The first runner-up in the just concluded Nigerian Idol (Season Seven), Zadok Aghalengbe, tells TOFARATI IGE about his career and plans to maximise the platform he currently has
What does your name, Zadok, mean?
It means sincerity. It is a Hebrew name that can be found in the Bible.
What were your expectations before participating in the show?
Sometime last year (2021), I was watching the show and I kept telling myself that I had to go (participate). A lot of things happened to me prior to attending the audition. I had a major heartbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic also compounded issues. Afterwards, I had financial crisis. Meanwhile, some people had been urging me to go for the show. I actually put in my application a day to the deadline. Initially, I was not selected but later, I got another message that I should come for an audition.
Coming into the show, I was in my elements. Because of the heartbreak, I was so focused. I was not seeing anything else than the goal (of doing well in the competition). When I attended the first audition, I did not speak to anybody. I was that focused. I just wanted to sing and get the ‘golden ticket’ (to move to the next round).
Heartbreaks have propelled some creatives to make iconic songs, movies and other things. In what ways did the heartbreak you suffered motivate you?
As a matter of fact, I am looking for a lot of heartbreaks so that they can push me. It has actually helped my writing. I have written a lot of songs inspired by the heartbreak.
Now that your career is more prominent, would you accept your former girlfriend back into your heart?
Please, don’t let us go there. Don’t put me on the spot.
How would you define your sound?
I believe I have a very beautiful sound and I think I have been able to express a little of it on the show. My music is a blend of old school, present day and future sounds. That is why I describe my music as ‘the past, the present and future sounds’. I said the future because I am always going to be evolving.
Afrobeats is the new bride of music lovers across the world, and a lot of artistes are currently identifying with it. Does your music contain any afrobeats element?
My sound is ‘Afrocentric soul’. When I performed Kizz Daniel’s song, ‘Laye’, he reposted the video on his social media page and wrote, ‘Even me that sang the song cannot perform it like this’. What made the difference was the soul in it. Even if I am going to try other genres, there will always be a feel of soul music in my craft.
Who were the contestants you connected with the most while on the show that you would like to work with, and which established acts will you like to collaborate with?
I connected well with everybody, but mostly with Banty, Debby and Progress. I will like to work with David Oprah, Banty, Faith and Progress. For those already in the industry, I want to work with Asa, Tekno, Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy.
Prior to participating in the show, what had you done in terms of music?
I have three singles— ‘Iyanu ti Shele’, ‘You and I’, and ‘Child of Grace’. Before coming for the show, I had recorded a lot of songs, so moving forward, I will be releasing them.
I am more of an entertainer and performer, so I will be doing lots of live shows. It will be called, ‘Preacher of Love’ concert.
You’re from Edo State but you were born in Niger State. Where did you grow up?
I spent the first 10 years of my life in Minna, the Niger State capital. We later moved to Benin, Edo State. I went on to study Soil Science at the University of Benin. However, I have not worked with my certificate. I came to Lagos because I needed a bigger platform for my music. I also sing in a band named The Cool Ice band.
You grew up across three geopolitical zones— the North-Central, South-South and South-West. How does the multiple cultural experiences you had impact on your music?
In the northern part of the country, they have a special kind of love for themselves. They always share whatever they have with one another. I have picked up on that (culture).
Back in Benin City, I was well loved. Coming down to Lagos, I realised that life here is very different. One is basically on one’s own here. Coming from a place of love to another place of love, then to a place of hustle has really helped to shape me.
Over the years, many reality show winners have been unable to record mainstream success, while some who did not win have gone on to have great careers. Where do you see yourself fitting in between those two and how do you intend to do that?
After my first audition and I got the golden ticket, the show’s host, IK Osakioduwa, asked me what’s next and I said, ‘Up next to the Grammies’. It must have sounded funny because the Nigerian Idol had not even started ‘properly’, yet I was already talking about the Grammys, which has always been my dream. That is my goal and I am aiming towards that direction.
While on the show, some people commended your stage craft in terms of how you were able to maximise the stage and connect with the audience. How did you develop that skill?
Everything I did on the show started a long time ago. I meditate and practise a lot. I have also done a lot in the band I was with and I think that helped me to develop some of the skills I brought to bear on the show. Most importantly, I was just enjoying myself. I wanted to share my sound with people and I achieved that. Followers on my Instagram page grew from less than 10,000 to over 60,000 during the course of the show.
Many people rooted for you while you were on the show. How do you intend to pay back the love they have shown you?
The only way I can pay them back is by giving them good music. I will keep giving them what made them vote for me.