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Korede bello: I prioritise peace of mind over attention

Korede Bello is an award-winning singer who rose to prominence in 2015 after he released ‘Godwin’, a semi-gospel and pop hit song which became a national anthem and topped many music charts across Nigeria. In this interview with MUTIAT LAWORE, Bello spoke on why he has been vocal on mental health wellness, new project, style among others. Excerpts:

Outside of what people already know about you, how would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as someone who is not sure how to describe himself. I don’t know what people know about me but I’m sure what they know is only a memory of me and is no longer sufficient to describe who I am because the memory of a person is not the same as the person. I became a new person when I began to answer this question and perhaps, I might be a different person by the time this interview is over, so that’s why I said I’m not sure how to describe myself. The moment I am done describing myself, I am no longer the described.

You’ve mostly managed to stay off controversies as an artiste, what’s your strategy?

There is no strategy. I think it’s just the fruit of my intention to prioritise peace of mind over attention. I believe It’s God’s grace too because I am not perfect.

Right at the peak of your career, you took time to get a Journalism degree. What informed that decision and how has it impacted your career?

I love education, not so much traditional education but I love to learn how the world works and how the human mind operates. So getting a degree in Mass Communication seemed congruent with what I was already doing professionally; mass communicating art to the world. Writing a headline is not so different from writing a chorus. They both have to be catchy and evoke some sort of emotional reaction. News and Music are both languages of emotional connection. So yes, it is a good thing to be educated on your passion.

You’ve been outspoken about internal wellness and mental health lately. How do you take care of yourself mentally amid the pressure of the entertainment industry?

I have observed that you can be the richest or the most famous person in the world and yet still be unhappy or unsatisfied on the inside. The internal environment is where true health lies. This means that external stimulation cannot fill the void of internal sanity. Everybody you know is looking for the same thing, to be well. Wellness is true wealth. We chase after money so that we can feel it well.

Entertainment is just another form of medicine. But the ‘doctors’ often forget that they’re human too and also need to pay attention to their internal environment. I see myself as a music medicine man, who is very aware that he also needs healing. I create time for healing so that my artistic creations can heal others. The world is getting crazier by the day because you have to be a little crazier than the norm to stand out. So we need more healers in the entertainment space. So for me, life is about balance. Wellness is a skill you can practice and not just something you pray for. How do I take care of myself? I allow myself to be taken care of.

Your new music and video ‘Available’ has just been released; what was it like creating the piece and what inspired it?

It was very exciting to create. We wanted to create something that people can enjoy watching even 10 years from now and that my team and I were able to do that through the new music.

There’s a conception that the new kids on the block don’t respect artistes from your generation and older, what do you think?

I don’t speak for other artistes but I know that true artistes want their art to be respected not their ego. I only focus on what I can control and that is my art. And the only true and lasting art that we ever really create is not music but our character, our internal environment. Music will come and go, superstars will come and go but the artiste will remain with his/her art. And that art is who you have become when the music has stopped playing. So in essence, respect yourself.

Afrobeats has become a global movement with many music cultures taking inspiration from the genre. How has this growth impacted your art and how do you intend to plug into it?

I am privileged to be one of the global faces of the Afrobeats movement. I have certified international golden plaques to my name. I have always created music for a diverse audience. And my intention, whenever I create, is to make Afrobeats for the world. My genre is Afro-global.

What are those parts of you that you are yet to explore in music?

There are so many people who don’t know things I can do music- wise. People are going to be hearing more of that artistic expression. I will be creating more from an intentional point of view where a lot of more honest subjects matter to be touched. There will be more collaboration.

What raving song do you wish you had sang and why?

I can’t think of any right now, may be BUGA by Kizz Daniel. I like songs that carry everybody along. Music that connects people with people. What should your fans expect from you this year? My Best!

What self-help books have inspired you?

The Holy book.

Designer outfits you love to wear?

I wear what looks good, what fits me. I have personal designers like Rotimi Jegede and some others.

Favourite colour?

Purple and blue.

Best fashion accessories?

I love to wear rings.

What is casual dressing to you?

Feeling comfortable in what you are wearing, feeling relaxed without anybody checking if you are properly dressed or not.

What would you consider as your power look?

My smile.

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