My struggle inspires my lyrics – singer Dolly P
Meet Ridwan Dolapo Asiru, a Nigerian-born, US-based music Act. He started music effortlessly as a child, kicked off music professionally in Nigeria, then relocated abroad where he is breaking new ground and making a great name for himself. In this interview with Dolly P as he is popularly known, he drives us through his life’s journey, his ups and down & how he is a gift is finally speaking greatly for him. Enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Ridwan Dolapo Asiru Showemimo, I am from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria. I am the first child of 5 siblings, lost one of my sisters some years ago. I’m an Afrobeat artist, who was born and brought up in Lagos, Nigeria. I am known as the prince of international sound.
What does music mean to you?
I feel like music is about whatever you’re trying to write about, or whatever message you’re trying to pass across to your people. It could be about your vibe, good living, lifestyle, making money or about praying for blessings. It has more to do with how you pass a message. Some people know how to pass messages with their music, and some don’t know how to. So for me, good music can be any type of music that has a good message and is delivered rightly.
How did music start for you and when did you decide to go pro?
This right here is a big point for me. Because music has always been in me and has been a major part of my life.. I have been into music for as long as I can remember. I remember I started singing when I was in JsJunior Secondary School 3 [Jss 3]. I was effortlessly writing lyrics and singing to any sound I heard. I went to an all-boys Islamic school and you know how students make noise in class, by drumming on their desk? Each time I heard anyone drumming or making a musical sound, I always had lyrics to go with it and sang along.
I remember just writing lyrics and singing to my classmates. One of their favourite songs of mine they liked was “oh girl, you betray me”. I’m very sure they still remember that <laugh>. Despite all of these, I never imagined I would one day be doing music professionally.
Leaving secondary I never thought I would have the chance to have a musical career. However, this didn’t stop lyrics from randomly popping up in my mind. So each time they popped up, I just jotted them down. After secondary school, my dad sent me to an Arabic school, he wanted me to become an Imam. I remember being at Arabic school and lyrics would keep popping in my head while being taught. So it is safe to say I have always had music in me, this is not a case of me venturing into music because of fame, money or peer pressure. Music just found me. A few years down the line, I got admitted into Kwara State polytechnic, Ilorin, Nigeria. It was there I decided to do music professionally. Shout out to my Idis aka SoSiArade, it was he who took me to record at a studio for the very first time. I can remember, I and Idris had exams coming up and a night to the exams when we were supposed to be reading, Idris was by one corner, writing lyrics, then I decided to burst some of the lyrics I had randomly written. He had no idea I could sing, let alone write. So he took it upon himself, to see me bring those lyrics and musical talent to life, by taking me to record at the studio. The music producer at the studio found it really difficult to believe that that was my first time recording at a studio and singing to an instrumental. Clearly, my years of just singing in my corners had been preparing me for the day I finally had a shot to record at a studio. I was super hyped. I started by doing a cover to LAX X Wizkid’s “CARO”. Students in my school heard the jam and were super impressed because no one knew I could sing. My stage name then was Dolly Pizle but over time, I changed it to Dolly P, which is currently my stage name. At this point, I knew I could show the world what I am made of. Remember my parents wanted me to be an Imam, they were in Lagos and I was in Kwara State. Being far from them, gave me the freedom to do music as much as I desired to. I started going for shows and doing a lot of performances, during all of these, it dawned on me that God actually created me to do music. I was so sure with every breath in me. The day when I was supposed to write my final exam, was the same day I had my Visa Interview in Abuja. I ditched my final exam and traveled to Abuja for my Visa interview. As God would have it, I got my Visa. I finally relocated to the United State and there came the confirmation, that music is what God has destined for me. Relocating here, exposed me to a larger platform and greater opportunities to go hard on music with every fiber in me. I actually had a big show I was scheduled for on the same night my flight to the US was scheduled for. Unfortunately, I had to ditch the show. Now that I am so far away from my father, he definitely can’t stop me from doing music anymore. <Laughs>.
How many singles do you have to your record and any EP?
I have like four singles out, ‘Oluloufe, “shige”, “Geh Geh” and “Fire Cover”. I also have a couple of features, with waka junior, he is a Liberian artiste. And he is also a good singer. We’ve both featured each other. I was featured on his ep’. I also have a song with Jt, I have a song with M.a.b. big shout out to M.A.B, he is a Congolese artiste and Gbomo Gbomo by Neyo G ft Dolly P. I feel like I’m so versatile so I like to feature international artiste so people can see what I can do, and also see what I mean when I call myself the prince of international sounds.
I have an EP out, , it is called “Alimosho 2 the World” “Alimosho to the world is based on my hustle and based on how I started pushing my life till the present times. It also sheds light on things I have been through, lifestyle, enjoyment ups and downs. Go listen to “Alimosho to the world” on all platforms by Dolly P. Click HERE to listen.
What’s your style of music?
My style of music is called Afro Beat. Sometimes, depending on the genre, I could do afro-dance hall, Afro-drill, Afro-trap or Afros slow music.
What is your take on Nigerian Artiste breaking into foreign territory with their Music?
Before now, my perception was that, we had to go back to Nigeria and get it done. But right now, I feel like we are here for a reason. And Afrobeat is literally sounding of everywhere, on FIFFA, from Maldives to Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. Afro beats is playing in clubs on the radio. No day goes by without you hearing at least 1 afrobeat track and I feel like God brought us here, at this moment, for a reason, God brought me here personally. 4-5 years back things weren’t like this but now Burna Boy is selling our Madison square garden all by himself. If any other artiste has to do such, he or she must do it with a group of other artistes, but now i am telling you, no hip hop rapper will sell out that show without other Artistes being present, but Burna Boy and Wizkid did it easily. No long talk, Afro beats is taking over and we’re here. Not everyone will have a chance to work with Burna Boy. I keep saying music is spiritual and people connect to the sound and message you’re trying to pass across to them on different levels, and at the moment, Nigerian artiste are killing it. If anyone can deliver the same way Burna Boy, Big Wiz & Davido deliver musically, the world would buy into them & pull up to their shows. I don’t feel it’s difficult for a Nigerian artiste to break into the international space anymore, you just have to give it your all, be unique and persistent, and when it happens, it happens. Ayo jay worked with Chris Brown, Ayo jay and DJ Tunez started from there and now they’ve left their footprints on the sand of time. When God says it’s time, best bet, you will make it anywhere. There are no boundaries,and with the aide of technology, your music can go from 0-100 in minutes.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am currently working on a couple of projects with my producers in Nigeria and here in the United States. Shout out to DXL. I am working with them on some projects that will be released to the public soon. I am also working on some features and an Ep. I didn’t have any features on my Ep because I want people to know that I can switch from one style to the other. However, I am looking to do some features with great international artistes, so people will know why I am called the prince of international sound. My features will majorly be with international artistes. No hard feelings to any of my Naija artistes, Naija get enough Artistes. Artistes like Buju, Dolapo the vibe, Mr Bello. These are people that are killing doing great in music. However, I will like to spread my tentacles, go far from the norm and work with, Jamaicans Hispanics, Americans, and London artiste, and drills, so people will see and know that I have a lot to offer, especially with stories. I intend to share my story through music.
Which Nigerian Artiste do you look forward to working with?
That would be Davido and Burna boy . I love those men a lot and I know if we jump on a track together it’ll be fire, shekpe!
What inspires your kind of Music?
My mood inspires my kind of music. Whatever mood I am in and whatever story running through my head at the time, influences and inspires my lyrics & sound. Basically my motivation comes from my struggle, if I went to medical school or didn’t grow up in the slums, the narrative would have been different for me, Other times, natural vibes, inspire my lyrics.
Tell us about your musical experience in the United States
In all honesty, it has been a sweet & sour experience for me. I have experienced the highs and lows of being a musical act here in the United States. One would thing certain limitations only happened in the African entertainment industry, not knowing it’s even worst here. Allow me break that down for you. Music promoters out here don’t give a hoot about Nigerian artiste here in America. They are more interested in the charade, glam and gratification that comes with people knowing they brought Top Nigerian artiste to the united states. I kind of understand where these promoters are coming from and why they act the way they do. I keep myself going by coming to the conclusion that if these promoters have been destined to help me, they certainly will, so I try not to let their acts get to me. However, I believe charity starts from home, you should pay more attention and push to help the artiste you have around here first and more, these same artistes you see around and call your bro, more energy should be invested Into them, especially when you know they have got great potentials to be the Next Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid and the likes. It will please you to know that if these promoters here in the US invest the same amount of money they spend in bringing top Nigerian like Davido, Zlatan & Wizkid to the United States, on multi-talented, fast rising artiste who are currently in the united states, they will certainly make 3 times profit from the X amount invested. But again, they don’t really care about making an impact. Despite the multiple bad eggs, there are still some fantastic, God-sent promoters over here, who really care about helping talented and fast-rising artiste here in the United States. Promoters like prince Ademola. He shows me so much love, puts me and show and makes sure I have the best hospitality, and that goes a long way. Big shout out to ChiefDeji, Rhoyalson , Vibetone, Osenijunior & Dolapo the Vibe. They are all giving in their all over here, pouring their heart into making good music. The Dj[s] here also go out of their way to show us love and make sure our music go as far as possible. Special appreciation to Dj Kassava, Dj Spaxx Dj Hyfa and Dj Bolsbreezy. So far, I have been opportune to have an opening performance for a reasonable number of Top Nigerian Artistes. I
opened form Wizkid & Tiwa Savage at the 2018 One Africa Fest, I opened for Adekunle Gold at the New Jersey Afro Beats Festival that took place at Military park, I opened at the Davido Live in New Jersey in 2021, last year I opened for Tekno & Kranium. Last year I also headlined my own show, A NIGHT WITH DOLLY P.
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