In 2014 at the MtvBase Africa Music Awards which took place in Durban, South Africa, the nominees for Best New Act were announced and it featured the likes of BurnaBoy and Phyno from Nigeria, Heavy K and Uhuru from South Africa and Stanley Enow from Cameroon. Finally, the big moment arrived! “And The winner is………………Stanley Enow”.
With those words, the rest of Africa suddenly sat up and took notice of the rising hip hop star from Cameroon. Six years after that and the Bayangi Boy from Bamenda, has grown from strength to strength with the release of songs like “King Kong”, “Adore You” and “My Way”. He has continually lived up to his potential as one of the biggest music stars in Africa. A graduate of Business Journalism from the University of Douala, Stanley Enow speaks English and French and makes music in both languages. He has collaborated on songs with the likes of Mr Eazi, 2Baba, Olamide, Sarkodie, Diamond Platinumz and Davido.
Afrobeats360 reached out to him to get his perspective of life as a superstar from Cameroon and we hope you enjoy the result of our inquiries as much as we did.
Firstly, please tell us a little about yourself before the fame?
Hi Afrobeats360, you guys are doing well, thank you so much for the interview. Life before the fame was just cool and hard at the same time, you know hustling, you know how it goes but yeah, we keep on fighting, we can’t stop you know, it’s been a while there. We have been pushing and to God be all the glory. The family has supported us, supported me up to this stage and we still going. I grew up in the West of Cameroon then I came to the Littoral, that is, Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon and yea mehn. It’s been mad hustle, but to be honest there is still a lot to do. I just think a lot of people know me because I’m famous but there’s still a lot to be done.
When were you sure that music is what you wanted to do with your life, and what sort of emotions did you feel at that point you made that decision?
I just felt it because when I was in my elementary school, I used to be part of the boys band and when I got to secondary school in form 2, that is, the second class of high school, I started rapping in school and people started loving it and just vibing with me. There, I was like this is something I wanted to do besides school. Then, I rocked all the socials, performing on stage. A lot of people just Kept loving it and game! This is my life. I had to choose my university according to the dream I wanted to follow, that was why I came to Duoala and it has been all beautiful.
You were the first Cameroonian to be nominated for an MTVBase Award in 2014 for the “Best New Act Category” against some of today’s African music power houses like Burna Boy, Phyno, Heavy K, and Uhuru and you went on to beat all of them. What did that victory mean to you and how did it help your career?
It was really heavy, it was really nice. I keep on thanking God every day for all of that. It helped in so many ways. It helped in getting a lot of deals, going to a lot of different countries to perform and it’s been a really big stepping stone for my International Career.
You are the co-founder of your music label Motherland Empire. How important is it as an artist to have creative control over the music you release?
Talking about creative control, we are a structured label, we have A&R, as in people that get to work with us and give us orientation. This is so that, whenever I’m recording besides my own core creative ideas, I do have people who are around us. People doing our job with us. We are all born free but we are in a game of ideas and ideologies, so somehow, we do collaborations within the label.
Years ago, you professed your love several times for Nigerian women from DJ Cuppy, Seyi Shay,to Yemi Alade. Should Nigerians still be getting ready to buy Asoebi when you come to marry a Nigerian woman? How much are you planning to drop for dowry?
(Laughs). That’s a great question. That was back then. I’m still very up and I haven’t really gotten to find the beautiful Nigerian sexy lady. I know there’s a lot of powerful baby girls that are out there making sure that they get the bag and get brain and stuff but for now, it’s something I might want to reconsider. I didn’t really push through with that. But Nigerian girls are for a fact super super duper beautiful, and in Cameroon, we wear Asoebi to where there are weddings, so it’s really beautiful because we have probably like the same culture yeah.
What was it like working with Diamond Plantinumz on the remix of your song “My Way”?
It was quite beautiful working with Diamond Plantinum. He is very humble and very nice. It was super great and I am happy that we tapped a little bit from his grace and he did same as well. You know, it is all about positive Africa, so it was really dope and you consider the song as super dope, yeah.
You are a well-known advocate for positive change as well as the growth and development of Africans around the world, what is your take on the Black-Led Civil Rights protests springing up across the Western world sparked off by the killing of George Floyd by a policeman?
This is a tough one. It’s really crazy but yeah, to God be all glory, we just have to keep believing in our strength, in our blackness and I think the core, the basic thing about all of these is just for us to love each other. I mean we have to stop fighting each other. The murder of George Floyd was really cold blooded, placing that knee on his neck, that was too too bad to be honest. But yea, we just have to understand that we have to show love to our people and love each other and stop fighting each other, that’s the real way to go. This race thing is a systemic issue, you know it happens even within us blacks, tribalism and everything. You from here and I’m not from here. It’s crazy, that’s why I think it’s really sensitive. I believe the world has learnt from that situation and we shall probably win.
What do you think has been the impact of the Coronavirus on Cameroon’s music business and how has the virus affected your music personally?
COVID-19 is a global pandemic so it has affected everybody in the Cameroonian music industry, the Nigerian music industry, like every single music industry. People are dropping less music, people attention are being focused on what’s next, what’s going to happen with their lives, people are depressed. So, it is not really a good time, but we are working. As a person, I am growing on my content as well, I’m trying to record songs that are really heavy, some maybe situational and some may not be. You know, it is just to keep going and we be pushing. So yeah, we are in hard times but I think the impact is positive.
Given the current strength of the music industries in South Africa and Nigeria, what lesson do you think Cameroon’s music industry needs to take from to aid in its more rapid growth and give rise to more Cameroonian artists that will have more appeal across the African continent and the world in general?
That’s a good question by the way. I simply think that it is more of government policy. The government has to enact laws, like in South Africa,it is 80% South African music content, that’s why you see the like of Nasty C and some other young artists come up. Once that law is going to be official over here, then I’m sure the industry is going to pick up. I think it’s more of government policies. Big shout out to everybody doing their thing from Daphne to Franko to Salatiel. It’s kinda marvelous and it’s huge and we are really proud of them.
What role do you think African music can play during these trying times that 2020 has come with?
African music can simply be a great vector of love, carrying messages of love. You know there is a lot of rape as well, there’s a lot of crazy things. Is just to be able to sing meaningful stuff and to stop the fight. By the end of this pandemic, I think it’s just for the African entertainers to keep dropping contents so that the people could be happy and our music can also curb the level of depression because people are depressed to be honest and yea African music has always played a role more than ever, and I think we can keep being that weapon of love and change.
Any Final words for your fans and what should they expect from you this year?
Expect a lot of music from me. I love you my fans, thank you so much. Thank you because you all are the reason we exist. Much love, much blessings and let’s keep going! We are one people, keep working hard, life is not for the lazy. Let’s keep working hard and keep fighting. Much love, be safe and for all young stars out there, if you want to have sex, make sure you protect yourselves so that you don’t get unwanted pregnancy and everything because all of that comes with a lot of misery as well. You need to build, to avoid misery and not sustain poverty. Much love, Peace.
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