My name is Dwin the Stoic. I’m a writer, musician, journalist, and several other things.

Um… So I had encountered the word ‘Stoic’ in a song
by Mumford and Sons.

And I was very fascinated by the idea
of going through life, you know, just, you know, good or bad.
Just taking things as they come. And I mean, I thought it to be very interesting. And I decided to take it on. Of course, it’s
an oxymoron now because I’m not stoic.

I make songs about feelings
and… Good feelings, bad feelings, but feelings nonetheless. And so. But yeah, when time came to choose a name to put out music with, I kept bouncing between Dwin or The Stoic. And then I found out there was another Dwin. So I just went with Dwin the Stoic.

Always, always, I think um… Just going as far as like as a kid,
I was introduced to just very interesting genres of music from my father who used to DJ at some point in university. And so there was a bunch of records at home.

I would say a lot of the sad songs I write now, I attribute to listening
to a lot of Jim Reeves as a kid. My dad played a lot of Jim
Reeves, The Beatles. And so, yeah, I drew a lot of you know. I just listened to a lot of different types of music. Ebenezer Obey, sometimes. It was it was a very nice mix.

I always loved music. Hmm. I would say officially that would be 2018 when I decided to put out an album. The album is called Heavy Heart, and the decision came… Well, I decided sometime around 2017, I was working as a technical consultant at the time.

I was working with financial institutions and not unlike, Risevest. And I was, I was mostly helping with programming and whatnot.

I was a tech guy for a lot of them. And at the time, I just said, “You know what? I want to make an album. I have a bunch of songs. I’ve been writing…”

I’ve been writing since 2007. I wrote my first song 2007
and so, you know. By 2017, it’d been ten years
of just writing and keeping in my books.

I mean, I’d recorded it once or twice but nothing, you know, I was not an artist. And so 2018, I decided, you know what, I’m going to put the songs out and let people feel them or know what they feel about them. And yeah. The inspiration from, I mean I’m inspired by different things.

I think with the songs, most times, I’m… Every song is a particular story. How I, you know. What I employ in terms of the lyrics or the melody or the type of genre because I think that’s one thing I don’t, I don’t put myself in any box regarding genre.

I’ve done, I’ve done house music, I’ve done hip hop, I’ve worked with rappers at least four times in my life. I’ve done just a bunch of different genres.

So I would say that listening to these different people helped me have this sort of, you know, palette to work with. So right now, and I mean, even working on the
song, it was a thing where all the things I knew came to play.

It’s like “What have I done like this before?” “What have I heard like this?” And just bring it all together.

Hmm. That’s actually been a conversation for the longest time. I’m not sure. I can’t. So there was a time when the word alternative would have sufficed, but I think it’s beyond that now. I think um with the music that’s coming, I think you would call me more pop. But again, not necessarily Afropop, but there is Afropop in there.

But there’s also I don’t, I don’t know how to say that. I don’t think it’s possible to say that Dwin the Stoic makes this kind of music, because I’m working on a Salsa song now. I’m probably going to do a Fuji song sometime in my life.

I work with a person who does reggae. Like, all these things are bound to happen or have already happened. And so when I’m asked about genres, I’m just like, I just make music. It’s just. Yeah.

Since 2018, I think it’s just been, I’ve been just encountering new parts of this journey and having to come to a place
where I can even say that music is just one of the things that I do, not a side thing or nothing.

And I think that being on show, being, you know, it’s not a, it’s not a pretty easy industry. It’s a, it’s a tough one. And to then not be doing
the conventional sound, you have to deal with the uncertainty of that.

But I also just really love music And so for me, it came down to ‘I want to do this because I’m quite good at it and I like doing it. ‘So yeah, that’s, that’s what. So I’d say growth has also been amazing. I think earlier this year across a million streams across platforms. And that was really cool because again, I didn’t. I wasn’t… I mean, I wasn’t necessarily doing this for numbers, but I mean the numbers are great.

But yes, I think it’s great to have the growth so far. The challenges with that, I would say… On one hand, I would say that you feel like there’s a lot more to prove when you’re doing music that’s not the, you know, the popular you know, sound of the day.

But I would also say that’s the way that music moves, you know. I mean, there was a time when rock was pop and now it’s a bit more stringent, you know, but you find that it moves.

And so I’ve stopped worrying about that most times. And I think in what I said earlier, I think I’ve just now got to a place where I’m like, you know what?

I like doing music and the music I’ll make might even be the popular sound at some point or it’s not. But is it a good song?

Is it a good story? I think that’s the extent of my current, how I take a look at the music industry.

I want to make good music for people who enjoy good music.

Regardless of genre. And so very interesting thing you said about how rock is important now.

It’s not so important. So yeah, how how would you feel? Because I think there’s a thing that people who do other things.

Yeah. Look at the fringes. Yeah. Yourself.

So that’s the thing. Exactly. Letting go of
that is very important, I think. Letting go of the…

I think being different doesn’t need to be, you know, the, you know, tortured, struggling artiste thing.

You could just You could be selling out shows.

I mean, people are. That’s, that’s the thing. In the genres that we explore that are, you know, fringe and alternative here, they’re not like in some countries you have your full career with that, you know.

So I also and with the word being like less of a ‘you’re stuck where you are’ I mean, for me, next year, I would really like to, you know. I want to travel and yeah, take the sound to all the places. And what I’ve learned, you know, I’m also a very huge student of the… of music. Of just checking up on old artistes.

What are they doing now? And all that. And like you find out some people just like had the chance to spread their music
across the world.

They found a city that was not theirs, but that became home. A recent example of that was finding out that Elton John
lives in Atlanta in the US.

If you had said that to me on a random day,
I’d have just been like, it doesn’t make sense.

He’s Sir Elton John; he is going to be in
the UK, but no, he found Atlanta. So I think with the world
becoming what it is now, I think nobody needs to be, “oh, I’m on the fringes and nobody will listen to me.” I think we are just. It may not be your country.

That’s just the fact. It may not be your country that appreciates the sound, but yeah, it’s just there’s somewhere. There’s a market for sure.

The current music scene, I think is in a very important point right now where… So I would say that every time I hear about a new collaboration with a foreign artiste from, you know, from Tems to Ayrastarr to you know, Burna, whatever it is that I hear that’s happening, all I see there is a chance for the structures here to become more solid for fringe artistes.

For alternative artistes. For artistes who are not doing the pop sound. Because the thing is, if the industry was set up in the way that a lot of industries outside of Nigeria are set up, even if you were not doing the more popular sound, you should still be able to, you know, there’s publishing, you get your things, stuff in movies, all these things in acts.

The structure is now like, you know, becoming more defined because with working with foreign artists, that means you’re signing deals with them. You’re learning or what’s, working there and all that.

So I like, I like that that’s happening for us. I think we used to occupy this space before, funny enough. Sunny Ade was touring the world. He wasn’t here. Ebenezer Obey, all of them. Fela.

They didn’t… They came here, they played their shows, They played well. But the idea of going to Chicago next week to do a show was not a… Was not foreign. They were going to pack up
and go and play a show and come back.

So we’re getting back there,
I think, where… And I think. Yeah, I mean, Nigeria as I think this is why we love to look at this we we, but we have this thing where we make good music. We’ve been doing it for a long time. And so we’re getting back to a place where we’re taking that everywhere.

So this will happen for I think, the popular song. But also for the fringe alternative sound for money. OK, yeah. How you start?

I have a job. I have a day job. That’s, that’s how that is. I mean, I will say that it is it’s quite, it’s quite possible to earn I think in a lot of… Since 2018 I think a lot of what I have been doing, I’ve been an independent artist.

Not being signed means you’re learning
a lot of things by yourself. I think. Yeah, it’s been a lot of learning. It’s been finding out, okay, I make good music, what does that mean
for me as, to earn as an artist?

And so that’s where you find out that okay, so I may not get played in the clubs, but I could get a slot in this movie. And that’s been something that has been very prevalent in my I think, I think my… My music thinks well with visuals, I would say.

And so, um, you know, a couple shows here and there. You know, have some stuff working, that I’m working on with people about their visuals and of course, you know, add music.

So, I would say money has always been an interesting thing for me. I’ve not. It’s one of those things where I see I know it’s necessary. I’m not a huge fan of how necessary it is, but I know it is.

And so I have always tried to optimize for that. So in the way that since I left Uni over seven, eight years ago, I’ve always had some type of like paid employment in somewhere.

And yeah, that has always been a thing that I’ve had to do alongside of music because I think this is most of the advice I give to young artistes or alternative artistes who are not, you know. You, you need to not. Like, you can’t create from a place of lack.

It starts to affect the art, I think. I had a brief period where I had
to, you know, I didn’t. In between jobs, and you just find that with the music you kind of start going at it as a you know, I don’t have anything to do and I must do this.

And then, you know, with that comes some, you know, signing deals that are not the best for you. You can’t negotiate much because you, you just need this thing to leave. And so, most of the time, I would just say and then it’s funny.

I saw a recent interview with Asake and where he was going that He came to a bar where he said it was music or nothing. But that was someone who I would say even at the time when Omo Ope had happened, he he had some traction.

And I would say… But it’s also very key that if you. But if you, you know. If you have like a plan, a path and you say, you know what? I do want to do this music thing alone. Yeah. Go for it. It’s important.

Okay. So it was Adeola of 2brthrs who created the ad and then he had called me. He had mentioned that he’s doing an ad and he needs the kind of music I do. I mean, in that moment, I was like, okay, I guess. Like, I’m not sure which type. And then he mentioned the song by my band, Ignis Brothers.

We put out a song called, The Alien At Home and he’s like he likes
the calmness of that. But then he shows me a reference track,
some other track that was just finer. that was like, it had a different pace. I was like, okay, cool.

And yeah, I told him, “okay, cool. I will work on something quickly.” So in about 30 minutes, I kind of went… I wanted to create a distinct sound. When I, when I work with brands, I think I always, I think from the point… Like, I’m also like a person in media.

And so I know that for a brand, you want a song, not just to have a song, but you want something that people will remember and think of you.

And so in the way that McDonald’s will have like “I’m lovin’ it” that thing. Some other brands have that unique. I wanted to create something. So that’s where the unique melody at the beginning *hums

That’s where it came from. And then following that, you know, beat, that tempo because I this is how I write most times.

I just kinda taps hands because I don’t, I don’t play any instrument, funny enough. But I mostly like, you know, compose in my head.

And so I did that and yeah, had at least the first verse and chorus ready in a few minutes. I sent to him. He was like, yep, yep, yep.

And then, yeah, I went to complete the song at the studio with my producer, Raffi.

Yeah. And I mean, I create everything with him and we just, we have a very good synergy.

So I just, I’d recorded the voice note and sent to him, that’s what we’re doing next.

And so when I go to the studio, we just. It was in one night. We just, like, took out an hour and a half out of our session and then put the song.

I would say that one thing that my music usually has is just the fact that my voice doesn’t change as much across genres.

So I have… I will admit that it’s not like any song I have done, but in the, in the, in the writing and in the, in the voice, I think it’s still quite similar to a lot of my stuff. But Rise is a, I think for lack of better words, was an inspirational song in some way.

I think it’s, I think it ties into the
theme of what you know Rise is. The word itself, you know. Just to leave where you are and just go to a better place. And I think that was a key factor in composing the song to create the feeling of going up.

And so you will see that when you get to the chorus, Um, I even sing in a higher register just to take it up and you know. So that’s, that was the concept now.

And so you’ll hear a lot of strings as well, I think. Yeah, I’m a sucker for strings.

I think it would be hard for me to not put violins or cellos in something I’m doing.

So, yeah. Um, it’s a, it’s an inspirational song that I’ve tagged indie pop because I think that’s what it is. I think it has the *taps hands It’s the pop part of it, I think.

And then the singing and the lyrics, you know, fit more in the Indies now. I do, I think even in the first few lines. So I didn’t, I didn’t write the song…

So I mean, when you’re told to write a song for an ad, you don’t make a full song, usually. You just make what you need for the ad,
the 1 minute, and that’s it.

It’s a jingle. But I wanted to make a song. I think we were talking with Adeola and we were just like, it was good to make a song. I think song works.

And yeah. So I had written that like I would write a song I was putting out and, and it’s out, by the way. And yeah, it was, it was important that, for example, the first few lines “some days can feel so long, longer than a song, shorter than the dream.”

It’s supposed to speak to how they feel long but they are they don’t. They are not as long as. There’s a dream that, you know, is more important than the long day you’re having.

And so that’s why we keep going, because even as long as it is, it’s like but it’s shorter than the dream I have. There’s still a long way to go.

And so with Rise and with the chorus, it’s like there’s still so far to go. It’s like you need to rise. That’s the. It’s the journey, really.

Tell you about my 9-5. Okay. I’m editor in chief at Zikoko and a lot of my work is telling stories which is… It just ties well with the person that I am. I think, I can say that in every aspect of my life

I’m telling stories in the, you know, in the newsletters we put out, in the stories we tell like Nairalife, and you know, Love life and we explore. We hold up a mirror to Nigeria. And also Africa and we say, “This is you, this is what’s happening, this is life.”

And, you know, with that comes a lot of things. And so you’re managing a lot of expectations because people, people don’t realize that humanity is too diverse for a lot of the strongly held opinions we sometimes have. And I think working at Zikoko, you, you kind of you meet that face to face. But I’d say the work is mostly, you know, also growing. Growing the, growing the brand. Growing the you know.

Making sure that we’re telling important stories and just doing good work. And I would say so far, so good. We’re working out the thing.

It’s… So I mean, on one hand, I’ve always been a scatterbrained person. I’m just now using it to my advantage. I’ve always had the penchant to be on like 50 different things at once and with, with working at Zikoko and doing music I think my life constantly feels that way.

It can get a bit much sometimes. So I try to, you know, optimize for rest. But, you know, a lot of times, yeah, that’s it.

I’m just… There’s a bunch of things in front of me and so, you know, prioritize and you know, with the 9-5, you know, it’s mostly they’re very clear.

With Dwin the Stoic, I try to, you know, set certain goals and hit them. With work, there’s goals set. There’s business objectives.

And so finding the best way to approach all of them is just what I do. I try to, you know, prioritize. And of course, I have an amazing team
on both sides, on Zikoko and I have an amazing managing editorial and it’s just a very creative team and just the whole of the Cabal Media.

And for Dwin the Stoic, I have my manager and you know, I have my team as well. So yeah, it’s gotten a bit easier having people help with things, but it’s still, you know, a lot because I mean a lot of times, it’s just a lot of thinking.

And ‘where, where do you go’ you know, happens here. And so it can be a lot, but yeah.

I mean, I’ve, I’ve been a couple of them on forever and it’s spread across. So the thing is in between those two things, you find that every other thing I do like scriptwriting, podcast creation,

I mean videos scripting. I just directed my first official music video for Dwin the Stoic, but also at Zikoko, we’re creating some new shows which you should look out for.

They’re really cool. Yeah. So it’s like I’m… So there’s a bunch of crazy things I do. I’ve recently like my design for the for the new single Without Your Love, it has just… I created a bunch of designs, lyric videos and all that on Canva.

And this is something where like I just really love the tool and like I… Yeah, I do that as well.

Design sometimes. Whatever it is that needs to be done creatively, I just kind of find a way. Okay, I’d say yes.

I’d say in the way that I’d written the song. I think I connect, you know, quite well with the idea of Rise. I think I think it was very cool that the you know.

I know the company name is Risevest. Rise as a brand, you know, really work. And I think that’s what spoke to me in that, it’s, you know, investment being the tool.

Yes. But the key message being that you’re you’re going to take yourself from here.

And I’m actually a customer. Actually. So I’m a user. And I think that I, I relate with the brand in that… I mean, with the economy we have, you definitely want to know that something is there.

That it’s not just falling down all the time. And so. But I also say that the… How I relate that with my journey would also be that it’s always just for me constantly being about being better than yesterday.

Just growing constantly. I’ve shed a lot of the “I must be that person
or that thing from my life.”

I mean, there are big goals. There are things I would like to do, but I also think it’s very important that you also go through life knowing that in the way that life is random, nothing is set in stone.

The only thing you can be better than is the you that you were yesterday truly, you know?

So yeah, I think rising is the thing that’s essential and so we’re doing that. I think for me, someone who doesn’t like staring at money for too long, I would say is the knowing that just like there’s a, there’s an account and there’s a plan for it, that is not for me to think about.

It’s just there is a savings plan where I put in some money and save in dollars so that it can stay sensible? And then it’s constantly growing. I think that was, I think. Yeah, I think for one of the first few things that I actually put in Rise was money from a show I’d done.

Yeah, it was. Yeah. We had done a show and then we just was like,
yeah, I mean might as well just but done.

It didn’t matter I think it is important. I think you start off… Like when I was younger, savings was everything.

It was all they were talking about. But, you know, you grow old and you find that savings, savings are not, they’re just that. Just savings.

You’re not doing much. And so the thing is, you know, when you live in a place where inflation is a very real thing and you, you know that you want your money to just be useful to you.

I think investment comes into play. I wouldn’t say that it’s been the I mean, with the way life is, you. It’s not always been the You don’t always know like what to do.

And that’s why it’s very helpful when you have brands or just, you know, companies that are helping to make that easier.

So I would say investment is very key. I think it’s very important
for any young person or anybody really who is trying to just do more things.

Like for me, I think the next thing I want to do is travel. I just want to, you know, go somewhere and just you know, do that.

It’s been a while. Since COVID, I don’t think I’ve done a proper trip. Yeah.

Okay, a couple of things because one thing I’m very passionate about is helping young artistes not have to make the mistakes I did.

I say young like I’m an old man, but you know, that’s a running joke at Zikoko, that I’m 42. But I would say it’s important to… You need to read a lot. You need to know better than your team.

I know that you probably have a team. You’ve signed to a management company or you signed with a label, but you need to educate yourself.
And I know that it’s a lot to ask with the fact that you’re actually doing cool work as a creative, as an artist. But it’s important to know, because while the people around you help you and like they want to, like your contracts and all that, at the end of the day, it’s your career.

You get to make decisions. So you need to make decisions
from a place of knowledge. You need to know what does a movie think sync deal mean for me?

Will this money that I’m taking from this label as a loan Because usually that’s what it is. Does it… Can I pay it back?

And even if I can’t, like, is it a situation where I can But I can grow with this label. I can get better and we can all… Because I think one thing I’ve always been upset about with like and I mean on both sides, when labels have these slave contracts and when artists run out on label contracts is that there shouldn’t be that, you know.

Because it’s a business. It’s actually. I think the music industry is one of those unique businesses where nobody is truly a competitor.

We can… Like there’s no… Except for maybe personal beef between artistes or between labels. There is no reason why two labels can not work together. And so what that means is that at every point in time, just, we can all just be making money.

Everybody could be eating. And so it’s like it’s important that… But then, what happens is the world is not ideal and people will try to cheat you.

So you need to then know what you’re doing, what you’re getting into. But yeah, I’d just say read. And ask. Talk to people.

If you’re, if you’re being offered a deal for something, and you know someone in the industry who probably has that knowledge, reach out, ask and see what they say.

But yeah, just read. Who haven’t started investing, I would say to also read. For people who are just starting to invest, I would say it’s important to know because I mean, investment for a lot of people is just. It’s a buzz word. It’s a thing, “Oh, you should invest.”

But then it’s like how? And that is where it gets tricky because just like with the last advice, people will try to, you know, one-up you.

You need to then know that, okay, you know what? I am going into this fully informed. Just general, you know, just What’s it called? Rule of thumb. If they’re promising you something that’s too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.

Just generally. 30% increase in a month. You need to know what it is
they are doing with the money before you say yes to that.

But I would say And all this is stuff that you do a bit of research and you learn. You don’t have to make the same mistakes.

I know that there’s always stories of scams and all that.

But you then, you know, you do your research and then you find out because there are good investment opportunities and you should look into them because they help you just have a more secure future,
you know.

Because I mean, regardless of what’s happening, you know, you know that the market is growing and all that. Regardless of what your current financial situation is, you know that you’ve put some money away to help you basically. So research. Read.