By Olu James
Five months after emerging winner of the Big Brother Naija competition, Lekan Agbeleshe aka Laycon is excited starring in his own reality show, I Am Laycon, the first Showmax Nigerian original series which debuted on Thursday February 11.
In this interview, the fast rising singer opens up on life after Big Brother, his music career, and what to expect on I Am Laycon. Enjoy it.
What was it like starring in your own reality show?
It’s me just working, living my normal life and having cameras follow me around. When you compare it to how it was in the House, it’s totally different because this time around, I am around people I’m totally comfortable with. I’m taking it one day at a time and enjoying myself.
What was it like shooting with your fellow ex-BBNaija housemates?
It wasn’t shooting per se: it was just cameras following me around while doing things I would do on a normal day. The people that were on the show were those who were able to make it because I hung out with other people, but the cameras were not able to capture it. For instance, I did a recording with Vee (on the show) but that wasn’t the only time we hung out. I also hung out with Lilo, Ozo, Prince and Praise. Neo couldn’t make it. Dorothy and Nengi aren’t on the show, but I actually spent time with these people while we were shooting, and there was just not enough time. So, for me, both my old and new friends I found while on the show, I hung out with them on set.
What do you want viewers to take away from watching your show?
I’m always 100 per cent myself, I make mistakes and grow from them. I have fun with people I’m comfortable with. My first impressions are sh-tty, so I’m misunderstood and complicated but I’m still that guy. I feel like there’s an evolution from me on that show and you guys will see it.
How did the Big Brother Naija house change you?
The two weeks we spent in isolation before I went into the House changed me, the House changed me and this thing I’m experiencing is changing me. I feel like change is a part of growth that you have to mould to your goal as a person. I’ve made mistakes and people sometimes look at me and say I’m changing, but I didn’t go through all those things to stay the same person. I know what I want to do with my newfound influence, and that’s not going to change.
Have the dynamics of the relationship between you and your friends also changed?
There’s a whole lot happening simultaneously that I feel for my friends that are part of my team, even the things we talk about get linked up with work, but it’s understandable. That’s why there was a time I had to buzz Bisi (my best friend) for us to just gist and talk. I said to him, ‘don’t come and meet me to say you have this thing by 5pm, let’s just chill and talk’. The same way I called up Brainee and Scar for us to just sit and talk as friends.
What was the following morning after winning Big Brother Naija like?
I just wanted to talk to my mum and family to see how they were doing.
Did you expect to win Big Brother Naija?
The one thing I didn’t expect was to win Big Brother Naija, so there was no future plan for this. So, it’s the one thing I’m happy I‘m going through without having thought about it because, sometimes, when you think about things a lot, when they happen, they don’t really shock you. And when it happens you start to find a way to adjust. But this one I’m actually experiencing it first-hand, and while it can be overwhelming, it’s still an enjoyable thing not everyone gets to experience.
What do you miss most about life before Big Brother Naija?
Since I stepped into the Big Brother House, I haven’t been alone for 12 hours. Before now, I used to like sitting down by myself and just plotting out different scenarios and looking for a way to move forward. But I haven’t been able to play my mind games in a while, because there’s a lot to do. Also, I haven’t been able to read as much as I used to before.
What’s an average day in the life of Laycon like?
Laycon wakes up with different ideas of what he’s supposed to do and how he’s supposed to go about them without wasting time, and also making sure he achieves most of his goals for the day. He also wakes up knowing that plans can be derailed by some people who influence the day in a negative way, but he just has to make sure that the day is productive.
How do you handle pressure from social media?
I let myself understand other people’s perspective, but I don’t let it affect what I want to do for myself because the truth is, I’ve never seen a situation where anybody will go meet the fans and say, ‘You guys should stop doing this’ and the fans listen. They will not stop. I mean they care about you, which is why they do some of the things they do. But regardless, find a way to make sure you’re yourself and let whatever you want to do be the motivation for what you’re doing.
At what point will you tell yourself, ‘I’ve arrived’?
I really don’t know when I’m going to pat myself on the back. I’ve got a goal as a human being, artist, son and brother, so there are different scenarios. I patted myself on the back when I graduated from the University of Lagos; I patted myself on the back when I saw myself on the MTV Base Top 10 chart; when I got signed to my label; when I got a scholarship (though I lost it); when I got into the Big Brother House and when I won. So, it’s a continuous process. It’s not like for every one of your achievements you do not acknowledge them. You’ve done something huge because not everybody has gotten to that stage; you’re one of the few or many. Regardless, there are a billion other people who haven’t achieved what you did. So, I feel that for every achievement or for everything that brings me joy, I pat myself on the back.
Why was it so important to surround yourself with your day ones?
For me personally, I feel like everyone around me knows who I am, and they know how I think or react to anything that happens, and the best way to handle things without affecting people negatively. That’s why it seems like when I was in the House and they were out here, everything was kind of cohesive. I feel like these people are ready to go the mile with me and for me, so it’s important that you surround yourself with people who support, love and understand what you want for yourself.
What’s your definition of success as a music artiste?
The goal that you have for yourself as an artiste – if it’s billboards, stepping on stage, people screaming your name – not everyone will get to experience these as an artiste, but if you live your life as an artiste and you don’t get to experience that, does it mean you’ve failed as an artiste?
If you can change lives as an artiste and still you don’t get to a level people are screaming your name when you’re on stage, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed because for me it’s about the process. If you fall in love with the process of being an artiste – creating music, performing whether it’s on a big or small stage, creating the beat, lyrics and so on – you’ll never get tired of doing these things. Once you know that this is a continuous process, that even Beyonce does, then that’s what should motivate you. You also do not get frustrated because you know you’re doing the things that make you an artiste.
What other projects are you working on?
I’ll be putting out an EP and an album.
What’s on your Showmax playlist?
There’s a lot I’d watch on Showmax including my show, I Am Laycon. But right now, I’m watching Suits and Game of Thrones. Suits, I’m re-watching because I learn a lot from the show, and Game of Thrones, because it’s Game of Thrones!