Editorial Intern/Contributing Editor Nureni Ibrahim
Arts and Letters of Africa (Nigeria focus)
Musician Artiste Interview:
Cyprian Shurs is an afro-hip artiste who delivers exciting and culturally relevant live performances through what critics are calling his “intricate lyrical treatments and innovative musical arrangements.” Shurs sang, danced and acted with his childhood church choir from the age of nine and continued with them until he was nineteen. He entered the University of Calabar to study Theatre and Media Arts, where he honed his performance skills and experimented with acting, broadcasting and choreography. Some of his influences include Kanye West, Kirk Franklin, 2Face Idibia, Dbanj. Upon graduation in 2015, Shurs took up internship as a mixing and mastering engineer from 2016 to 2017 while observing the compulsory National Service year. Shurs released four singles in 2017; these were well-received and include the tracks Drop It, Hell and Back (Kid Ink Cover), Gospel or Nothing, and The One. When he is not in the studio, Cyprian Shurs serves as Soft Skills Facilitator at the West Africa Vocational Education Center, helping to transforming lives of underserved African youth. He is currently working on his debut album scheduled for release in September 2019.
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: By way of introduction, what would you like your fans to know about you?
Cyprian Shurs: I am Cyprian Shurs. I have been an artiste from birth. I discovered my love for art just by paying attention to everything around me and since music is one of the elements that made up the ambience of my upbringing, I gained interest. I was nine (9) years, the first time I auditioned for the church choir. Being that young, I was enrolled in the children choir as the first approach. At the age of 14, I joined the youth choir and eventually became the lead vocalist and choir master for about 4 years (up until I got admission into the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria).
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: Could you please describe yourself as a performance artiste?
Cyprian Shurs: From singing in the choir and performing concerts with various groups, performing in dance troupes (Carnival Calabar: 2013 and 2014) and acting drama, it happened on me that I had unique gifts in these arts, and this informed my study of Theatre and Media Studies in the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria – where I chiselled out various elements of performance and performed as Helicon in Albert Camus’ Caligula, Banji in Ola Rotimi’s If: A tragedy of the ruled, amongst others. In 2017, I put out an amazing musical act at Mr.Patrick’s Comedy Club, held at Ultima Studios, Lekki phase 1, Lagos. Upon graduation, I interned as a Mixing/Mastering sound engineer in a music studio for one year.
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: Do you have any mentors?
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: What does your source of inspiration look like?
Cyprian Shurs: Life and everything that it embodies inspires me. This involves time, love, hate, anxiety etc. I most certainly graft my daily experiences and those of people around me onto materials that I churn out.
IIbrahim for O:JA&L: We would like to know the dominant central lesson in your music?
Cyprian Shurs: You will definitely find strings of unity, patience, hustle, tough times and hope presented in different layers for my fans of all backgrounds to gain from. Irrespective of their level of school, everybody can relate to all my works. From my unique flow, depth of message laced… presented in catchy sing-along melodies and presented in the most amazing style…
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: Which kinds of audience do you think your music attracts?
Cyprian Shurs: The kids, bro…the young people and the human race, man. All humans yet to listen to my songs. There is something present for everyone, irrespective.
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: We would like to know if you have any forthcoming performances?
Cyprian Shurs: My team and I are dedicated to delivering awesome music to my fans and the whole universe. That is why we are working round the clock making selfless sacrifice to put out songs, so everyone stay expectant. While waiting, you can listen to songs here.
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: What does your greatest achievement looks like?
Cyprian Shurs: Every moment put into doing what we do is considered great. This very approach is birth of all the awesome times we have had. One of such is when I was awarded the Certificate of Excellent Service by National Youth Service Corps, Bauchi State, on the incident of completion of one year compulsory national service. This award came to me in the midst of about three thousand five hundred (3500) Corps members from across the country.
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: Could you please talk about some of your career challenges and triumphs?
Cyprian Shurs: I see challenges as opportunities laced in responsibility. It is with this approach that I ensure that I pay absolute attention to all of them and take unorthodox steps in converting these challenges. One of the challenges we (my team) had was breaking into the Lagos market from the South-East part of Nigeria, but we are here now, currently working with creative here, getting a hang on to everything and plotting total world take over.
Ibrahim for O:JA&L: What are your future goals?
Cyprian Shurs: Pushing the envelope in art (music, fashion, film/drama), albeit one at a time. Music is the goal now. We are putting out a mix tape in August 2019… and other great stuff. Stay tuned by following my social accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
About the interviewer: Nureni Ibrahim is a researcher and critic of contemporary writing who lives and writes in Nigeria. He studied English and Literature at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He is among the 2017 scholars of the Nigeria Higher Education Foundation, New York. He has presented papers in local and international conferences, among which is the “2nd Joint International Conference of African Studies Institute, University of Georgia, Athens, USA and Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin, Kwara, Nigeria” held at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. He once supported Wawa Book Review Africa (as a fellow and young critic) where he wrote review of books published by writers on the African continent. Ibrahim is a spoken word artist and has performed poetry at Ahmadu Bello University Day of Literature, Footprints of David Arts Festival and a league of others. His works are featured in Decent E-News, Queensland, Australia; The Mamba Journal of the Africa Haiku Network, Kumasi, Ghana; Shamrock Haiku Journal, Dublin, Ireland; Best ‘New’ African Poets 2016 Anthology, Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, to mention but a few. He currently works closely with the associate editor at the Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, United States.