Interview: Zagazillions discusses his hit single “Nilo”, forthcoming album (Sumbi Vibez), rebranding from Young Zee, and more
November 04, 2020
In an exclusive interview with The Clan, Zagazillions discusses his hit single “Nilo”, his forthcoming album “Sumbi Vibez”, rebranding from Young Zee and more
First of all, what inspired the name Zagazillions?
Well, I got the name when I was at school in Nairobi. One of my friends called Sam told me, “Bro you’ve had the same insta handle for too long, why don’t you change it?” I was like, “Change it to what?”, and he said, “Maybe Zagazillionair.” I was like, “Nah man.” But after sometime, I thought, instead of Zagazillionair I should put Zagazillions, and I did. People were feeling the name so I decided to keep it, even when I decided to do music again.
Take us through the transition from Young Zee to Zagazillions. Why was it important to change the name?
I changed overtime. I grew up a bit. I was no longer on that conk hip hop vibe. I started feeling dancehall and Afro music more. I just changed into a totally different person. So now when I came back into the music game I had to do what I wanted. It’s now about showing my versatility and just how talented I really am because honestly I’m the most talented and unique artist this country has ever had and will ever have.
You achieved national fame at a young age, what was it like being known by many people at that stage in your life, and did it affect who you have become in any way?
It was alright being known and all that, but at times it was weird because fame is a really weird thing. People love you one day, hate you the next. But it was alright, overall. I feel like I’ve always been a star though. Even before the music I was a star in basketball. When I was young, I was also a really good swimmer. I was always with fine chicks so for me it’s like I’ve always been a star, till today I’m still a star.
You have shot a music video with the video vet Clarence Peters, worked with the legend Benon, and rubbed shoulders with so many other icons. Which person in the industry has had the biggest impact on you, and why
To me, honestly, nobody. All these people that I have met and worked with – some have been good but others bad. Of course I have icons and people I’ve looked up to but these days I choose not to over dwell on someone else’s successes and careers because I’m also a legend in my own right and I’m trying to real carve out my own legacy and career my own way, on my own terms. And to do that, I can’t be thinking about what the next man is doing. I have to focus on what I got going on.
Tell us about the hit song Nilo. What inspired it, and what was the process
Well, Nilo came about one night in March. Me, Ill Gee and the producer of the song, Sammy Reece, were just chilling in the studio and listening to some beats Sammy brought over, and there was one beat that was just on its own vibes. Gee was like, “Eish man, this beat is too serious,” but me I wasn’t yet so much in the vibe of the song. But after some alcohol and loud I started feeling it and recorded the jam in less than an hour, and released it that same night.
How do you feel about the way it was received
I feel good about it, people really enjoy that song so much. The whole summer people were blasting that tune, even up to today, it’s still going hard. It’s a real bar anthem. But I would like people to know that I don’t just sing that “ekidula” stuff. I have other music- very good songs, Afro beat songs, produced by top Nigerian producers. And going forward I’m going to be showcasing that other Afro beat side of Zaga, because people need to appreciate that side just as much as they love this Nilo side.
You went to school for a bit in Kenya. Pioneers like Bebe Cool and Chameleone credit aspects of their musical styles to their exposure in Kenya in the early 2000s. Has Kenya influenced your own music in any way?
Yes, it has greatly. I consider Kenya my second home. I have some really good friends out there and we were tearing the clubs up that side badly, haha. I got my name Zagazillions from Kenya and our turn up music is similar to theirs. So yeah definitely Kenya has played a role and will continue playing a role in my career.
Who are your top 5 Ugandan urban musicians right now
Honestly, none. The only artists I respect right now are my guys, Ill Gee and Mark Mick, that’s it. I feel like we’re the only ones who are doing some real good music in this Uganda, the rest are just pretending.
What can listeners expect going forward. What are you cooking up?
Right now I’m working on dropping some more very dope videos for my fans. I’m also working on my debut album Sumbi Vibez which I’ma drop sometime early in 2021
And finally, your last word to everyone reading this that loves yours music
Bless up everyone that supports my sound. I genuinely appreciate it for real. I got a lot of dope stuff in the works so just keep tuned to the boy, the guy, the neega, the wonda, Zaga Zee, Zagazillions.