By Tosin Ajirire
Talented singer cum songwriter, Ridhwan Babatunde Shittu popularly known as PapaRaZzle, is making waves around the world with his kind of music.
The young, versatile artiste travels the extra mile to create lyrics of life, while also embedding love and passion into his art.
In this interview, PapaRaZzle, who expresses warmth in his melodies, reveals how he constructs his unique groovy sound that gets listeners on their feet at the touch of the dial. Enjoy it.
Tell us briefly about your background.
My name is Ridhwan Babatunde Shittu. I was born and raised in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. I had my primary and secondary education in Nigeria, University in Benin Republic and Post Graduate in Canada. I have a degree in Law and Post Graduate degree in International Business Management. I wear so many hats. I am a music artiste, a business owner, and an IT enthusiast amongst others.
How exactly did you come into music and how would you describe your kind of music?
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. It’s one thing that I’ve been super consistent about, and anyone who knows me from way back will tell you that. I’ve always been singing, rapping; I started writing poetry in secondary school, and then I started writing songs. I always tried to express myself through art, and music was the most natural for me. It came easy.
Genre-wise, I don’t like to put myself in a box. I grew up listening to a lot of different styles of music and all of that influenced my style today. Music from my parents’ playlists, music from my uncles, sisters, friends… So, my sound is a fusion of several music styles and genres.
How many songs do you have till date and what’s your favourite amongst them and why?
I’ve been putting out songs online since 2011. I started distributing (my music) on digital streaming platforms in 2017, and since then, I’ve put out 15 singles independently. I don’t have a favourite as most of my songs come from personal experiences or memories. So, they are all special to me for different reasons.
What were the reactions of your parents when you told them you’re going into music?
Like most Nigerian parents, they didn’t like it at first. But now, I think they know that it’s a part of me, and I’m great at it. Also, since they love me, they support anything I love.
How did you come about your stage name, PapaRaZzle?
Everyone that knows me, or close to me, calls me ‘Papa’. It’s been my nickname since I was a child. My friends added ‘Razzi’ to it and I changed that to ‘RaZzle’ so ‘PapaRaZzle’. RaZzle means ‘out celebrating or enjoying’ oneself.
What do you consider as your strengths and weaknesses as a musician?
I don’t like to think about strengths and weaknesses when it comes to creating art. I think it’s a form of self-expression and everyone expressing things uniquely. So, I shouldn’t be judged by trying to figure out what the strengths and weaknesses are. For me, I don’t think about that, I just create, and I’m thankful for the ability to express myself through music.
Tell us about your first time on stage. Did you experience any stage fright, and what other shows have you performed?
That was when I was in the university. I was nervous but once I started singing and performing, I got lost in it, and that’s what music does to me. Whenever I’m writing, recording, singing or performing, I forget everything else.
Your mum prayed that you would be famous and rich like Davido in your song, Story For Days. To what extent has that prayer inspired you?
Mum always prays for me. And I’m blessed and grateful to have her in my life, as she’s been my backbone through life’s many phases. And it’s not just the prayer; she is a source of inspiration to me.
Did your mum’s prayer for fame and wealth inspired your song, New Day where you sing about blessing and riches coming your way?
New Day was released before Story For Days. New Day is symbolic for holding on to hope, and knowing that by consistently working on what you want and walking towards your dreams, it will be achieved.
Your PYG music video is unique, what inspired it?
I wanted to showcase Nigeria’s dance culture with that song. Shout out to the director, the Great Uwah for bring that vision alive.
What inspired your song, Plead My Case? Was your lover trying to jilt you because she felt you didn’t care enough about her?
Not jilt, but with dreams comes responsibility! Sometimes, when you’re in a relationship and you’re trying to achieve certain goals personally, it’s hard to balance things, and the people who are the closest to you, and who you owe attention, too suffer. Plead My Case is just me begging to be understood.
How do you handle women who usually flock around artistes?
I’m focused on the dream only! Ha-ha… I appreciate all the love I receive.
What’s your most memorable moment as an artiste?
A lot of moments are memorable, but my most memorable moment has been when people reached out to me, to tell me how much they loved my songs, and how my songs have made them feel. I’m happy to know my music connects!
Aside music, what else do you do?
I’m a co-CEO of Ruis Elz Ltd; we do imports and exports. I also own an e-commerce company, NIID Ltd. I am an IT and crypto enthusiast as well as an investor… I do a lot with my time!
What are your plans for the New Year?
My music-related plan is to release a lot more music and music-related content this year. I have a 2-song project coming up on February 11. It’s themed: “SIP ON IT/THANK YOU”. It will be my first release of the year, and the first of many. I also plan to tour and perform live in as many countries as possible, God willing.