Fried chicken and R&B usually are not two terms floating around together.
Yet, BABA NYZA, a rising artist from Toronto, has used both to generate a fan base. How? The recipe was simple. He urged his fans, students, and the general population to eat free Raisin’ Canes he was giving out in exchange for follows on Spotify and Soundcloud. Did it work? After 2.5 million plays on Soundcloud and 300k on Spotify, his latest “Rack Like Spice,” is a hit.
As he is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of California Irvine, he claims he can inspire the masses through song. His Toronto upbringing gives him a diverse edge over the other rising superstars in the game. I had the pleasure of catching up with BABA NYZA for a quick interview below, as he discusses balancing music, education, and being an influencer in his community.
Grit Daily: Who inspires you the most musically?
BABA NYZA: Growing up in Bangladesh, you hear a lot of Bollywood. My love for R&B can be attributed to the likes of Ne-Yo, Alicia Keys and Usher. They inspired me musically growing up. But my passion for music came full circle when my family moved to Canada in 2010. My biggest influence is hands down, the 6 God, Drake. That dude is a class above everyone else.
GD: How would you describe your approach to music?
BABA NYZA: That’s a tough question, it varies. Music for me is something I pursue whenever I’m not feeling right. I use it to uplift my mood. Singing uplifts me. Songwriting does too. In terms of process, when I write songs, I tend to sing gibberish over a beat, and then I put words to the melody. Once I have the melody and lyrics down, the rest is just making sure the recording is on point.
GD: What gave you this idea to use chicken to generate attention?
BABA NYZA: Well, to be honest, it’s so hard generating attention on a track without label backing or a lot of money. It takes way too much time to go after booking agents to book shows and the current model of putting out a song and making it go viral isn’t worth the thousands of dollars, especially if you’re a new artist. I wanted to do it in a cost-effective way that would be fun for everyone. I wasn’t just going to put out a song online and have it become irrelevant.
GD: How hard did you have to work to get the results you did?
BABA NYZA: Oh man, I have given out at least more than a thousand dollars worth of fried chicken. I should be Raisin Canes’ favorite customer by now. I also ask 3-4 people every day on a daily basis to follow me on their social channels. It’s all about the grind. You can’t let it feel like a chore though; you got to see it as a way to meet new people.
GD: Did your business degree help you at all to market your songs?
BABA NYZA: I am currently pursuing an MBA in UC Irvine, so I would say yes it did. I would not have been so methodical in my process had it not been for all the finance courses I have been taking. There is a system to generating awareness; the first step is to educate yourself about how to do it. Without that, you are just shooting in the dark and seeing what sticks, which is not a bad process either.
GD: When can we expect a new full project from you?
BABA NYZA: August 30th, that’s the big day. I have a ten-track project dropping on Spotify, Soundcloud, and Apple Music. Rack Like Spice is going to be on it.
Press play below to hear BABA NYZA’s latest track, Rack Like Spice. For more coverage on influencers impacting the music and marketing world, checkout the Grit Daily’s latest coverage here.