Papi Ojo is a talented dancer and a rising Afrobeats artist. The Nigerian has been prominent in the dance scene worldwide and has worked with many major artists. His dance career boasts of major work, such as an iconic performance with Rihanna at the 2018 Grammy awards and dancing in Beyonce’s music video for her lead single from the Lion King Soundtrack “Spirit”. He also worked with Janet Jackson on the music video for her Afrobeats tinged single, “Made for Now” which featured Daddy Yankee. His other dance credits include works with Chris Brown, Wizkid, Davido, Kizz Daniel and as of yesterday, Big Sean at the VMAs.
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HAD TO MAKE A QUICK BIO EDIT REAL QUICKKK😼! IT'S OFFICIAL NOW! I @papi_ojo HAVE GOTTEN TO DANCE WITH/FOR @beyonce 💥🚨🚨🚨‼️ IN HER NEW MUSIC VIDEO "SPIRIT" FOR @lionking ‼️ *swipe left for my mood towards my haters/enemies 🤙🏾💁🏾♂️*• • ALL GLORY, PRAISE, THANKS AND HONOR TO GOD ALMIGHTY! HE IS SO GOOD 🙏🏾‼️WITHOUT GOD I'M NOTHING OO. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU THAT ARE HITTING ME UP, AND CALLING ME, AND TAGGING ME AND @papi_ojo IN Y'ALL POSTS RIGHT NOW AS WE SPEAK🙏🏾💙.I'M GONNA MAKE ANOTHER POST LATER ___________________________________ TO @jaquelknight MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE. THANK YOU ____________________________________ #papiojo #beyoncé #lionking #spirit #awelewa #awelewagang #viral #afrobeats #africa #black #melaninonfleek #queenb #beehive
However, Stephen has shown that he is much more than just his dancing skills, and has officially kicked off his music career this year with the potential to soon become a household name. Read below to see our discussion with him where he enlightens us on his career path and other issues.
Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
My name is Stephen Ojo. I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I am from a family of 5, including two siblings, an elder sister and a younger brother. I have a lot of things I take interest in such as playing soccer, running track events, basketball, ping pong but mainly, I’m into making music and dancing.
When did you realize dancing was going to be a profession for you and what inspired it?
Dancing has always been part of me. I was always dancing in church and at parties but it was around late 2014 that I decided to take it more serious with my dance partners; Caleb a.k.a Ghana Boii and my late older brother Emmanuel a.k.a Sedo. We formed a group called Africa’s Very Own BOYZ (A.V.O BOYZ). Then we started training and performing all around the states together.
A.V.O BOYZ was founded September of 2014. We started off as a group of 3. It included me, Ghana Boii and our late partner Sedo. Sedo passed around in July, 2016 and ever since then, it has been only me and Caleb. So far, it has been the grace of God and our hard work that has led us to all of our recent success.
You have worked with various African and international artists which requires a level of expertise–which experience was your most challenging and how did you overcome it?
I believe working for Rihanna at the 2018 Grammy Awards was most challenging for me. Reasons are because of the hours invested in rehearsals were a lot and it was my first time working on a job of that magnitude. I definitely felt a lot of pressure was on me, knowing that me and Caleb were the only Afrobeats dancers and every other dancer were hip-hop and had both accolades and years of experience over us. I was able to overcome it by just trusting that God put me on that platform for a reason and all I needed to do was trust him and believe in my craft. It all worked out for the best.
What is your most memorable moment working with an artist?
My most memorable moment would definitely be when me and Caleb had a one on one training with Rihanna for about 1 or 2 hours.
You kicked off your music career this year with your debut single, “Awelewa” and recently dropped “Carry Go” featuring Rex. Can you tell us about it?
Yes, writing music and creating good songs have always been a passion of mine. Making music runs in my family. My uncle and my sister are both musicians. At the beginning of this year, I decided to conquer my insecurities of being an artist and actually hit the studio to record my first track ever–“Awelewa.” The only reason I was insecure was because I didn’t want anyone to start saying things like, “Oh does he think he can sing now because he dances?” and so on. I overcame that insecurity and started putting myself out there as an artist. I dropped “Loving You” shortly after “Awelewa,” and recently dropped my new single “Carry Go.”
How would you describe your music style and sound and the inspiration(s) behind it?
I’m an Afrobeats artist and that’s what I grew up on. It has majorly impacted the way I write and how I think. If you listen to my tracks, you can probably tell that I’m a lover boy. I tend to write about love and happy, uplifting songs. My goal with my music is to be able to transfer whatever emotions I have when writing and recording my tracks to my audience.
What should we expect from you in the coming months?
I’m planning on dropping one more song before this year runs out, then I’ll start working on my EP. I had a performance at One Africa on August 10th 2019. I also plan on really working and putting out more content on my YouTube page so that my fans can have something to watch and progress with me. I’m actually looking for a way to work with Teni or Adekunle Gold to create an “Awelewa” (Remix). Hopefully, I get the right connects to approach them with my vision. I also want to work with artists like Wizkid, Davido, Yemi Alade and many more.
How do you plan to balance your fast-growing music career alongside your dance career or do you see one overshadowing the other?
Balancing my dance career and music career is still in the works but I believe that God will see me through. I actually can’t keep a 9-5 job because it gets difficult. I always have to call out of work last minute because I get booked randomly for dance jobs.
How can people keep up your works?
They can follow my personal page on these platforms:
You can also listen and download Papi Ojo’s songs on all platforms HERE.