Over the years, the church has given birth to many music stars; whether or not they stay in the gospel genre or end up looking for other avenues.
The story is the same for the rave of the moment, Divine Ikubor, popularly known as Rema.
While he began his musical career in church and as a bandleader, the nation rap, the demands of life and family pushed him to explore other avenues as a young teenager in Benin City, Edo State.
“A lot of people felt like it was when I was signed that I started to deviate or whatever, no. In fact, life was hard in Benin and I’m not that type asking people in church to pay me because I was doing God’s work,” he told Ebuka on Rub spirits on Television channels.
“Right there in Benin, I started going to competitions, bars, fairs, political rallies, just trying to get on stage or hold a microphone to at least receive some money to go home and just feed my family. We were going through hard times, I lost my father, I lost my brother, so I needed to help my family. That’s when I started to space myself out little by little until I went into exile.
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His career reached a turning point when he decided to release his freestyle version of a D’Prince and Davido song in 2019.
According to Rema, it was a boring Thursday afternoon and although he had done several remixes before that day, luck would eventually shine on him after he tagged D’Prince on his latest freestyle.
“At that time, I was just scrolling and I saw that D’Prince had released a song with Davido and I jumped into it. I called my producer at the time, to redo the beat and I did a freestyle in my friend’s car and that was it. I tagged him and he commented, reposted and he DMed and that was it,” he said.
After Rema signed to D’Prince’s label, Jonzing World; a subsidiary of Mavin Records, he later released his first EP Rema in 2019, which peaked at number 1 on Apple Music Nigeria.
Since then, the 21-year-old has released other EPs and hit songs such as Dumebi, Bad Commando and ginger me with his unique sound which he categorizes under Afro-rave and Trap – hip-hop subgenres.
It will go on to win the Next Rated award at the 2019 Headies.
Although Rema has had his fair share of criticism, he thinks many have now warmed to his sound.
His mother, who at the beginning of his career did not understand his transition from gospel to circular music, is now also one of his biggest supporters.
“I didn’t really do a lot of explaining, I just told him to trust me,” Rema said, explaining that a lot of the things he sings about are things those who consider themselves “holy.” are still behind closed doors.
When asked if his mother accepts this “new” Rema, he replied: “Yes. Even when she saw my tattoos, she was like, it’s your decision, it’s your life as long as you don’t overdo it or get lost.
For the first time in his three-year career, the soft-spoken artist has dropped a complete body of work: Rave And Roses.
The 16-track album details love, addiction and fate.
“I swear this album has different vibes, different stories,” Rema told Apple Music. For him, “it’s this bridge that brings Rema fans together”.
If he has not yet had many collaborations with Nigerian artists, the young star says he has his eyes on other stars, Joeboy, Omah Lay and Benson (formerly Buju) among others.
As with all other celebrities, Rema’s love life is one that many remain curious about. But he says he’s not dating or looking for love at the moment and when he finds a worthy partner he intends to keep her away from the watchful eyes of social media.
Responding to comments on a photo of his label mate Ayra Starr he recently posted, he said there were no strings attached and he was only celebrating her for her beauty.