Joeboy Early Life
Joeboy (Joseph Akinfenwa Donus), born on 21 May 1997, is a Nigerian afro-pop singer-songwriter. His talent is evident from his music, but that’s not his only passion. Like so many young artists, Joeboy also has an affinity for football.
“My favourite team is Manchester United,” he explained to us when we asked about where his footballing loyalties lie. “Growing up, I followed the Nigerian football team and I started following Manchester United because of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was a young player doing it all: scoring goals, fashionable and making kids like me believe that you could reach your dreams. The team as a whole had a synergy like no other winning trophies and trashing other teams. Sir Alex Ferguson was also on top of his game with his tactics and match day decisions.” Sentiments shared by many who will have grown up watching the Red Devils dominating through that era.”
Joeboy released the easy-listening love song “Baby,” which reached the top 10 of Apple Music’s charts in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. Follow-up track “Beginning,” which Beats 1 host Ebro featured in his Discovered segment, hit No. 1 on Apple Music in Nigeria and Uganda. Both tracks are still in the top 10 in Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
As a member of emPawa’s initial class, Joeboy used the investment money he gained to film a music video for “Baby,” which went on to get 16 million Youtube plays and launched the single to No. 1 spots across Nigeria and Uganda on Apple Music. “Beginning” followed and had an equally large impact as it reached No. 1 in Apple Music Nigeria and Uganda, as well as top 10 spots in Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
emPawa is an investment programme for 30 artists which offers funding, expertise and mentoring. The initial launch in 2018 received over 10,000 entries from 14 countries, and 100 artists were selected and given a non-repayable grant to help towards developing their own campaigns.
Joeboy is a high school nickname, my name is Joseph but my peeps kept calling me Joeboy and the name stuck. The type of person I am, I like to do my best all of the time. When I was in primary school, I used to hang out with OGs like 9ice and ID Cabasa in their studio back then in Akoka. Being in their midst actually gave me some form of inspiration. I grew up in a music inclined family.
My dad used to play the keyboard, my brother played the bass, and my sister was in the choir. I used to attend choir practice but I never sang. I just sat down throughout and watched.
I started doing covers and the cover I did for Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You caught Mr Eazi’s attention on Instagram. So I met Mr Eazi, and he introduced me to E-Kelly and other producers, and that’s how it all started.
The last thing I had before that was “Faaji” featuring Mr Eazi, and when I dropped “Baby,” I thought I would like it to do way more than what “Faaji” did. But I didn’t expect “Baby” to come this far. “Baby” is one of the biggest African songs this year, charted in so many African countries. “Beginning” is currently one of the top songs in Nigeria at the moment, it’s on MTV Base, one of the most played songs on radio. It’s amazing two hits back to back.
The moment I stopped to think what I was doing [was when] “Baby” got to No. 1 on Apple Music, MTV Base, and then the same thing happened with “Beginning.” And then they are both on the Top 10 right now. That’s when I realized, wow, things are actually happening and things are going really well.
The first song “Baby” was produced by Dara the Boy. “Beginning” was produced by Killertunes, an amazing producer who just won the award for producer of the year*. The third song is produced by my very good friend, Beats by KO, called “Call Me Back.” The fourth song is “All For You,” also produced by Beats by KO and the final song is “Blessings,” produced by Beats by KO and Dara.
I recorded the last song “Blessings,” in Ghana, and that wasn’t the song I was supposed to be recording. We decided to just drop it and move it with this one. I thought, ‘let me think about something inspiring, not a love song this time.’ That is how “Blessings” came about. “Baby” was recorded in about 45 minutes. In the beginning of August, we recorded “Beginning.” I got inspiration from something a friend said. She said “I’m beginning to begin to get angry with you.” And I thought that was a very, very funny line, so I decided to make it into a song. And apparently it’s doing very well.
My Biggest Dream
My biggest dream is to be a worldwide star, just like Micheal Jackson. I want to go beyond my immediate audience, I want the whole world to know the name. I would like to be one of the biggest exports out of Africa. My major market right now is trying to conquer the African market, and from there I moved out on a worldwide basis. That is where I would like my career to take me. And also to change lives.
It’s not just about music. Art can impact people’s lives positively in one way or the other. Using my platform [to do that] is my major goal.
Joseph Akinfenwa Donus Biography and Profile