Fireboy DML appears on “Apple Music 1” with Ebro Darden to talk about his third studio album “Playboy,” the tremendous viral success of his track “Peru,” the genesis of his major collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Madonna, and Rema, having more collabs set to release, and more.
Read excerpts from the interview below:
On the numerous remixes of “Peru,” and working with Ed Sheeran
It was the Ed Sheeran version first. That’s the one that matters, that’s the first. That’s the one. Everything else was about strategic stuff and all that, but the collaboration was the Ed Sheeran one. My team reached out to me, “Yo.” Jamal Edwards, rest his soul, very close to Ed Sheeran, played the song to him, sent it to him, and he loved the song. He took his stance to write a verse, and then he sent me a DM and sent me a VN of his verse. I’m like, “Yo, Ed Sheeran, on this record, this is it.” Ed Sheeran is someone I sonically connect to. I’ve looked up to this man for a long time, for as long as I can remember. He actually made me fall in love with the acoustic guitar, and it really meant a lot to me, not just for me, but for the culture as well, because I knew what it would mean for Afrobeats when the record came out. I’m glad to be at the forefront of pushing the culture and the genre. This is a record that will stand the test of time. Years later they’ll say, “Oh, Afrobeats opened up in the United States, worldwide, internationally, and Peru by Fireboy is one of those records that made it happen.” I’m just really glad. That’s what we want, to open opportunities and build bridges.
On how the song “Peru” has nothing to do with the country, and what it’s actually about
[The word “Peru” is] also an allusion to a friend of mine, also an artist, Peruzzi. He has used this tagline in his songs, so I just used it as… it was like a pun, wordplay kind of thing… I was just really telling the story of a young boy who would find himself in a place that he’d never been before. I recorded that song because it was my first time in the United States and I just got off writer’s block. I just came back from Miami, where I had the most beautiful time at a strip club. I think I was near depressed, and I just got to the United States, and I just was like, “Wow.” I just made that song out of that feeling, so I think that’s the most spontaneous song I ever made. It was like a 45-minute freestyle.
Fireboy DML on connecting with Madonna for the remix of her track “Frozen”
She reached out to me first in 2019 when my first album came out. She was like, “Yo, I love your album. It’s amazing.” “Is this the Madonna? Wow, thank you so much, this means a lot to me, “blah, blah blah, and that was it. Fast forward to 2022, she hits me up on Instagram. “Yo, hey.” I’m like, “Hey, it’s her again! Wow!” And she’s like, “I want you to be a part of my classic, one of my classics.” I’m like, “Of course.” Then she sends it to me, I’m like, “Of course I know this song!” She was like, “Yeah, she’s trying to do a remix. I’m like, “Of course, let’s do this,” and then went back and forth on WhatsApp. She’s a perfectionist just like me. She’s sort of like a control freak in a way too. I like that about her. We went back and forth and did that, and then we linked up to shoot the video. I think the Madonna record and Peru are easily my favourite collaborations, just because of the vibes that were around when we shot the video. Amazing, organic, natural. That is why I never force collaborations, just for moments like that. Some people force collaborations and the video shoots are always awkward. Nah, nah. It was never like that with Madonna. She’s amazing.
On why he chose the title “Playboy”
Playboy, because over the years I’ve been a very reclusive superstar. You would never run into Fireboy randomly. I only ever got out of the house when I had to leave the house, and back home, that’s not how superstars do it. You’re supposed to see superstars everywhere in the club, randomly like, “Yo, yo, yo.” I’ve always been a homebody. I’ve always been a reclusive, chill person. But I decided that I needed to come out of my shell and actually face the reality that is my life right now. I’m a superstar. I need to enjoy my superstardom. I need to embrace the reality that is my life right now. That’s what it’s about. I’m coming out to play, Playboy.
On performing at Wembley Arena later this year
It’s a really big deal. It was a ballsy move for me to be honest. But I just thought, “It’s now or never, man. Just do it. ” The tickets are selling out fast. I’m not sold out yet, but it’s been positive.
On working with Rema on “Compromise,” and having more collabs ready to drop
Myself and Rema are like the two leading artists of our generation, without a doubt. We came together and realized that, “Yo, instead of giving these fans what they want, which is beef, let’s collaborate.” We don’t want to repeat any mistakes from the past; we just want to make money. The fans are still doing their stuff. They’re relentless, but we will continue to show love because that’s the only way. We are too advanced for this stuff, so we came together, and we want to really give them the obvious club banger that they want. We will come together and make proper, proper music, and that’s what we did. We have other songs that are immediate club bangers, but they did not fit into the vision that I had for this album. There’s like five more records, like five more Fireboy DML and Rema records. I don’t know about this year, but I’ll be getting it, definitely.
Watch the interview below: