Originally created as an avenue to give his teeming fans some new music while he works on his next album, the ‘DND‘ project quickly took on a life of its own to capture Bella’s headspace of “do not disturb” right now. As the afrobeats star puts it, “there’s a lot of good music out there, but I don’t want to be carried away by new different trends and sounds. Everywhere is saturated, but in the midst of that, I want to remain tuned into my own vibrations. I’m just in that ‘do not disturb’ mood right now, where I want to get myself together, without too many external influences. Self-control is important for my approach to music, so trying to be in my own headspace is key”.
Bethel: How does ‘DND’ differ from your previous work, Hypertension?
Bella Shmurda: ‘DND’ is how I want people to be happy. I want them to enjoy themselves. Just dance, dance, dance. This is about you being in your own space and enjoying yourself. That’s my space right now and that’s my mood right now. I just want to be on my own, you understand?
Bethel: Do you think that the decision to create an album centred around your own enjoyment and the enjoyment you want others to experience is what attracted you to your featured artists?”
Bella Shmurda: Yeah definitely, because they have the vibe, they have this good energy and we are friends. It’s good when friends do business, so I put on people that I know I have this good connection with and we’re on similar vibration.
Bethel: Would you say you have a favourite experience from working with Tiwa, Lil Kesh or Pheelz?
Bella Shmurda: I think the one with Tiwa Savage was a good experience because we’ve been good friends but that was the first time we were working together and it was a good one. Shout out to my friend Poco Lee. He holla’d at me and was like, “Tiwa is looking for you, where you?”. So I just holla’d at Tiwa, “Yo I’m in Nigeria”, and she said that I should come over and make good music. So shout out Tiwa, shout out to Pheelz, and shout out to Lil Kesh. It’s a family thing!
Bethel: Which track or tracks are you looking forward to performing live?
Bethel: You’ve had sold-out tours across Africa, Europe, and America. What has been your most memorable tour experience so far?
Bella Shmurda: I think that was me performing with Wiz at the O2, in London. It was my first time performing at the O2 arena and it was a good one. Shout out to Wiz for giving me the opportunity to put myself on.
Bethel: You’ve been a music lover at heart since a young age. How have your upbringing and early life experiences shaped you as an artist today?
Bella Shmurda: I feel where I come from, where I grew up in Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria, it was a good experience because of the struggles, the lifestyle. How everybody tried to survive every day tipped my pattern of music and the kind of music I listen to. My mom liked this contemporary African music, which is the Fújì. So those sounds brought together Bella Shmurda.
Bethel: What role does philosophy and your religion play in your music and songwriting process?
I want people to dance, at the same time I want to speak some sense into people. I want to have a good energy, good synergy and not just singing for the dancing sake but singing to make impact. Singing to speak words into people that make them understand life, you understand? I think that’s where religion comes in, because I’m not trying to cuss out anybody. In my music, I’m trying to put myself in control and trying not to let the music control me.
Bethel: Are there any specific messages you hope fans will take away from your EP?
Bella Shmurda: ‘DND’ to me is self-control because a lot of things can push you out there. Personally, as an artist, a lot of these things online just make you want to go wild. Being on your do not disturb mode is good self control because you get to ignore some things, you get to like overlook things, and you get to engage in proper conversations.
Lock in to Bella’s new EP below and check out more GUAP’s Music section here.