Korean movies, and their medical dramas are very inspiring. I wanted to save people and be like the actors I saw on screen. I was doing music since JSS2 and after my WAEC, I could have gone to Art class but I went to Science because of my passion for medicine. I loved biology so much and I always topped the class.”
In spite of being female, she doesn’t fall under the conventional female artiste style, appearance, and music genre-wise.
“ I make Afro-pop. I’m constantly making the kind of music that any caliber of person can listen to. Whether high rise or just a regular person, everyone can relate. So I’ll say I make Afro-pop.”
Through tears and sweat, candy has come so far. There have been female rappers in the past but the emergence of Candy Bleakz is a game changer and she proves it with her sound which can only suitably be referred to as avant-garde.
Despite the difficulties associated with being an artiste, especially a female artiste in a niche largely dominated by men, Candy Bleakz constantly topples the bar and remains optimistic about her future in music, and holds dreams to feature the top gamers in the industry. Both locally and internationally.
“People I hope to feature are Young MA, Badoo, Davido, Burnaboy. Let me not overdo and say Wizkid.”
When asked about her personal projections for the next 5 years, her reply is simple and straightforward, without a moment of doubt.
“The richest female artiste in Africa, ambitious, and strong. Let’s just say very successful.”
Through this interview, I found that Candy’s experiences at every point in her life contributed to shaping her into the promising artiste she is now.
She talks about her life and her journey towards becoming the biggest female artiste in Africa.
I’ll say a huge congratulations is in order Candy Bleakz, on the release of your first ever EP– Fire EP. You have done a wonderful job, you have got people dancing, and your songs are on many lips. How do you feel?
Ha ha. Thanks. I feel great actually, I’ve been working on this for a long time and I’m glad to see it finally out there.
Candy Bleakz is a stage name given to you to replace Blessedkiddo, which was your initial stage name. The people who helped you come up with the name, how do they feel about you thriving and being famous with the name they gave you because I’d be proud?
We don’t communicate again. We weren’t even guys guys, we just met at the studio. You know how university life is, you meet different people, you vibe with them, and then that’s all. You never even see some of them again. But I know that they will be feeling themselves anywhere they are.
Of course, they will. If I happened to be part of the process in the making of a celebrity, I best believe I’ll be name-dropping everywhere.
I was expecting a tweet or a dm or something but none happened.
What’s your greatest motivation?
My greatest motivation and what keeps me going is the fact that I don’t want to go back to where I came from. I never want to live the life I lived growing up and I don’t want the same for my unborn kids. The things I went through, the way I lived, the way I had to grow, the environment I had to grow in, I don’t want that for my kids. I also don’t want to be back where I started, so I keep hustling to create a new world for me and my family. The fear of not doing enough for myself and going back keeps me going.
Doing all the odd jobs you did, were you ever oppressed by polished females? Did you ever wish to be those girls?
Funny enough, I’ve always liked to tint my hair, pierce my ear, and that feminine appearance was never my thing. In my head, I just wanted to make money. I constantly dreamt of the life I have now. The only things I ever admired were big cars, I’d be like, “Yo, this car! God.” But all that feminine stuff, nahh.
So where did you live growing up?
I lived everywhere o. I was born in Bariga but was living in Oworo at the time. I left Oworo when I was 9 for Ikorodu. I did my secondary school in Ikorodu. After which I left for Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun state, when I dropped out, I stayed in Iyana Ipaja while learning video directing. Majorly though, I grew up in Ikorodu and Oworo.
You've really been around Lagos o. So, in university, you studied medicine before switching to physiology. How did you combine being a medical student and music?
University was a new world entirely, we had the WizKids, Burnaboys, Davidos. There was a particular guy people worshipped – Raskapeller. I wanted to be like him so I tasked myself to be as popular as him before the semester ended. I started participating in rap battles and I was missing classes because of it. I had to go clubbing overnight and I would sleep in and miss lectures. But, the defining moment was when I had to pay school fees for a semester. My dad gave me half the money and I lent my grandma, hoping I’d be able to get it back and source for the second half before the portal closed but unfortunately, that didn’t happen and I forfeited that year.
Your lending your grandmother your school fees sheds light on your relationship with your family. Are you close to your family?
How did your family react to your lifestyle, looks, and the fact that you left school and pursued music?
My dad didn’t know I was doing music till Chocolate City called that he needed to sign as my guardian. I was underage and couldn’t have signed the documents then. My mum was very against it, she didn’t want me to do music, but then, I left home for school and there was no way for her to know what I was up to. When I got signed to Chocolate City and started supporting the family, she couldn’t complain anymore.
Tikuku is a personal song to you. It’s your fight song. It talks about your struggle in the industry and how you keep fighting to get to the top in an industry almost entirely dominated by men, how does that translate in the lyrics?
It’s like saying “I know you don’t want me, but you don't have a choice. You have to want me.” Tipatikuku means fire by force. So, it’s like saying “You don’t want to listen to my song. By fire by force, you must listen to it.” That’s what “Who dey give una liver” kind of like translates to.
What does Efela mean?
Like una go hear gbedu, you will listen to sound back to back, you will la, you will jo, you will tinkuku bi ti poco. Everyone knows poco is very energetic and when Poco hears a sound, he dances. The song is deeply conversational to me. I’m communicating with it.
That’s amazing. You also sang “I’m a good girl, I’m a bad girl.” What are you trying to tell us with the lyrics? Is there some other meaning to it?
What I am trying to say is that every good girl has a bad girl side, and every bad girl has a good girl side, and depending on what you bring, I’ll reveal to you the side that you deserve. if you bring the vibe that will make me show you the good girl side, I will give it to you, and if you bring the vibe that will make me bring the bad girl side, you go collect. As I mentioned, this whole project is personal to me. I’m communicating my grievances, frustrations, and wins as well. Asides that, I also want people to vibe and dance.
You once took to your Instagram and talked about how there’s little support between women in the industry. Is it particular to you or general? Also, do you think they don't support you because of your style?
It’s not particular to me sincerely. In the male industry, any rising talent, you’ll see say Davido don bless this one with feature, Zlatan don bless am, Badoo too, you can always feel the love there but it’s never like that with the females. Don’t get me wrong, I have a song with Teni and I think Simi has a song with another female artiste but it’s very uncommon for female artistes in Nigeria to do a collab.
Maybe it’s a hierarchy thing, you know, “I struggled to get here, you should do your bit of struggle too.” and on the men’s side it’s like, “We rise by lifting others.”
Omo I’m not going to lie, everyone struggles at the end of the day. I wish to someday have a project where I’ll only feature female artistes. Mostly upcoming. But, I can only try my best, Only I can’t change everything, things have to first change from the top.
You are very young, yet your story goes way back. At what age did you discover music and at what age did you get discovered and signed?
I got signed a few months before my seventeenth birthday, that was why Choc city had to call my dad because I couldn’t sign for myself. I discovered I could sing in Jss2.
And how has the story been from then?
When I left university and I joined Choc city, in my head I thought my life would change the next day and I would have a Ferrari immediately, a mansion, and all that kind of stuff. It wasn’t like that obviously, it has been a step-by-step process really—one thing at a time.
You are a rockstar with a typical grass-to-grace story and then you must have fans in and out of your DMS professing love to you, how do you deal with this kind of attention?
I have people in my dm who tell me about their daily lives, like “ Oh baby, I just woke up and I’m going to work. I saw this and I went through this at work.” I read these messages and I’m genuinely shocked all the time because these people don’t even know me. The ones I do reply to are the emotional ones, the ones who draw motivation from me. But you see those ones professing love, you’ll find them in other celebs' DMS too. But, I get it. I be fine girl so nothing too serious.
When you started your career, which top guys did you look up to, and now, at this stage in your career, which artistes do you hope to work with?
When I first started rapping, Badoo was the one gingering all the artistes on the streets and I’ve always liked him. I like Badoo because he doesn’t hoard glory, he helps everybody become a star. I really hope to do a song with him soon. People I also hope to feature are Young MA, Badoo, Davidoo, Burnaboy. Let me not overdo and say Wizkid. Realistically, I know I will flow with Burnaboy, Davido, and Young MA, It’s not a must-to-do song with Wizkid. If I just dey with baba, we go vibe, that one self dey.
Now that you mention it, I see similarities between you and Young MA, have you always listened to her music?
I got to know about young MA when I got to choc city. I’ve always been a reserved person, I don’t talk a lot. In fact, I used to be very intimidated by everything, I never step forward to talk, I just always stay behind. One day someone approached me and asked me to check out Young MA. He told me watching her will help me come out of my shell. So I did, watched her interviews, her concerts, everything, I paid attention to her lifestyle, and yeah, it did help me come out of my shell. Even though she doesn’t know me, she kind of gave me an orientation.
Do your tattoos symbolise anything?
My tattoos are my own way of expressing myself. When I’m sad, I get a new tattoo. I also get a new tattoo when I’m happy. So each time I get new paint, It’s either I’m really sad or really happy about something.
Do you find the pain therapeutic?
It’s nothing serious. Just a pain to kill the pain.
What’s your ideal kind of romance?
I really love someone who is gingered, someone who goes for what they want and is a good person.
Are you seeing someone?
No, I’m not actually.
Are you looking to see someone Candy?
If you could have one thing, anything at all. What will it be?
Omo, it's difficult to have one thing. A good life; I think a good life should cover long life, money, success, and all the stuff that comes with it.
I think that’s a great answer. And my last question to you, what do you think your future in street music will look like and what level are you trying to take Afro-Pop?
I’m trying to take it global sincerely. I want to be the king of the streets, king of Afro-Pop, and I want to take the streets to the next level.