Brymo’s burst of fire and brimstone

Ashimi Olawale popularly known as Brymo
came on the music scene in 2007 when he
dropped his debut album, Brymstone. The 27-
year-old son of a carpenter father and petty
trader mother grew up in Okokomaiko, a
suburb of Lagos.
His music career began in 2002 when he and a
couple of friends formed a band they
christened ‘Aliens’. However, they later broke
up and Brymo kick-started his solo career,
recording his first single in 2005. In 2010, he
hooked up with Chocolate City and got a face
following the success of Ice Prince’s Oleku.
In this interview with TS Weekend, Brymo
opens up on his childhood, music and current
crisis with Chocolate City. Excerpts:
How did you come into music?
I started music when I was 14. But I think
what happened was that my mum was and
remains a big music fan so, I’d like to say that
she is responsible for my keen interest in
music. It all began in SS1 when I wrote my
first song entitled, Future.
At what time did you decide to embrace
As I grew up, it became clear that I would
have to embrace music. I realised that I had
no choice than to play music. This is probably
because I have passion for music and I enjoy it
and also get paid for it. I happen to be an only
child so music just let me run free. I only have
my parents to worry about and they are quite
What was it like growing up an only child?
I don’t know if I missed anything because I
didn’t have siblings. (Laughs) Basically, I grew
up with only me by my side so it’s easy for me
to want to be by myself. It got me into trouble
a lot but I can’t tell how lonely it was because
I didn’t have siblings.
Tell us about your parents?
My mum is a petty trader and my dad a
carpenter. I grew up with them in a room
Could you tell us about your music before
I had songs from my first album entitled,
Brymstone. That was in 2007. We had
problems with management and I couldn’t get
a marketer in Alaba International Market for
the album. You know, Alaba Market is quite
tough and sometimes for a new artiste, if you
can sell your album there and it’s good, you
could blow up.
How much were you looking at then?
Funny enough, I had N1 million offer then. But
for some technical reasons it just didn’t sail
through and we couldn’t get good distribution.
I was very disappointed and that’s natural but I
have moved on.
Did you think of quitting?
That’s the problem. I couldn’t quit.
How did you get signed on to Chocolate
I got a call from Denrele (Edun) saying, ‘aburo,
you’re going to call MI and work with him. MI
wants to work with you.’ I was like ‘wow, are
you serious?’ And that was how we hooked up.
In less than a month, I was at his place to
record with Jesse Jags.
How did you get inspiration for the hook of
It came from somewhere between being
hungry, desperate and passionate, and having
so much inspiration around me. It was pretty
much Jesse Jags, Ice Prince and I in the studio
that day. We were just sitting there and Jesse
had a new idea for a beat and he came up with
it, and within 30 minutes or an hour we had a
song, the rest is history.
Did you ever get credit for Oleku, were you
ever paid for it?
We were like a family. Yes, I got my credit; it’s
basic. But I was not paid…not necessarily.
You did so well on that track, why did it
take Chocolate City a year to sign you on?
I don’t know. I was scared I was not going to
get a deal if I didn’t sign that contract after a
year with a good song like Oleku. Not that I
had a face yet. If I had left I would have to
start all over again. I had put in work and
Oleku was a big investment.
Did you make money from the track?
No, it just gave me a face, more than that it
also gave me a voice.
You also went on to do Ara, another big
It was amazing. Oleku was great. I am happy
about Ara because in the totality of it all, most
people who fall in love with Ara will probably
fall in love with it forever.
We understand that you have parted ways
with your label. What were the issues?
My debut album was not released properly.
Songs were leaked even after they promised
that they were safe. And then there was my
single, which was poorly released. I think I
deserve an explanation why the release was
messed up. That already is a breach. You took
my song, edited it and released it behind my
back; very unfair. It’s something I don’t want
to talk about but there’s news everywhere that
I am smoking weed and people are saying I
don’t get shows because of that.
What really led to the story of weed
smoking? Was it the picture on Instagram?
Yes, but for God’s sake, I have not done
anything to mess up the contract. What else
do you think anybody would say just to make
me look bad? It’s like giving a dog a bad name
so you can hang it. They needed to come up
with something. Like I said before, a lot of
artistes are doing songs about weed and I have
not even done a song on weed before.
Tell us about Choc Boys and how it affected
your project?
We were supposed to record a Choc Boy
album in 2012, which I could not agree to
because I had my own album in the works. But
it’s even worse than that because nobody ever
called me up. Whenever they had Choc Boy
meetings I was never there. I heard stuff from
my other mates on the record label and I am
like ‘when did you have that meeting?’ So, it’s
easy now for them to come out and say I am
still a Choc Boy. However, I was never treated
like one!
What are your plans now?
Chocolate City says I can’t go anywhere but
they will have to sue me to enforce that and
we will meet in court.
Are you not scared it could affect your
career negatively?
Yeah, maybe, it will make me make less money.
Maybe, I don’t know how it’s going to end but
I have to do this for my career. I know I am
right, so with time I will pick up.
Beyond Chocolate City, what are your
plans? Do you have a new management, a
new deal?
This is music business. By the time you shop
for a few weeks, you’ll find a manager and a
publicist. The songs always come first so if I
don’t have an album in the works, what do I
need a manager and publicist for.
Now, what happens to your music
catalogue at Chocolate City?
I have rights over them because the songs
belong to me personally. I wrote those songs
and never got any money for them. So, they
are my personal property but then, what can I
say? I lost an album to lack of distribution
before so it’s not a big deal if the label says
What are your dreams?
My dream is to make music until the world
tells me to shut up, to stop singing!
What has been your greatest moment?
There are lots of them but Oleku was one of
them; it was amazing!
What’s your relationship with the people at
Chocolate City?
We have a very cordial relationship, funny
enough. We talk on phone and we even
exchange visits. When I got my new car four
months ago, I drove to MI’s place and said
‘come take a look at my car.’ When we meet at
events we still talk.
Tell us about the woman in your life?
Yes, I am in a relationship. But no plans for
marriage right now. I met the lady in my life at
a birthday party. What struck me about her
was that she was tall and beautiful. The
attraction was her height. Who no go like fine
girl? I like the way she carries herself and the
way she treats me.
When are you guys getting married?
(Laughs) I am 27-years-old so I am still
thinking of roaming around a little bit more
before settling down.

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