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Bez: The Man Behind The Sound

By Billy Praise 17 December 2017   |   9:00 am

From the days of Stupid Song, his first single, it was obvious that Bez had no plans to conform to the conventional sounds that make up most of the Nigerian music industry.

Six years down that road, Emmanuel Bez Idakula continues to break new ground, redefining the way people view music and art in Nigeria and the world at large. He started learning the guitar at the age of nine from his father, but Bez never considered his voice good enough until a friend encouraged him to start singing while he played.

He attended Loyola High School and went on to Covenant University to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology. While studying at Covenant, Bez continued to hone his craft and develop his sound.

Music was a huge part of his university education and he performed at open mic nights and gigs during his free time where he earned 3,000 naira for months.

Inspiration came to him at odd times and he always found a way to fine-tune these ideas into masterpieces. A major example of this is Stop Pretending, a fan favourite from his debut album Super Sun which, according to Bez, he wrote while he was bored at a Math class in Covenant University.

His participation at open mics finally led him to Taruwa, a special night of music and poetry at Bogobiri, a space known for unleashing genius acts into the art and entertainment industry. At the event, he met Praiz who eventually collaborated with him to write Stupid Song. Although his sound is generally classified as alternative soul, Bez’s music can’t be put into a single category as he draws influences from Soul, Jazz, Rock, Afro and Pop.

Super Sun was produced by Cobhams Asuquo and released in 2011. Bez became the first African musician to premiere his video (Stupid Song) on BET’s 106 and Park. Super Sun achieved international critical acclaim; listed as one of the hot Soul/R&B album on iTunes USA and was rated among the Top 10 World Music Albums by the US’ Boston Globe.

This launched him to features on top platforms like Vogue, Essence and Rolling Stone Magazine to name a few. The multi-instrumentalist has also been nominated for several awards and has won Headies and African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) for Best Male Vocalist.

For his second album, Gbagyi Child, Bez wrote most of the songs on the album while living in his studio apartment in 2013 with his friend, although it was not released until November 2016. On this album, Bez takes listeners on a journey of life, love and growing up in northern Nigeria. It’s a carefully crafted coming of age album that pushes the boundaries of his creativity even further.

Bez is mostly known for his music but he has certainly made a significance in the world that goes beyond his sound. A former Globacom brand ambassador, advocate at Friends Africa and project lead at “Malaria No More”, Bez donates his resources and makes out time to teach and inspire young people through seminars, clinics and training.

A current member of the Africa Leadership Network and board member at the Ovie Brume Network, Bez has no plans to let his other responsibilities distract him from doing what he does best.

He will continue to create music and thrill fans with his masterful guitar playing and eclectic performances by playing at festivals and shows including his own show, Bez Live happening on the 24th of December.

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