Joeboy has a new album on the way and he cannot wait for the world to hear the magic he’s been working on.
Clarence Mac Ebong
●31st January 2023
The story of the current state of Afrobeats is incomplete without Joeboy. If he is not mentioned for his mammoth streaming numbers, then he would get mentioned because of his penchant for writing delicate love songs. His growth is something special to witness especially because he is something of an unlikely star. However unlikely, his stardom is definite, and he continues to carve out a unique space for himself in the daunting presence of our beloved Afrobeats genre.
Born Joseph Akinwale Akinfenwa-Donus, he became exposed to the music space by helping his friend record songs. That love of music started through his family as they were a musically inclined bunch who contributed to music at church. After much persuasion, Joeboy began laying his own vocals on beats. He started off making covers of established records before catching new life with his cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”. In an interview with Grungecake, he said, “I didn’t like my songs for the first two years. I even used to cringe to the “Shape of You” cover.”
While studying Human Resources and Personnel Management at the University of Lagos, Mr. Eazi reached out to him on Instagram and things escalated quickly. Fast forward a few years to 2023, and we’ve witnessed a first-hand explosion of Joeboy’s talent. We’ve witnessed him grow through smash hits like “Baby”, “Nobody” and “Sip (Alcohol)”, as well as one EP and his debut studio album, Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic. He prepares to enter a new phase of his career with his new release, “Body & Soul”.
Joeboy has been busy. Despite a seemingly quiet 2022, he experienced a few firsts. “Last year wasn’t always meant to be quiet,” he tells me. “There were plans to put out a deluxe version of Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic in late 2021 but “Sip (Alcohol)”, which was the first single off the deluxe took off and changed everything.” He got a Grammy plaque for his work on Major Lazer’s Music Is The Weapon album, as well as making it on the NBA 2K23 soundtrack and selling out a venue in Suriname for the first time.
With talent as mercurial as his, it is easy to understand why his music would take him to places he had never heard of before. Joeboy’s talent allows him to craft love songs that put all his intricate feelings into words. He touches your heart and then makes you tap your feet, appealing to the senses that music, as a phenomenon, feeds on. This emotional aspect of Joeboy comes naturally to him. “I am a lover boy at heart,” he says. “It comes naturally. Being expressive and intentional about loving is very important to me, and it translates into my songs.”
Signing to Mr. Eazi’s EmPawa has given Joeboy the platform to express this talent. With over 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify and healthy streaming numbers on his records, one can affirm that Joeboy’s music is capable of reaching far and wide. However, one would imagine that it brings pressure to replicate success. Speaking on that note, Joeboy tells me, “I try not to think about that. My focus is to keep making good music — music that comes from a personal place [that] my fans can continuously relate with.”
He’s cooking something new for his fans. Joeboy claims there’s an album on the way and has been working on it “for a while” and it is “almost ready”. When I pried for some more information about his new project, he was tight-lipped on a release date. He did mention Tekno, E-Kelly, and Tempoe as some of his guests and ended on an exciting note, stating that he “cannot wait for the world to hear the magic.”