Nigerian R&B singer Praiz, is paving his own lane in the African music industry by exhibiting his versatility and delving into two loved musical genres.
Combining the smooth sounds of both Afrobeats and R&B, the songwriter and producer has developed a unique musical style by focusing on the ever-changing art of love.
Born in Lagos, Praiz migrated to Kaduna located in the Northern part of Nigeria, where he spent most of his life growing up.
Praiz’ biggest inspiration? His parents love. “My folks have a great influence on my music, I like writing songs based on experiences and my environment,” he says. “I am fortunate to come from a family where my folks are still together.”
Despite straying from the typical Nigerian sound, Praiz’ confidence comes from being well versed in different styles of music. “I have always known myself as a very versatile person, I love R&B. If I am sleeping and you wake me up and tell me ‘Praiz sing,’ the first thing I would sing would be an R&B song.” But he also recognized the importance of musical diversity saying, “Going into the music industry, versatility has always been my watch word, because you need to be able to adapt to the sounds of the time.
In addition to building his music career, Praiz involves himself with charitable causes such as the Safe Motherhood Initiative, an organization that aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality by providing necessary education and healthcare materials. He got involved with the foundation through his father, a philanthropist who he attributes as having a “big heart.”
When it comes to the present issues back home in Africa, Praiz believes music is a powerful tool for communication. “Musicians actually have that influence, that power on a lot of people,” he says. “I try to put out music that will inspire people and give people hope.”
During his time, Praiz has worked with superstars of both the Afrobeat and R&B scene including Wizkid, Kenny Lattimore and Patoranking. “I’m very selective with my collaborations, as much as I’m R&B I like to do stuff outside the box,” he expresses.
Some of his dream collaborations include Common, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, John Legend, Lauryn Hill and TY Dolla $ign. “Anyone that knows me, knows I am a great fan of John Legend,” he says. “His songs are very relatable and when you hear his songs you just know ‘yeah, I been in this situation!’”
With the growing globalization of African music as a whole, the R&B crooner sees an opportunity to display his artistic flexibility.
Praiz has a special treat for fans this Valentine’s Day, his anticipated EP titled “2 Mins.” Contrary to what the title suggests, the EP isn’t just two minutes long, but features five powerful tracks, exploring the conflicting feelings of love hate, and emotions in general.
Originally, Praiz envisioned each song on the EP to be just two minutes total, but decided to take a different route stating, “I thought to myself, I might do some songs and maybe the fans will really love a particular song, and as they are getting into the song, the song just ends. I mean, it cuts them off basically.”
The EP is titled after the self-produced first track on the project, a song that focuses on separation and divorce. Overall, Praiz explains that the song “2 Minutes” shadows a familiar feeling where an individual must step away from what is hurting them. “You can’t deny the fact that a lot of people go through situations where the best thing to make them happy, is to leave.”
“I like to be very practical and used my relationship experience when working on this EP.” Although Praiz is not married, he adds an imaginative touch when necessary. “If I write a song about not being happy in a relationship, I try to take it further and put myself in the situation where ‘okay I am married, what would I do?’” Praiz explained.
Two of the songs which double as Praiz’ favorites on the EP, were produced by the artist himself, “Here and Now’ and “I Don’t Want To Love You”. He also enjoys the fourth track “Champagne and Flowers”, produced by Yung Wills. Yung Wills is one of the two new guest producers on the project, Paul-P being the second. On deciding to work with newer producers Praiz states,” they’re really hungry and they don’t recycle their sound.”
Praiz released his debut album in 2014, Rich & Famous, which landed at number three on the World ITunes R&B chart. “It took me a lot of time, at some point I had a creative block where I wasn’t feeling what I was trying to put out. So, I took a break and I actually traveled to the (United) States for two months then came back and continued recording,” he expressed regarding the development of the project.
The double album had a positive reception from the public, earning him awards and increasing his fan base. “The album did really great for me! D’Angelo was number one, another album was number two and then mine was number three,” he stated. “I was really, really excited, my debut album could get there, three days later my album was number one.”
As Praiz continues to creatively take on the two styles of music and explore his versatility, the public can expect to look out for nothing less than positive sounds from the budding artist.
“I just want to propagate, the positive vibes or things about Africa, Nigeria….”
2 Mins EP is currently available on all platforms.