Uhuo Benjamin, whose stage name is Brillsta, is an award-winning music artiste, who started music at a very young age and has not wavered since. In the last few years, he has released ‘Ayaya’ that has won him quite a large following. He speaks to SEGUN ADEBAYO about his growth in the industry.
When did you first discover your musical talent?
I discovered my musical talent at a very tender age. I can’t remember exactly when it all started but at about seven I realised I could mime other artistes’ songs so well and sometimes I even remixed them. As I grew older, I became enthusiastic about composing songs and telling stories because the inspiration came very easy and people around me thought it made sense. They called me a rapper and I thought rap was what I’d do because at that time I didn’t have that good a voice.
How long did it take you after the discovery to become professionally active?
It was not until I was 17 or 18 that I finally decided to take it to the next level. At that time, I had just finished writing my SSCE exams at Urban Model College, Ebonyi State. A cousin of mine who was also writing songs introduced me to an artiste that was like the ‘Wizkid’ of the town at that time. When I heard his songs, I just knew I had to start recording mine. I gathered some money the next week and followed him to the studio and boom! My first hit was out or so I thought because when I listen to that jam now, it’s just funny.
Tell us about your new single.
The title of my new single is ‘Bullion Van’, the song is produced by Young Smith, the head producer at Uber Pacific Music Studio. It’s a high tempo song with hyper groove. When you hear the word ‘Bullion Van’ in a song, it is usually about someone bragging that they have too much money, right? But this song is different. It is a song that celebrates those that have money and are giving to society. It is also encouraging those that have so much not to hesitate whenever they find themselves in a position to change other people’s lives.
Many talents and creatives go through some sort of crucible before they break out, either in the form of family restrictions or people not accepting their music. Did you experience this at all?
Yes, I experienced a lot of challenges. The first was from my family. I come from a family that loves and believes tertiary education is the only road to greatness. My mum and other family members became afraid when I started writing the music as it entered my head on all my school books. It was nonsense at that time by the way. I remember one of my uncles at one point started checking my books to make sure I didn’t write songs on them. And whenever he saw anything which was almost every time, I would be in deep soup. After secondary school, I did my first song and played it for my family hoping to get encouraging words but they said, ‘what’s this nonsense, are you mad, do you want to waste your life?’ I don’t want to even talk about the rejection I got from the community. If you know Ebonyi State, you will know we are just trying to understand music and entertainment business. So, the community was not on my side either. My landlady at that time once told me that my music would not go farther than Sperandio Junction (a popular junction in Abakaliki). Honestly, there were times I wanted to opt out but I realised I didn’t choose music, it rather chose me.
Have you ever considered other forms of entertainment like modelling and acting?
Yes, I am a very good actor and I write scripts too. I’ve not done any professional acting though. I am a model too.
What’s the next big thing we can expect from Brillsta?
Expect back to back, banging singles, back to back collaborations, and timeless music albums from Brillsta.
What collaborations are you looking forward to in the music industry, both within and outside Nigeria?
I’m looking forward to a collaboration with Akon, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, 2Baba, Wizkid, Damian Marley, Nas, Davido and a whole lot of others especially in Africa. I’m already working on the songs.