Wavy the Creator Talks Being Alien, Self-Confident, and Trusting The Process
Far too cool to be a basic girl, Wavy the Creator is a self-proclaimed “alien”, born in Nigeria and raised in America. Wavy first took the world by storm with her hit H.I.G.H (Her in Greater Heights) back in 2017. Its funky house beat paired with her sultry vocals was enough to get the ball rolling! She has since captured the attention of Naomi Campbell, been signed to Tinie Tempah’s recording label, and shared the stage with the likes of Skepta, Wiz Kid, Davido and J Hus, just to name a few. With an attitude quite unlike anyone else in the industry at the moment, Wavy prides herself on being a multi-faceted creative and refuses to be restricted to just one talent. She aims to create the unthinkable and dominate in whatever that may be. A visionary at it’s finest! I had the pleasure of chatting to Wavy to get the low-down on her journey, vision, and what’s next for this complete rockstar.
Could you tell us in three words, who is Wavy the Creator?
A creative, alien, different.
I like that. So, I know you were born in Nigeria but grew up in Houston. I’m actually a second generation Nigerian on my dad’s side and because I grew up in London, I feel like I missed out on an ‘authentic’ Nigerian upbringing. What does it mean for you to be a Nigerian and how was it growing up in Houston?
Well, basically, being a Nigerian and having that culture, it gives you some form of background. It gives you a different way of viewing life, you know. I’ve been able to experience life in Nigeria growing up, going to school, and doing things differently there. Then having to move to Kansas City and growing up there, going to high school, and then Houston. It’s basically just shown me the different ways and different perspectives of people, and cultures and how everything is represented by an individual.
So, you could be Nigerian but if you’re privileged or able to go out and explore the world and experience things, you’re also able to become your own individual. Having experienced all of this background and culture has also given me my own identity, I guess. The culture you learn in Nigeria is different from what you learn in America, and the things you love to do and love to experience from a young age in Nigeria is like more of a restriction because we’re very cultured I guess.
Yeah, it’s very traditional.
Exactly, it’s traditional. We have to follow the traditional ways and everything. Once you go out of Nigeria, or any African country, I believe you’re able to see life from a different perspective and see how you can be- I’d say- more independent. As it’s only right now in the Nigerian culture that we are allowing the young people to be independent and have a word to say what they want to do or become in the future and all that. So it’s just experiencing it in a different way.
Do you think that affected the way you viewed going to America, in terms of wanting to break out from the traditional upbringing you had in Nigeria? Like were you more experimental maybe?
I think so. I think it definitely had an impact on the creative I am today because I always knew that I was creative or I wanted to do something in the arts, whether it was drawing or something. I just knew that I belonged somewhere. But I think it wasn’t until I had to move to Kansas City that I was able to know that I could explore every talent or everything that I felt that I wanted to do. I could explore it and have a feel or some sort of opportunity. I feel like it’s different because you’re given a platform when you go outside of Africa, more than you are in Africa- even if there is a lot of arts and things in Africa. Right now, we’re still finding out the things we’re able to do as young African kids, you know.
Yeah, definitely I love it! So, how did you come to meet Olamide and would you say that was your career-defining moment?
To be honest, I met him through a friend who was touring with him at the time he came out to Texas. He was touring through Houston, Dallas, and Austin, I believe. We stopped in Dallas and that was the first time I met him on that tour. I was filming for a friend who was touring with him and he was interested in me. He was interested in what I did and all of that stuff, but it wasn’t until he came back a second time and I actually got to work with him, as like his personal photographer, and that was for the ‘One Africa Fest’ show. He went back and decided that he wanted to fly me out to Lagos to just work with him for that December period.
And I do believe that it started something because before I met him, you know, I was doing things on the side. I was doing my fashion, I had just put out a line with my brand and it was for hats and I was trying to promote that. I was also doing film and photography on the side. I think that when I came out to Lagos and I was working with him, it actually kick-started a lot of things that I currently do right now.
You’re very inventive when it comes to your sound. Does that feed into your fashion, photography, and film art? I get a sense of a futuristic nostalgia when I watch a lot of your music videos!
For sure, for sure. I like to see all of the aspects of art that I do. I like to see them as joined or connected at some point. So the same way that I would see my photography or my fashion, is the same way I’d want them to come out when I put it out to the world, or to my fans or whoever’s watching. It’s the same way I work with my music.
I basically just make music off of the vibes, of what I’m feeling, you know. And I’m still experimenting with music because I’m still fresh and new, so I’m still learning things here and there. I believe that with my whole process it’s just basically of how I feel and what I feel.
I mostly feel like an alien and I feel different from anyone else. I’m doing the things that I want to do in my own time. I like to push out all of my art in that specific way. It’s just totally different. You make something that you probably wouldn’t have thought about.
Yeah, I like that. You are quite fearless when it comes to experimenting and you have mentioned in a few interviews that you believe you can create any sound. Where did your strong sense of self and confidence from?
To be honest, I think that I found my confidence in believing in myself.
Growing up I was always an introvert and I was always to myself and in my head. I feel like as I grew older, I began to find myself in my art and the things that I was creating. I enjoyed what I made, you know, and I believed so much that it wasn’t ordinary. There was something special about me and there was something I felt like– if I could do this then, I could do more– and that has been like my whole mindset ever since.
It’s what gets me to keep going even when I feel like “Oh I’m not getting to where I need to get to.” or “I’m not reaching the right people.” or whatever. I just have to remember that at the end of the day there’s something special or different, there’s something unique in the way that I’m gonna do anything, and even if someone else was going to do it, it’s not ever going to be the way that I’m going to do it, you know.
That confidence had to come from me.
There are times also where your confidence is shaky, but I feel like at the end of the day you have to first believe in who you are and yourself and just know that regardless of what happens that’s how it’s going to be.
What track would you say defines you best as a creator or has a special meaning for you?
Umm, to be honest, I think I’d say my song ‘Stay’. The song I put out after ‘H.I.G.H’ –
Oo yeah, that’s one of my favorites!
That was actually the first record I recorded ever! That was like my first like “Oh shit! I can actually sing and I could actually do music.”
It came from a very special place. I had just experienced something and a friend of mine hit me up, who was going through a similar experience at the time, and he was like “I’m going to the studio would you like to come through?” and I was like “Sure”. We went to the studio and that was my first time actually recording a track. So it has a special meaning to me and it has a special place in my heart. I feel like it was an opening to a different door that I didn’t even know was there.
I feel like it shows and defines me as a creator at some point.
Yeah, I definitely found it very powerful, the music video to Stay, the monologue at the beginning.
I kind of interpreted it as an act of self-love and what it means to be with yourself and actually understand what it is that you need. I’ve been through similar situations as well so that one for me really stuck well!
Exactly, yeah that’s amazing!
What would you say defines this new age of Nigerian creative? You were saying that young people are being more independent. We have events like Skepta’s Homecoming. What does that mean for the up and coming?
I feel like this is a defining moment for us, you know.
For the longest of time in the Nigerian industry, we’ve been stuck on a replay of format and how we do things and how we define ourselves and all of that. I feel like… it’s like finally! We have a moment to be expressive and be as expressive as we want to be and not be limited or boxed. A lot of youth and young kids are now free and really openly expressing anything they want to express.
I feel like this is the time that we need to go harder than ever and not stop.
Before I came out to Lagos – I’m very connected with myself, you know – there was a feeling I was having where I needed to be in Nigeria at a point in that year. I didn’t know if it was going to happen or not, but it was just a feeling of things changing and a lot of people now realizing that it’s our time. It’s our time to be able to express and we don’t need a yes from this person or that person. We can actually do these things ourselves and the world is actually opening up for us to be able to create and manifest all of these things.
So, I feel like we have control. If we realize the control that we have, we can take it as far as we want to, because the industry is now actually open for us to be able to do as much as we want.
I 100% agree!
What kind of advice would you give to the young emerging creative, in terms of taking control? Because I guess people can sometimes feel they’re at an odd or they don’t have the tools to do it… what would your advice be?
To be honest it’s just to be patient with your process. As much as we’d like for things to happen and for them to happen now, we just have to be very attentive to the process, and patient because a lot of things are happening. There are a lot of things we can miss, there are a lot of things that could go a certain way that we don’t necessarily see going.
As a young creative it can get frustrating because you want to do things right now and the results right now, but it’s very important that you go with the flow of the process – sometimes the process is taking you in the right direction, you just have to go through some bumps here, or hiccups there.
At the end of the day, you just have a final goal. Never change that goal also! Just staying true to that goal and being patient with the process will get you to where you need to get to faster than you think.
Yeah, thank you so much for that.
I know you’ve been signed to Disturbing London for almost a year now. Could you tell us what that means for your future musical endeavors? Any collabs, tours, albums, EPs…
Yeah for sure! I have more music coming out, a single and a big feature. I’ve been working in the studio, I’ve done a few tracks with Tinie Tempah. I’m also trying to get more features and more collaborative work with artists outside of Nigeria or Accra and explore Europe, and go back to America and do all of that.
Currently working on my first project, my EP –
Yay! [celebrates with intense excitement]
[Chuckles] Yeah, that’s going to come out maybe in the summer for you guys and it’s going to be called The Alien’s Playlist and it’s just going to be a collection of music and just different vibes.
For the EP, I just want people to be able to relate to everything I’m able to offer. As a creative, I don’t want to ever be boxed or contained. Just a musician or just a photographer. I want the ability to work in as many avenues as I can, just to explore and share my gifts or whatever. I feel like through this EP that I’m working on, it will express that in some way. And then possibly do my first show at the end of the year, other shows and tour and then– festival season!
I just want to be able to do more and collaborate more, I feel like collaboration is very key to our day in age right now, so that’s like what I’m working on for the year.
That’s all very exciting and I can’t wait for it!
For the last part of the interview I just wanted to throw some quick-fire questions at you, are you ready?
Okay, yeah let’s go!
Twitter or Instagram?
Sunglasses or Jewelry?
Oh rah, that’s crazy –
Yeah, I knew this was going to be a hard one for you!
Rah… I choose jewelry because sometimes I can go without sunglasses but my jewelry stays on always!
Books or films?
[Digresses] Oh, what’s your favorite film?
Rah, Titanic. I think what I love most about it was the whole cinematography and all that, so definitely that.
Adidas or Nike?
Rah… Nike, I’d say. I have to. That’s hard!
Piercings or Tattoos?
Tattoos. I love tattoos, I have more tattoos than piercings so…
Lagos or Houston?
They’re like the same place! I’d say Lagos though. Lagos has more energy so for sure Lagos.
Phone-call or text?
Text – no actually I lied, I hate both, to be honest.
[Laughs] You don’t like interacting with people?
It’s just a thing… like I do like interacting with people, but I’d rather see you because through text or phone-call a lot of things don’t go as you think they’d go. When you have a conversation with someone face to face, it’s perfect.
Fair, I feel that! Apple or Android?
Apple, for sure.
Brunch or Dinner?
Brunch because I rarely eat so I probably would just eat randomly during the day. So brunch for sure.
You’re at the bar with friends. What are you ordering: shots or cocktails?
Cocktails because I don’t drink –
You don’t drink? That’s interesting!
Yeah, I’m allergic to alcohol so I just get crazy high! [laughs]
[Laughs] Yeah I feel that too! Well, thank you so much for having this chat with me.
Thank you so much, thank you, thank you! It was so fun.