Life in Quarantine: Here’s how Prettyboy D-O is spending his days in LA
Whilst he's stuck in LA, D-O is tirelessly working on his music
Whilst he's stuck in LA, D-O is tirelessly working on his music
Life In Quarantine Is A New Bi-Weekly Column We Will Be Running To Give African Artists who are Quarantining In Different Countries From Their Home Country The chance To Speak about Their Creative Processes During The Current Global Pandemic. We will Take A Look Into Their Daily Routines And Find Out How They Are coping Being Away From Their Family And Friends With No End In Sight quite Yet. This week, we catch up with Prettyboy D-O as he quarantines in Los Angeles with his team.
It can be hard to keep up with the rapid pace of events unfolding during the lockdown, especially when you consider that we’re in the middle of an economic crisis and a racial war. One thing about this is that nobody is exempt from the effects of the pandemic, and where we would usually have events and live shows to provide some much-needed comfort from the ills of society, the ‘rona has changed life as we know it. Big events and crowded spaces are a prime spot for the virus to spread, and as such, artists are navigating a tough period, where they’re losing a revenue stream from not being able to perform live shows.
Prettyboy D-O is one of such artists who are affected by the ongoing social distancing requirements and he’s not very happy about how it’s affected his connection to his fans. D-O has been teasing a new project ‘Wildfire’ for a while now, and he went to Los Angeles, California to solidify a distribution deal to aid the reach of his music. Fortunately and unfortunately, he got stuck out there.
As he patiently waits for the borders to open so he can return home to his family and friends, D-O is spending his time in the States wisely. He’s still hard at work regardless and even tells me that he’s been able to record three videos since arriving in the country and foster some cross-border collaborations that his cult-like following would love.
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I came here because I got a distribution deal and needed to finalise it. I signed this back in April, but we haven’t been able to make it back home because there are no international flights running at the moment. I’m just making the most of my time in LA, I was able to connect with artists here and get to collaborating with them as well. I’m dropping a new project soon, and I’m able to do more stuff than I would have in Lagos, so it’s cool.
The quarantine period has been confusing and long. I would say like creative wise, I have been good because there is time and space to create and think of new ideas. In terms of life, in general, to me, it’s kind of confusing because we don’t even know when they are opening the borders yet.
Also with shows being cancelled, that has confused me a bit more because it hurts that side of the business that brought in money. But I would say, in a way, it’s been good for me in the sense that I’m in a country where I have a lot of resources at my disposal, and they’re easier and cheaper to get. In Nigeria, it can be a bit more difficult; the videos require good locations, that you will be undisturbed by police, and you have to find the right equipment to make it work. But out here, I’ve probably shot like 3 videos and I didn’t even spend that much ‘bread’ so the ease of doing stuff has been good.
I don’t know how much people know about this but in 1992, the first-ever big riot that black people did for Rodney King was in LA – I didn’t know of this. I heard of Rodney King before during my time at university in the States but I didn’t know the full story. He was one of the first high-profile police brutality cases but I didn’t know the full story till George Floyd passed and my people out here were telling me about the deep history of the riots here in LA. If you go to South Central LA, it’s still fucked up.
At the same time that was happening, back at home, there was a girl, Tina who got killed by police and another young girl, Uwa that got assaulted and killed. In a way, I felt like I was between two different worlds because I am in LA and there’s lots of protests and anger on the streets but I’m Nigerian and all my friends and family are back home, so I’m plugged into the news there too.
I mean I know I’m not a politician but if I had my way, I wish I could be more like Fela. Like how he was singing about the injustices in our country which I really admired. I mean there’s “Chop Elbow” but I had to heavily censor that before it’s release and take out the direct names of our leaders I had called out. Fela was so brave with how he fought for his county. My father was a military man, so I like a lot of soldiers like Sankara and I always revisit documentaries on them to know how to better fight for my country.
In Nigeria, I feel like my personal remedy to police brutality is that the policeman must pay with their life, and I know people might not like that but that’s my own remedy. So when the protest broke out here, I had to join in because people were being extremely fearless. I wanted to see how these people can just wake up and start fighting their governments and actually get results. Nigerians, us we can’t. These people walk for miles and hours, sometimes they walk through the whole of the city and if you’ve been to LA, you know that is huge. They march and protest from morning to nighttime and come back the next day for even more. I followed the march for a day and I was just amazed by them. For the first few days, we were watching it on TV and we were like wait why are we watching it on tv when we can be out there.
But for you to fight Nigeria, you really need to come out. This is how I feel about Nigerian women. Nigerian women have this power in their voices, they come out in groups for each other and speak out against the injustices women face. Women are brave with their fight and that is the same fight me I want to fight.
I actually made “Odeshi” last year. A lot of the songs on my project coming out this year, I recorded them last year. “Odeshi” was not meant to drop when it did. It was originally going to drop much earlier in the year but we had some delays. The whole project has been ready since January but we couldn’t go ahead because of the distribution deal. I signed my distribution deal in April and we decided to drop in May. But in May, we couldn’t drop because of the pandemic.
Then beginning of May, my team and I knew “Odeshi” was going to drop on the 5th of June and then the project on the 19th. We knew and we had to wait. A week before the song dropped that’s when the whole world entered turmoil literally and I couldn’t move the date because if I did we would have to wait another month for the drop so I was kind of stuck. I only started promoting the single properly like two or three days to the drop, just because of how strange and angry the times were.
‘Wildfire’ is a very metaphorical project. It’s very prophetic and spiritual but not in the sense you may think. It’s the storm before my debut album [‘Pretty World’ is out in December]. You know how in the book of Revelations, a wildfire just comes and cleanses the earth and the new world is born? This wildfire project is cleansing the streets for ‘Pretty World’ (metaphorically) so the first pre-released single, “Odeshi”, is literally like I am possessed and taken over by a power.
“Odeshi” is the possession; Odeshi is an Igbo word, which means bulletproof. My mum is from Imo state and when we were younger, we used to watch a lot of Nollywood films and there was a movie called Isakaba. It’s one of the most memorable films from my childhood, and I remember in the film, they used to say odeshi a lot so I recorded the song based on how I am protected, and anyone sending bad vibes my way is sending it back to themselves. Even from the visualiser and the artwork, you can see the idea behind it, I am literally consumed by fire.
I love that there’s less stress here in life, working and making music. I love the environment because out here, almost everyone is an entertainer or at least in the industry. I like that the weather is nice, and there’s always light and weed is legal here. I hate that I can’t see my family and loved ones, I miss my house in Lagos and I really miss performing as well.
Featured image credits/Instagram: obidinzeribe
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