Fozter started making music in 2012 but had a crunch in 2016. In 2020, he has an EP ready, and a collaboration with one of Africa’s biggest rappers, MI Abaga. How did he manage to do this?
It’s 10:20 am and my phone is ringing. It is Fozter, the Imo artist I had booked an interview with for 11 am that Wednesday morning. The previous week I had followed him on Instagram because I had heard a lot about him and his music. “Hello, we are at your office”, Fozter tells me from the other side of the phone. I had rushed out of the office earlier to meet with a client hoping to get back before the interview time. Sitting at the reception with his manager, Mr Awesome Nnaji, Fozter maintains a confident posture, glancing at intervals at the office view, while filling out the visitors’ register. Cool, calm, and collected, young lad doesn’t appear as the same person who spits all the fire in his rap songs. Fozter‘s story is one of courage and determination.
Born in Enugu, where he completed his primary and secondary education, Fozter, like many young people who have a knack for music, decided to a studio to record his first ever song. That song never saw the light of day. “Back then we were just kids. We didn’t really know how to go about releasing music. We would just share it with our friends and they’ll say ‘oh wow it’s good’. It was not really good”, Fozter tells me. It was the year, 2012, and he was just in Junior Secondary School 3 (JSS3) at the time, so it can be counted to him as a courageous move. Three years later, he would move back with his whole family to their hometown of Emekuku, in Owerri North, Imo State. Now in his final year, studying Mechanical Engineering, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, he tells that the courageous move he made with his music in 2012 was put to a stop in 2016 when he lost his laptop, and all his life’s work in music were gone. “In 2016, I messed up with my music, like I had this particular show, it was big and I messed up. So I went back to work on my craft. I was working with my laptop which I lost, with all the beats and all the songs, everything just got misplaced. So I started afresh. Everything was now new and fresh. I changed my name to Fozter, he says.
Starting afresh, Fozter focused on making covers while dropping a few singles in order to retain and build his fan base. Some of the covers got reposted and retweeted by the original owners. For example, when he did a cover of Xbusta‘s “Murder Anybody“, he (Xbusta) liked it and gave him a shout. That motivated him and kept he kept working hard. In 2018, he released his first official single, “Outlets“, and later on “Pictures“. In January 2019, he released another single, “2019 Introduction” and in December 2019, when it felt like his efforts at breaking into the Nigerian music industry were futile, he released another single, “L After L“, interpreted as loss after loss. “I felt a whole lot of losses at that time and they messed me up. But instead of getting depressed, I wrote them down and used it to make music”, Fozter says.
It wasn’t until the year, 2020, that his ‘big break’ so to speak, came. He had been trying to get the attention of MI Abaga, but hadn’t been successful, so he decided to jump on Mavin Records signee, Ladipoe‘s “Let Me Know” challenge. Fortunately, he got a repost from Ladipoe on Instagram, and Ladipoe went on to push his version of the challenge on his Instagram story. That was how he got MI Abaga‘s attention, who then followed him on Instagram. Riding on that opportunity, he decided to do a cover of MI Abaga‘s “Bad Belle“. That was what sealed the rapper’s interest in him, and he got a retweet and a DM (direct message) asking for a collaboration. Now Fozter has a collaboration with in the works with one of Africa’s biggest rappers, MI Abaga, Loose Kaynon, and a host of other top Nigerian musicians. His new EP, Popz The Ep, has features from Phyno‘s Penthauz Music signee, Ratti. The break into the music industry which he sought for in 2012 finally came eight years after, in 2020. Now hoping for a seamless entry into the industry, he has an EP ready to be released on the 11th of December, 2020.
While we sat in that office space, he tells me his journey so far, his plans the future, and how his patience, courage, determination finally paid off.
Tim Uwakwe: How long have you been in Owerri?
Fozter: Well, I mean, I’m from Owerri. Well, back then I was living in Enugu but we used to come down for holidays. But I’ve been in Owerri now for like five years.
Back then like when?
My childhood. I was born in Enugu. I schooled in Enugu too, but I’m currently in the University now, but it’s not in Enugu, it’s in Anambra, Unizik. In my finals, studying Mechanical Engineering.
So you came back to Owerri with your family or just you?
My fam. Everybody is here.
Mechanical Engineering and music don’t tally at all. How are you combining them?
Well, the only thing is just to have the time for them, they’ll still clash, but you make out time for music, and make out time for school.
How long have you been doing music?
Well, let me see. Eight years. We did our first song in 2012. That was a long time ago. Then I was in JSS3.
The song you made in 2012, was it released?
No, it was not released. Back then we were just kids. We didn’t really know how to go about releasing music. We would just share it with our friends and they’ll say ‘oh wow it’s good’. It was not really good. But everything changed in 2016.
What happened in 2016?
In 2016, I messed up with my music, like I had this particular show, it was big and I messed up. So I went back to work on my craft. I was working with my laptop which I lost, with all the beats and all the songs, everything just got misplaced. So I started afresh. Everything was now new and fresh. I changed my name to Fozter.
What were you answering before?
Spanky. (Laughs). That was a very stupid name.
So you lost your laptop and all the music in it. How did you come back on your feet?
So we started afresh. Doing covers and all. I don’t know if you’ve heard murder anybody by Xbusta. I did the cover with my brother Franky, and he (Xbusta) liked it and everything was beautiful. Then I dropped my first official single in 2018, outlets.
So what have you been up to since then.
Well, I’ve been doing music. In 2018, I released two songs, outlets and pictures. I feel there’s no point releasing music when nobody will listen to it, so I focused on doing covers to build my fan base. Then I released two songs in 2019, uhm what’s the name, 2019 introduction and L after L. 2019 introduction was in January, while L after L was in December.
What’s the meaning of L after L?
Loss after loss. I felt a whole lot of losses at that time and they messed me up. But instead of getting depressed, I wrote them down and used it to make music. Everybody loved that particular song. Then in 2020, everything has just been beautiful.
What things have been beautiful in 2020?
I’ve been in a couple collaborations. I have work with a whole lot of top Doug’s, still under raps (laughs). MI and I are working together currently.
How did you get his attention?
By practice. Since 2016, not a day goes by that I don’t rap. Not a week goes by that I don’t write music. So I’ve been getting better and he saw one of my stuff. I did this Ladipoe let me know challenge and he saw it. Ever since, I’ve been trying to get MI’s attention but I didn’t, so I jumped on Ladipoe’s let me know challenge. So I got a repost from him. It was my own that he put on his status. It was my own that he pushed more than everyone else’s. So MI saw it and followed me, then hit me up in the DM and said bro you’re a king. Then I now did a cover of MI’s bad belle on Twitter. He retweeted it. That was where he now said, bro we have to work.
That must have been one hell of a feeling for you.
That was fantastic.
So who else have you been working with?
Well, we have the likes of Loose Kaynon but it’s all under raps (laughs).
Your EP is coming up soon?
Yes, we have the listening party on the 5th of December, but I’d like to drop it on the 11th. It has seven songs. I did a couple for the Nigerian market.
Are there any features?
Yes there are features. I got Ratti, then I got my producer too, the person I consider the best anyways, Kranki, my brother, he’s a rapper as well. He’s an all round.
Apart from your brother, do you have any other Imo artist on the EP?
I mean, I don’t mind working with anybody. Just be good that’s all. If you’re down to work and you’re good, then let’s get something started on the way.
It’s nice having you around, Fozter.
It’s nice being around.