On another episode of Music News, we had an exclusive interview with Manchester City OAP, DJ and Presenter Stevie Street. Stevie Street has been part of the afrobeat movement for quite some time now, he talks about his connections with music, afrobeat’s and ways the streaming services has affected the music industry.
Stevie Street is known to be a big fan of afrobeat’s and we can boldly say he is one of the big Music PR in London, he has been able to help lots of songs from Nigeria trend over the UK and not just Nigeria songs alone Africa in general. He was able to tell us how he started listening to Afrobeat’s songs and how it has shaped the music industry.
Stevie Street currently runs an Afrobeat show on Legacy FM (90.1) in the UK , you can tune in weekends to listen to fresh Afrobeat’s songs and they are well updated with every latest single being dropped from new artistes to even bigger artistes.
Exclusive Interview with Stevie Street
1. Why afrobeat?
I have been an avid black music collector since the late 1980’s , everything from Soul, Hiphop, New Jack Swing , Jazz ,Funk , Disco etc. A friend introduced me to “Fela Kuti’s” music in the mid-90’s . That was my first taste of Afrobeat . In terms of playing modern Afrobeat’s on radio, well in 2015 i was given a daytime spot on my current station Legacy 90.1FM (I was previously doing late night spot’s) . I wanted to do something different & i was playing a cross section of new music & i was told to check out the afrobeat’s sound that was coming out of West Africa . I immediately liked what i heard . I loved the tempo of beats , the language , dance moves & songs that still had i feel of what i use to hear in 90’s R&B . I decided to incorporate it in the show , the listeners started to like it & by 2018 when i had really gotten into the sound & i was familiar with all the artists & various producers i wanted to do a full dedicated show playing it. The management at the time on the station liked my idea & supported it & that’s when the “Afrobeat’s Fresh Show” was born!
2 . How do you discover talents?
To be honest i found the music in those early day’s on websites like 360nobs.com , Notjustok.com , Tooxclusive.com & various Ghana music sites . I didn’t care if the artist was big or had just started out if i liked what i heard i would just play it . Also artists would send me there songs direct ! I also keep connected with artist’s in my local City also.
3 . How do know good music to play ?
This is a good question & here is how i know instantly if i am gonna play a song or not . Back in 1990 i would go to few record stores in my City that got US Import Vinyl & Cd’s & also independently released UK Soul music . It would be on a Saturday morning , those shops only got limited quantities of new music that came out (there was no internet or streaming sites back then) . There would be several customers in the shop at the same time wanting those records also. The store owner would play the records in the shop so the customers could hear them . You literally had 30 seconds to make up your mind if you wanted the record or not or else another customer would buy it & you would risk not seeing it again ! So i quickly developed an ear for music in those day’s , now it’s just second nature . It sounds bad but i can listen to a new song & reject it in 20 seconds if i don’t like it ! I also know in 20 seconds if i will play it or not!
4 . With the high adoption of streaming services, do you think the radio is still relevant for music promotion?
Personally i don’t like streaming sites , i don’t like what they are doing to the artists either . I feel radio has been hit hard by streaming , youtube , apps like tiktok & everyone now jumping on podcast’s. Trying to find & hear a good specialist show that is presented well & the music being played comes with love & passion is really dying away on commercial & mainstream radio . I have to ask do the under 30’s generation sit & listen to radio now ? I know over 30’s have grown up with radio , maybe still have it on driving around in their cars , maybe still tune in to a few of the favorite stations & show’s but radio is in slow decline . Automated music playback systems have taken over with voice overs from celebrity’s . In terms of being relevant, well artists still seem to get excited when they hear there song on the radio for first time so YES it is still relevant!
5 . How do you think Afrobeat’s has shaped the world of music?
You can hear African Rhythms in all types of music , it has greatly impacted world music . In terms of the modern Afrobeats sound we are in period where it’s about to have a big effect on mainstream pop music & rap music . The last year especially has seen many US, UK & Various African artists collaborations & also the attention from Major labels like Sony Music , Universal Music etc go to West Africa & sign lot’s of artists . I think you are going to see in the next few years this sound greatly shaping the music world , not just in music but in culture & Art also!
6 . What advice do you have to the up and coming artistes that would love to go into music?
Be in it for the love & not money because your gonna be spending a lot money & not making much back at all ! I would tell them either write songs or use songwriters that can give them songs that people will remember & want to sing over & over . Songs are what last in music , one great song can travel around the world & put food on your table for the rest of your life . Also utilize every thing you can to promote yourself , make sure all your social media profiles have your music on . Also don’t be afraid to hustle ! Make friends with all the radio & club DJ’s , make sure they all have your music . Be available for any exposure like interviews , photo shoots etc . Don’t be delusional either , i hear to many artists saying they are gone be the greatest when there music is terrible !
7 . In few years from now, how do you think music in general will be like ?? In terms of the streaming services and all that ?
Honestly i am not optimistic . Everything in rap music for example has been said & said a million times over . I got excited when i heard new groundbreaking production sounds , like when i heard “Teddy Riley” in late 80’s come out with “New Jack Swing” , when i heard what “Timbaland” did on “Aaliyah’s” second album ! I got excited hearing producers like “Masterkraft” , “Krizbeats” , “Killertunes” , “MOG Beatz” etc & what they did with Afrobeats , it was refreshing . I just don’t hear anything exciting coming of America now , Trap music bores me to death , the UK Drill sound is just utterly depressing ! Are the younger music generation picking up instruments ? Are there young producers out there wanting to come out with a brand new sound to keep us all excited ? I’m sure the streaming sites also will have a complete monopoly on everything which is just not good at all.
8 . Do you feel artistes should be independent or go for major labels in the music industry ?
They should take the best deal that works for them . Start independent , build a fan base , release strong records & then if a major label comes knocking then your in a good position to get a good deal for yourself . Also keep networking , make sure the right people hear your music , you never know someone could spot you & invest in you!
9 . Is Afrobeat’s being played more in the UK than other genre of music ??
Not at all unfortunately . We only have a handful of dedicated Afrobeat’s radio show’s in the UK , we have along way to go . The most well know station for Black Music in the UK – BBC 1xtra has only just started to feature more Afrobeat’s within the last year & make it a mainstay in the playlist . Previous to that they would have “DJ Edu” playing it late on a Sunday evening & that was it. We do now have an Official Afrobeat’s Chart based on streaming hits & download sales . There was also a good underground network of club & nighttime venues playing the sound in the main city’s here before the pandemic hit .
You have heard it all from Stevie Street and you can follow him up on Instagram to get latest updates and new music