At 23, the Brussels rapper is fulfilling his dream of making a living from his career as an artist and sharing his music with the public. At Les Ardentes, he wanted to mark the occasion by arriving equipped with a camera, attached to his back, and filming his face directly to shoot a live clip.
The equipment is too heavy and restrictive,“I didn’t feel in direct contact with the public, it was a bit of a barrier, I don’t really like it.”He gets rid of it after a minute and really begins his concert, determined, energetic and intoxicated by the enthusiasm of the hundreds of festival-goers in front of him.
Michael Jackson, the model on stage
Music has always been an integral part of Geeeko’s life, but the first artist who really marked him was the King of Pop.“When I was little, even after his death, people were still into Michael Jackson. His stage presence drove people crazy, he inspired so many people.”
What he took away from him is the way of performing in concert, something that Geeeko particularly appreciates. “Being on stage is not just about you coming and singing. I think people have paid to be there, they want to see a show, you have to give them something back. It’s important to have real contact with people. We’re on a stage, up high, it can create a little weird thing, I go down, I’m going to talk to them. It gives respect because it’s thanks to them that we are here”he develops.
From enthusiast to professional
Jonathan Nezzi, his real name, was born in Burundi in February 1999 and spent the first part of his life in Africa. Following his father who moved for work, he lived seven years in Rwanda then seven years in Burkina Faso before joining his mother and his sister in Brussels at the age of 14, living in Laeken, Yser then Forest.
Three years ago, Geeeko took music seriously when offered to sign an artist contract. Today his manager is none other than Dimitri Borrey, the former manager of Stromae.“I did that after school, I kept the money they gave me to eat at noon to pay for a studio session. I was told now you stop everything you do on the side, you go to the studio when you want, we will create a career”he remembers amused.
If Geeeko is a good rapper, it’s when he sings that he makes the difference. His music is a mixture of trap, a type of energetic rap, hovering melodies and melancholy self-tuned singing. With his style at the crossroads of musical genres and his blue dreadlocks, he is often considered the most American of Belgians in the industry. This can be explained in particular by his influences, the American rappers Saint Jhn and Juice Wrld or the Nigerian singer Burna Boy.
Transform the Unreal into Real
Hyperproductive, the young artist released his first two projects in 2020,Real in April andUnreal in December. Names of projects which are not chosen at random, they represent the evolution of the state of mind of the people of Brussels in relation to music.“Real, because that childhood dream that you keep in the back of your head has come true for real. Unreal, because there was this little doubt, this little thing where you tell yourself that you you’re almost there, but you’re not there yet, so you have to make the unreal real”,he analyzes.
In these two projects, Geeeko recounts her romantic disappointments onFendi WhereToxichis life as a young adult in the neighborhoods of Brussels and the hardships that accompany him onRodeo WhereGang or his ambitions inEHFE where he sings“Young child of hess (misery), I’m determined to found my empire, See all our blazes in the press, EHFE will make the headlines.”
The rapper uses music as a way to release his emotions. The atmosphere is catchy but what he says is very personal, like the songMommy on his mother in which he repeats.“Mommy doesn’t want to see those fucking bills pile up anymore, Mommy doesn’t want to see her kids depressed again, Mommy wants to give her what she’s never been given”.
Present on his first project, this song symbolizes his professional debut in music according to him,“Real that was it, I had a lot of emotions, I didn’t know how to tell them well so it was a raw thing, where I explain to you without you understanding too much what I live in.”OnUnrealGeeeko has collaborated with other young rappers from the Belgian scene such as Frénétik and YG Pablo.
Be an emerging artist today
Having emerged in the musical landscape during the confinement, the pandemic nevertheless allowed Geeeko to gain in maturity.“It made me mature faster,”he confides,“I’m a spontaneous guy, I want something I do it without thinking too much but with confinement you have no choice. You’re at home, if you have to write on a sound, you take the time that you have to because you have time.”
The Brussels resident was also one of the four artists followed by the RTBF teams for the documentary series on Belgian rap BXXL. We can observe his creative process and his questioning during four episodes shot in 2020 and 2021.
Geeeko took the time this year, after a more pop-sounding three-track EP, likecute sinin July 2021, he is now working on a new project which should see the light of day in the coming months.