I’d say Wax Dey is one of Cameroon’s national treasures. He is an award winning Musician, a Producer, an Activist, a Businessman, and….and ……….yeah he is doing it all. I managed to chat with him and this is it.
Kiki: Ok, let me start by taking you back to the first time you and I met. Do you remember where we met?
Wax: Yes, I remember, we met at a party.
Kiki: Nah, you are talking about Cga’s party right? That wasn’t the first time. The very first time you and I spoke we were doing some charity work at an orphanage.
Wax: Oh yes, I was there with Edgar. We were painting an orphanage with Lelo, DJ Fresh, DJ Sbu and Connie Ferguson right? Now I remember. Wow, it feels like a long time ago.
Kiki: It is, we are talking 7-8years ago. Hehehehe! Today here we are years later, you’ve won awards and you are a successful artist and business man. After the day we met, I found out through Edgar that you sing. I then started googling you and your music, I saw a video that featured Nkuli from Big Brother Africa. I looooove me some African music so when I heard Cameroon I was like ‘Yesssssss’. So how long have you been in the music business and how has it been?
Wax: I’d say about 10years now. It’s been very good so far. My musical journey is a bit different. I have never pretended to say that I am regular musician. I am one person that is enchanted by the world and interested in everything that’s happening around the world, from Science to Politics to Technology to activism, so I always find myself diverting to doing different things at different points in time.
Kiki: Basically you like things? Hahahaha
Wax: I wouldn’t put it that way – but maybe I do. Hahahahha. I have been a singer and I have worked with the United Nations, I have worked as a writer, I have produced TV shows in between.
Kiki: Yes, you also did Good Morning Africa right?
Wax: Yes, I presented on Good morning Africa, and I also produced my own reality TV show called Number 1 Girl. Which did very well in Cameroon. So if you look at all the things that I do or I have done, music has always been in the centre of it all. Somehow, it’s all linked to music. Even the reality show was a musical based theme. Even when I worked for the ONE Campaign, I was the creative manager and I was using music to Africans about poverty issues.
Kiki: ONE Campaign was another beautiful project. You guys did very well there. You are really passionate about Africa. Anything to build Africa – you are there.
Wax: We all need to step in. The project I did with United Nations was a anti xenophobia campaign. I worked with artists like Zonke and Stoan to push that message of unity. So it’s been an uneven road as far as music is concerned because of the other things that I concentrate on as well.
Kiki: Are you naturally that kind of a person that is all over the place in terms of, wanting to keep busy 24/7 by doing different things and projects?
Wax: I think now I am at a point where I feel comfortable with myself as a musician. I know what I want now. Previously I think I was young because I was everywhere. I even used to ask myself whenever I was on stage if being a musician is something I really wanted. There was so much going on in my life and that made it hard to define myself as a musician. But now, I can safely say I am comfortable with being a musician.
Kiki: And in the middle of all of this confusion, you’ve won awards as well.
Wax: I think when I started accepting myself as a musician, certain things changed. People started to recognize me as a musician because all along I wasn’t selling myself as a musician. So it was hard for other people to see me as a musician let alone recognize me as one. So now that I am a musician, I got nominated for Best Male Artist in Central Africa at the All Africa Music Awards last year. And I won.
Kiki: Oh wow, congratulations on that. So where do you see the Wax Dey brand going?
Wax: I have learned to use music commercially. I have learned the business side of music. So going forward, I want to be seen as a musician and a music entrepreneur, a music mogul basically. I started Calabash Music, which transformed from Lolhipop Records. It’s now established in Cameroon and in South Africa. It’s only been a year and I wanna build that music entrepreneurship with my partners. We are working with a lot of talented up and coming artists. I wanna be celebrated globally, not just in Africa.
Kiki: Ok, let’s move away from the music a bit. What kind of a child were you?
Wax: When I was growing up I was a very smart kid, smart economically. I hated school, but always had good grades. When I wrote the A Levels, which is the British system to go to University, I was the best student in my country in the arts. When I got to university I was studying law and that’s where I build my first business.
Kiki: Really? What business was it?
Wax: It was a documentation centre. Back then computers, printers and laptops were not so common. So I bought a computer and a printer, and I’d type people’s assignments and print them out, and charge them for that. And for the right fee I’d even write an assignment for you. I had a few clients like that. Hahahaha
Kiki: OMG, you were a mess. You were a naughty young man.
Wax: I was just a businessman Kiki. And I was very adventurous. I even became the President of the University Law Society. So I started organizing concerts, music shows, award shows. We did all the cool stuff, brought in the stars and all of a sudden everyone wanted to hang-out with the lawyers. Hehehehe! I’ve always been a businessman. I went to varsity when I was 16years old so that taught me independence at a very young age.
Kiki: Speaking of young. I saw a video of you and Nasty C. When did you two work together?
Wax: Yeah I did a track called 360 which features Nasty C. The album 360 degrees was released in Cameroon last year, but this song with Nasty C will be re-released on the 30th of June in South Africa through Universal Music and Muthaland. The album is called Final Light.
Kiki: Oh cool, so how did you get to work with Nasty C?
Wax: It’s strange to be honest. I was chilling at home and his manager rocked up and said ‘I heard there is a musician staying here’. We had a conversation which continued the next day with all of us and at the end I was really impressed by the kind of person Nasty C is and what he would like to achieve as an artist. He was so young but so sure. So we decided to do a track together.
Kiki: I like Nasty C hey. My daughter has a crush on him and has made me glued on him too.
Wax: Hahahahaha tell her she’s not the only one. There is long line of girls her age ‘loving’ Nasty C.
Kiki: Anyway, you are currently on tour. Cameroon and India? Do tell us what’s happening.
Wax: I hadn’t had the time to tour my country for some time. Now I have a new single that I need to promote so I took it to the people around Cameroon. I’ve done Cameroon, I’m currently in India, and then I’m moving to France on the 3rd June and back to South Africa to start promoting the new album.
Kiki: You are a busy bee indeed. What has music taught you so far?
Wax: It has taught me to be patient and to enjoy life for what it is. A lot of things that I do, do not challenge me. Music challenges me. Music changes with time so before I put out a song I must make sure that it will appeal to the world at that particular time. Music evolves. It’s dynamic.
Kiki: Ok, are there any African artists that you’d love to work with that you haven’t? The ones whose music or hustle or passion commands you to pay attention to them and make you want to get to work.
Wax: I’d say Flavour from Nigeria. He’s that one artist that is amazing when it comes to his craft.
Kiki: I am so confused right now. You’re losing me Wax.
Kiki: It’s 2017 and you say Flavour is the artist that you’d like to work with? I met Flavour through you more than 5years ago and you are telling me that you guys haven’t done some work till today? You are not serious.
Wax: I know what you mean and I understand where you are coming from. It’s kinda weird because I’ve worked with some artists that I haven’t even known that long. Like with Yemi Alade we just went into the studio and did our thang. With Flavour, I keep saying it will happen. I admire and respect him a lot because he is one artist that hasn’t changed who he is. He remains true to himself and that’s something that is hard to find in most musicians. Flavour has got that.
Kiki: Y’all need to stop playing and this just hanging business and give us music tho. SMH!!
Wax: It will happen, don’t worry. I also like Eddy Kenzo from Uganda. He’s good at what he does and has come a long way. His story is inspiring. Hopefully I will get to work with him too.
Kiki: As we conclude, what do you think about Fame, Women and Money? How do you handle that?
Wax: I have always been a down to earth person. So fame really doesn’t get to me and I don’t think it ever will. I am such a nice person and I get along with people. Most people even wonder the first time they meet me if I am ‘the Wax Dey’ because I am a simple person. I blend in with everybody. Money, on the other hand has been something else. I haven’t been the smartest when it comes to money.
Kiki: Are you a big spender?
Wax: Let’s just say I don’t spend with my head, I spend with my heart. If I see something that I’m passionate about whether it’s for me or another person I will spend on it. I don’t spend my money based on economic principles. I have always been like that. But now that I have a son, my mind and focus has changed a bit. I am not on my own anymore, I have him and his future to consider.
Kiki: You haven’t answered part of my question. Women??
Wax: Eish!! The women….jah!!
Kiki: Hahahaha what does that mean?
Wax: You know when I was growing up, it was hard to get attention from the ladies. I had to work extra hard. Now it’s just…..
Kiki: Just what?
Wax: It always hits me that ‘damn, I am a star’ that’s why this is happening, so I’d go with the flow and enjoy life. Hahahaha but I am past that now. I’ve been there and done that. At the end of the day we both want the same thing as human beings, physically and emotionally. So it is what it is.
Kiki: Thank you so much for your time Wax. All the best with the rest of the tour. Hopefully you will share whatever is going down with us. We want all the details.
Wax: I will sure do. From the money to the women……Hahhahah
That’s how it all went down with Wax Dey.