ON THE RADAR: Sojiii - Tombo [VIDEO]
Toronto-based, Nigerian-born artist Sojiii is steadily crossing continental and cultural borders with his latest afropop single “Tombo”. The video, which was released this spring, is garnering attention globally with fans showing love from around the world and taking to social media with their versions of the #TomboChallenge. As Sojiii expresses, the song was inspired by love, “a guy drunk in love with a woman.” He explains that the term “Tombo” is one used in Nigeria to refer to palm wine, a natural African delicacy that, if consumed excessively, can get a person tipsy and cause them to lose control. In this case, it’s a lady who has this unbounded influence over Sojiii as seen throughout the sensual visuals of his video, which is also set in a winery.
We had a chance to get exclusive with Sojiii about topics ranging from his background, to career milestones, and his biggest musical inspirations. Catch his latest video below and continue scrolling for our full interview.
Where are you from and where are you currently based?
Sojiii: I am from Nigeria. I was born in Jos, north side of Nigeria. I was raised there and partially raised in Lagos, Nigeria and Toronto, Canada. Currently, I'm based in Canada, but I can also say Nigeria has come back to become my second base.
How long have you been pursuing your music career?
Sojiii: I have been doing music for a total of 11 years professionally. Growing, learning, performing, enjoying what I love to do. From studio, to the stage, to branding—it’s been 11 years. What is the meaning behind your stage name “Sojiii”?
Sojiii: (Laughs) The meaning behind my stage name "Sojiii" is special to me. “Soji” is actually a Nigerian term for "wake up" or "woke", like people say out here. It means you’re “A+”—but I am "Sojiii", meaning that I'm A+ but three times as nice at it (laughs). Which is why I use three “i”s instead of one.
What inspired you to become a music artist?
Sojiii: At first, what inspired me was my passion for music. But what has kept me going has pretty much been me just getting inspired by the world, inspired by those that did it right…the music legends, and me wanting to be the best version of myself. Those are the things that keep me going and inspire me to make more dope music.
How would you describe yourself as a musician?
Sojiii: I would say I'm a musician who is very versatile and can pretty much vibe with any genre, or I’ll say a majority of them. I'm also a musician who simply wants to stand out, stay trendy and classy, and create the next trend that others can follow in the way that some music legends have done for me and other top musicians who are currently out there. Describe your sound and genre.
Sojiii: My sound is my sound (laughs). So you would pretty much hear Afrobeat from me, you would hear R&B and you would hear dancehall in my sound. You would even hear some hip hop. But not to confuse my listeners, my main genres are afrobeat and afropop.
What inspires the music you create?
Sojiii: Life. Reality. People. That's what inspires what I write about and sing about. I like to keep it real with my music. If I'm talking about love, I keep it real and deep. If I'm talking day-to-day struggles, I like to keep it real as well. These things all inspire what I create. What role has your culture played in shaping your music career?
Sojiii: A lot. It pretty much is what makes me comfortable with my sound, and I can’t wait to keep sharing with the world what my culture, the Nigerian culture, is all about. Also, Torontonian culture, if you know what I mean (laughs).
You have listeners worldwide. Outside of Canada, where are some of your international fans based?
Sojiii: I have fans based in Europe. Most of them are in countries like Russia, Cyprus, Spain, Ukraine, and I have a growing fan base in England. My fan base is basically still building, but I have gotten a lot of love from the countries I’ve mentioned, and it's been amazing. I'm grateful and feeling more inspired.
What is the experience like getting to interact with your international fans?
Sojiii: Interacting with my international fans has been mind-blowing (laughs). It has been mind-blowing! I never knew it would happen this way, but hey, I'm grateful to God that it did. I mean they love me. They really love my music outside of Africa and that makes me feel so honored and happy about that. I have had conversations with some of my international fans and the things they’ve told me—man, I feel good and I'm just focused. They actually want more music and are requesting for an album already (laughs).
At this stage in your career, what have been a few major highlights that you take pride in as an artist?
Sojiii: Up to this point, I take pride in my video topping the charts in Nigeria less than a week after it dropped. I take pride in my team, my label Aymediagroup (AMG) and the work we have coming up. I'm also proud of how far we have come since I dropped my single "Tombo". The song has almost 200K views in two months since it debuted, which is not bad.
What drives you to pursue your craft?
Sojiii: What drives me to pursue my craft is my passion for my music and my dreams, which I have had since I was a young boy, of making my mark in the music business.
Where can listeners find you?
Be sure to follow Sojiii on social media and let us know if you’re loving the production in the comment section below!