A Pulse interview with Nigerian musician Wizard Chan

The fast-rising artist from Port Harcourt is always dressed in black attires, chief among which is a pair of conspicuous baggy trousers with flowing ruffles. It’s this combination of his stage name, music, and fashion that has earned him the nickname “The Native Doctor”.

It’s with the full essence of his The Native Doctor alter ego that El Maje (Wizard in Spanish), as I call him, showed up at Pulse Nigeria’s studio for this interview.

Wizard Chan is one of those artists whose storied and trying journey to success is mostly lost in their first breakout single, making everything before it inconsequential to their newfound audience.

For Wizard Chan, that song is his December 2022 release ‘Earth Song,’ and going by his catalogue on streaming platforms, this is the first release of his current journey as everything before it was taken down to pave the way for a new beginning.

‘Earth Song’ will take Wizard Chan from relative obscurity to mainstream success. The song enjoyed charting success and won him the award for Best Alternative Song at the 2023 Headies.

Speaking on how he made his breakout single ‘Earth Song,’ and if he preempted its success, Wizard Chan explains that he treats every recording as a potential breakthrough song.

“Every single song I record is meant to be big,” he says. “I write from a place of reality. I never try to make hits or songs that will go viral. I just try to put my true emotions and feelings into the music”.

Wizard Chan’s music packs a fusion of genres notably among which is reggae, which complements his swagger, Ijaw heritage, and spirituality. Wizard Chan credits his music’s soul-stirring effect to the passion and spirituality of the Ijaw language he infuses into his sound.

“A typical Ijaw person sings with so much soul and passion that it feels like they are crying, so that’s why when I sing in my language it’s very soulful,” he says.

Wizard Chan’s music is markedly different from mainstream Afrobeats and while this distinction is now earning him the admiration of listeners and colleagues, this wasn’t always the case. According to Wizard Chan, being different meant that he was constantly reminded by friends and music industry folks that people like him seldom achieved mainstream success.

“When I even got my first popular song, there were still doubts from people who thought it was a fluke and there were doubts from fans, family, and music execs advising me to not make use of my local language because it’s not the popular language. But they don’t know that music has no boundaries”.

Wizard Chan will get success doing what he loves, how he loves to and his sonic distinction is highlighted in the surprise EP ‘The Messenger’ which he released in April this year, following the success of his collaboration with Joeboy ‘Loner’.

While the 9-track project might be a surprise release, Wizard Chan states that he always knew the title of his first-ever project years before he dropped it.

“I have always known I am going to drop my first project as ‘The Messenger.’ This just felt like the best time to drop it.”

On his debut project, he showcases the soul-stirring music that distinguishes him while introspecting on existentialism in songs like ‘Demon and Angels’ and showcasing his ijaw heritage in songs like ‘Higher Powers’ and ‘Legacy’.

“I make music for people who want to listen to messages that resonate with them be it love, life, or spirituality. I believe my music can heal. That’s why I call myself the Native Doctor,” he says.

With music that’s markedly different and sonically rich, Wizard Chan has attracted the attention of mainstream listeners. He also has mainstream ambitions that include collaborating with several global stars chief among which is Damian Marley who he calls his “GOAT.” Wizard Chan hopes to someday make a song with Nigerian music legend 2Baba, global superstar Burna Boy, and celebrated gospel singer Mercy Chinwo, whom he hopes won’t be put off by his Native Doctor alter ego. He curiously also wants to work with controversial street pop sensation Portable, whose music he says he likes.

Wizard Chan is enjoying commercial success after several years of making soul-stirring music that has finally found well-deserved appreciation among a growing audience. But for Wizard Chan, success is a plus, albeit a much-desired one, because even without it, he would have continued making music with all his heart.

“I had nothing else to do with my life than just sing. Even if I never made it, I will still sing to my last breath,” he says.

Shout out link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *