Every Nigerian was rooting for Burna Boy at the Grammys. Social media was flooded with uplifting, hopeful messages just before the ceremony held last month.
But Anthony Felix, who you might know as TKinzy, wasn’t that optimistic.
“Well as much as we love and appreciate Burna Boy, the fact is, that was a tough category, in the sense that Angelique Kidjo is a legend and has done great music for several years,” TKinzy says.
“So in my own opinion, I never for once believed that Burna Boy would win that category. I wish him all the best in the near future.”
TKinzy was speaking with the benefit of hindsight but it was a prescient remark coming from a musical mind which is now delving into the theatre world.
This year, the pop artist, based in South Africa, is set to play a starring role in the filmmaker Onyeka Nwelue’s latest project.
“It is basically a movie that shows what some people go through on a daily basis to make a living in order to support their various families,” TKinzy notes.
“What people go through abroad to provide for their families in need. We are looking at finalising it by mid-2020. I can’t wait for the world to see what we have been cooking.”
TKinzy didn’t start out as an actor. He was born in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, a community in southern Nigeria.
But he left when he was two-years-old after losing his mother (in a car crash) and moved to Aba, in the East. “It’s basically a hood,” he says, “having to grow in the ghetto and all that.”
When he was 12, he lost his father after a brief illness. “I was told he was sick for only two days. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I miss him so much.”
These early tragedies pushed TKinzy to want to create an alternative reality for himself, a desire that triggered his love for acting. “I am trying to recreate my life in a movie,” he says.
He played in school dramas and knew it was something he would return to later in life. He even attended the Muson School of Music and Theatre Arts for a few months, where he had the opportunity to attend acting classes.
“But I was focusing more on music then, although I couldn’t finish due to some financial challenges.”
However, his music career took off to a great start. In 2012, he was signed up by one of South Africa’s biggest labels, Gallo Records and pushed out some interesting, high-octane music.
But he later took a break because, according to him, he “wanted to rebrand”. Now he is signed up with World Arts Agency and is ready to start releasing new songs.
“There are quite some few plans,” he says. “This year I will be dropping a few songs and videos and collaborations. I will also be dropping my EP around September and then touring after.”
Although he will be collaborating with new artists, he isn’t ready to disclose them until the recordings have been finalised and released.
As he juggles his music with acting, the South-African based TKinzy is always thinking about several things, including Nigeria’s relationship with his adopted country.
“Well we need to do better, love one another as I know the love is not much; some of us are still living in pretence.
“I have lived in South Africa for years; I spent part of my teenage years in South Africa and I really hope we love and appreciate one another.
“There is no competition as the sky is big enough for any star to shine.”
He also hopes African leaders can step up and improve the continent’s fortunes.
“Africa has a lot to achieve but our leaders need to do better and stop embezzling money.”