Monday, 31 July 2017

Bemyoda : Inside the Mind of an Intellectual

AMN: Now speaking about God, do you find that people tend to box you in the religious line because of the kind of folky feel of your songs? Because you aren’t straight up singing the shake your booty sort of songs.

Bem: this is a very touchy subject because I’ve had fights, broken friendships and relationships because of this. But for me it’s pretty straight forward and simple. It took me a while to get here but it’s a thing of understanding that when music is called Christian, a lot of the time it’s a marketing thing. It’s not a bad thing and there’s nothing wrong with it.

On one hand it feels like it’s a box, on the other hand, the music itself is a box. For me now, it’s a thing where once you are Christian, you are Christian. I don’t think that I have to label everything that I do after that, but everything that I do has to come from my faith.

So if you listen to stark from the beginning to end, nobody has to tell you that this guy is Christian, nobody has to tell you there’s something spiritual about this.

 I feel like there’s a lot of times where Christians say “ my gospel music, I want to use it to reach the world” you are not using gospel music to reach the world because the world is not listening to gospel music. The church is listening to gospel music. So you are using your music to edify the church but don’t say it’s a tool to reach the world because how are you reaching them? First of all they will not listen to it if it’s called Christian, cos that’s not what they want to listen to, secondly as a Christian can you speak to the issue of life? As a human being and from a Christian perspective?

Yes you should be able to, I should be able to sing about boko haram killing children in the north, because it affects me, as a human being. It affects me as a Christian, I should be concerned about that, I should be concerned about Nigeria enough and if I want to put it in a song, it should be the right thing to do as a Christian.

But this is a challenge mostly from the church because I sing about Nigeria now, like in the song called Renegade Soldier, where I’m basically saying there’s all of these issues happening and we should stand up and speak for what is right, we should stand up and do the right thing. What is 
un-christian about that? But it doesn’t fit into worship music so people tell you, you are circular. Is that really circular? It isn’t. 

So it’s a twisted conversation and a lot of times I don’t like to get into it, because it can go round and some people feel like you are doing it because it’s a money thing, you want a big market. When honestly in Nigeria, beside club and party music, the next big market is gospel music. So in doing this, I’m depriving myself because I’m not making party music and neither am I making Christian music so in essence I’m shooting myself in the foot. But people don’t see it that way, they feel like you are for the world, you want to get money.

But then again I don’t feel like is should make worship music for money, if I’m called to do that…fine.
I still write worship songs, I still sing in church, I still go to minister in places and sing worship because that’s who I am as a Christian but I don’t think that it should stop us from, doing other things, because if you say that then it affects everything else.
It affects movie, it affects education and so much more.
We have this thing where we put music on a pedestal by itself and sort of separate it from life so you hear a Christian say, “ I cant listen to your music, its not christian” but you can watch game of thrones? But you can watch Isoken?

There’s nothing Christian about it, in that sense. It’s almost like saying “ this person is gay but I tell a lie so his sin is greater.”  So it’s a thing of understanding. When God is involved people tend to get very sentimental.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Romeo and Juliet is the Drille

I may have got on this band wagon late but this fangirl is definitely here to stay. Signed in, bought the t-shirt, locked and loaded, and ready to go on for days about the country-esque styled musician that is Johnny Drille.

You almost wish he had done a song with Taylor Swift before she switched genres to pop.
But beautiful doesn’t begin to cover the way Johnny’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ made me feel. It’s the type of song you’d easily fall for and this has nothing to do with the fact that it’s named after one of Shakespeare’s most successful romance stories to hit the shelves of the public.

It may have borrowed the name, but this Romeo and Juliet certainly carries its own character. It’s a punch of sappy emotions for all lovers and intended lovers out there.

A long breath of fresh air this one is, the strum of the guitar simply puts you at ease and you almost forget he’s Nigerian as he starts to sing, but you get pulled back into a sweet reality of his Nigerian-ness by his interesting infusion of pidgin, you have to ask, “Who is this man? Where did he come from? And what will he do next?”

With content for days, listening to his words will transcend you, and ladies, if we aren’t careful we may just loose our heads over this Mavin star and his sugar coated words/voice.

Simply a shining talent in the Nigerian Music Industry and under a brilliant label to shine a brighter spotlight on his work, it would seem in a few years, Johnny should prepare for a duet with Blake Shelton and the likes *Fingers crossed* and theme songs to lace our Romantic-Comedies with some extra spice. Hello new Nollywood, meet Johnny Drille…talk among yourselves.

Not to be a sensational, but this is the kind of song, you want to hear as an underlay to those absolute romantic moments. No longer do we have to suffer tuneless music as background songs in our movies, Its Johnny Drille to the rescue (We Hope)  

That falsetto? Amazing or what? I better stop now.

Here's the Lyric Video for Romeo and Juliet. give your ears the pleasure of this sound

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bemyoda is...An Intellectual, Creative and Silver Screen Newbie #Part 1

Some are simply a pure Joy to converse with and this was the case with singer, songwriter, photographer, consultant and silver screen newbie Bemyoda.

His passion was music was first passed on to him through his father who was musically inclined.
The Benue born folk singer released an album recently, named Stark that features songs such as ‘told you’, ‘Renegade Soldier’ as well as many more soul moving combinations of music and lyrics.

He's got the calm of a zen garden and the witty crack of an English pirate. (Wicked)

AMN: I don’t know if you get this a lot but when you say Bem-Yoda, is it like 2 different names?

Bem: Bem is my first name, Yoda is my surname

AMN: so do you get the star wars Joke, a lot?

Bem: Too much. People just call me Yoda, A lot of people just call me Yoda

AMN: Are you wise then?

Bem: well, I hope so. If I was foolish I don’t think I would be sitting here, there’s a reason why you are talking to me, you know.

AMN: yeah…because you have to be wise to do some good music right?

Bem: (In a laugh)

AMN: I mean, I don’t mean banging music, like club banging music you know?

Bem: Well club banging music, some of it is not exactly bad and here’s what I mean.
So there’s this thing where we categorise a certain genre as good music and the music they play in the club is bad music. I don’t see it like that, I see it as different genres of music so there’s good music everywhere. There’s some cub music that it good and there’s the ones that are just literally horrible. Yeah, I don’t go to clubs and it’s not like I’m trying to promote club music but I just feel like one of the issues is us in Nigeria, we’ve made that a thing, so we’ve made all the body shaking music, the music and so everything else is alternative. But in other places, everybody has an audience, it’s not about good music and bad music, every genre has an audience.

ANM: Oh wow, Yoda!

Bem: (Has a laugh) that just sounded wise didn’t it?

AMN: It sounded so enlightened. You just released an album, how is that going?

Bem: Err, its going well, yeah! It’s going well, I tunes is giving me issues but it’s going well, people are having issues buying on iTunes but the feedback has been great.

AMN: when I had a look at your album launch, you had a silent listening party?

Bem: Ok, Yeah it was, and it wasn’t a party, I wouldn’t call it a party. It was just an album listening and I didn’t want to do the regular stuff you know, people gather, you play music, they listen, people talk about it, comment, ask questions but I just thought that for the kind of music it is, I don’t trust Nigerians to pay attention that closely especially when they are in a room full of people and everybody has access to everybody else.
So they are listening, but they are distracted and because of what I was saying, I wanted to have their attention. Secondly I wanted to tell the story on 2 levels, so the music was one and the pictures were another so it was like a two layered storytelling so you are listening to music and you are looking at an image that represents it and it just makes a stronger connection. Not everybody listens to music the same way, some are listening and get lost, they follow what the writer is saying, they can follow the story some other people don’t, so the visual aspect made it stronger.
There are people that came there and cried because they were listening to something and then they were seeing an image that’s even made it all stronger.
So there were all of these people, but the headphones are noise cancellation headphones so it’s like you are there by yourself.  So it was a good different experience.

AMN: Would you be doing the same in Abuja?
Bem: we want to, but then the logistic of putting that together, we are still trying to work out. On one hand, it was an album listening and on the other, we sold images. And that’s how we were able to cover the costs. But then the art market in Abuja is not as…you know, we’ve gone round, we’ve had meetings, met with galleries and its seeming like it might be trickier to pull off here than in Lagos.

AMN: So, Stark is the name of the album. I don’t know why you put yourself in these situations because now we are asking is it game of thrones stark? Stark like naked? And I see you’ve had to answer it a few time but still just tell us.

Bem: Stark so it wasn’t a thing where I had this album name and then I went to write music to fit into it. It just was, I have these collection of songs, what’s the best way to represent it? What’s this one word that literally explains where my mind is? And basically the songs are very bare in terms of things that I’m talking about. I’m talking about things that we generally don’t talk about in music. There’s a song there that was inspired by the situation in northern Nigeria where children are getting killed called ‘child ‘ there’s renegade soldier that talks about Nigeria, there’s complicated that talks about how complicated life is, how much we do not have control over so much, you know. Something can happen that changes your life entirely and you can’t do anything to stop it, so a lot of it is heavy. You know how there’s no sugar coating, how something is undressed. It’s as it is, its stark naked…

AMN: *wink wink* (laughing pause) I’m sorry just carry on.

Bem: shame on you! (to me) It’s bare and that’s why some people listen to stuff and cry. The connection and the stuff that I write about is raw. So basically that’s what it is. I wrote about all sorts of things, from God, to life, Nigeria to wars, conflict.

To Be Continued...

Here's the captivating video for "I Told You"

Friday, 21 July 2017

'Oya' : The Boy Band Comeback

There’s a thing to be said about boy bands in Nigeria, we are lacking them! But this isn’t where I’m heading, instead of having to complain about the lack of variety in the Nigerian music industry, I’m genuinely pleased to not ask, “Where are all the boy bands in Nigeria?”

The Isomers have remained a stand out crew from day 1! (I think) Choosing to go the alternative route in the musical course yet churning out good material that keep you wanting more.

I remember the first time I had a listen to them, I was impressed but you see, there’s something to be said about a great song with depth, attitude and fluidity while backing it up with a kick ass video.

‘Oya’ by the Isomers is just that tilt of awesome you would need to make you say “awww”

It’s a break free song, it’s testing your limits and throwing out the net without knowing if there’s any fish to catch, it follows the phrase "you've got to risk it to get the biscuit"

It’s almost a dare this one, like you are being challenged to dare yourself, dare yourself to do that thing you probably always wanted to do but decided to play safe, however, it (the song) strongly indicates that even after taking that bold step, its not necessarily all  smooth sailing ahead.

So in all simplicity, its an inspiring piece that did a nice job of showing some parts of the country’s capital city .

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ogecha is 'Intentionally Woman'

After the song ‘Intentionally Woman’ came out, it took me a few days to listen to it. Not because I had heard something damaging about it but because I was stuck in the euphoria of ‘Dumimaja’ Ogecha’s previous hit song. I didn’t want to listen to something new that might sway me from the music of one of the happiest people I had ever had a chance to converse with.

Regardless, I had a listen. Oh boy was I swayed! I immediately felt the need for me to stand up to my feet at attention and give a salute like I would an anthem, till the music was done playing. Absolutely remarkable I thought.

I believe that one of the greatest gifts a musical artist has been given, is the ability to create something their audience aren’t expecting but in a way need, so it’s almost serendipity once the audience listens to the musical creation speaking to their needs.

Basically, ‘Intentionally woman’ is a simple charge, or call to arms if you will for women and just everyone  who has the good sense to understand the depth of the music really.

The intimate beginning of the music and her voice doesn’t prepare you for the fullness of her singing that comes through at the bridge and chorus that just comes out so unexpectedly boisterous and then it filters back to that intimate beginning.

A rhythmic showstopper, the instrumentation is something to be commended as it just opens up like a flower, almost has you feeling like your ears are in a caress.

It sings thus “takes only one step to be who you want to be and shine…shine, intentionally woman”

It’s a conscious call for all to choose their own path, it speaks on the tough nature of existing in a world where women haven’t been given so much but it doesn't come off as a sad, pity us piece or even an overly angry feminist piece. it comes off as a ray of sunshine, that initial spark of strength.
It’s a simple word to the wise woman to come through all the hurt, pain, bitterness, anger and such and be who she is meant to be for herself.

Intentionally Happy, Intentionally human and intentionally woman. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

A'Rese : More than the Voice

After I was done listening  to A’Rese’s 'Uwe No', I though to myself “ well, I’ve got to have this played at my wedding ceremony”

It just had this happy go lucky feel to it that appealed to your happy side and you maybe weren’t sure that you had started smiling. And its not just her enthralling voice that picks at you, its the soul you can feel in the music of the song.

Coming off of as the winner of the first edition of the voice Nigeria, I imagine it was probably something of a pressure to come up with a sound that both captured herself as a musical person and her audience that had grown to love her rather alternative style, voice and choice of songs.
But she did amazing, staying true to herself, now even if for the life of me, I don’t know what 'Uwe No' means but dear lord it’s a pleasure to listen to.

The song on its own takes a very engaging narrative arc that speaks to the simplicity of the human heart once its taken a bow to love, her amazing voice is not the only thing you get to enjoy in this amazing video and song, You have the pleasure of engaging Ladipoe’s lyrical awesome-sauce-ness.
His verse was basically the cherry and icing on a cake that is guaranteed to hit every of your nerve endings.

“ The story of how we fell in love, I’ll save the speech for my reception.”

You’ll have to listen to get it.

Monday, 10 July 2017

WurlD: Show You Off

Perhaps it was the delicate nature of determined softness that came with the trumpet’s blow, or the highlife-esque feel that came with the beat or maybe it was the quintessential voice of someone who became his words as he sang, a voice that could sing you to sweet dreams at any point of the day, perhaps it was the rhythm that had me swaying mindlessly and forgetting the noise that was life in the restaurant I was sat.

Show you off, transported me to my happy place, where all is right with the world and romance isn’t dead and chivalry hasn’t taken a back seat to the undesirable nonsense we are forced to cope with.(I digress) 
This guaranteed playlist repeat is a singular confirmation of a lover’s reassurance to his beloved. His utmost purpose to ‘show her off’ as the song implies.

Its not necessarily all the words that get you happy and appreciated, but it’s the way they are said. That almost intoxicating croon that just absolutely does your head in and commands you not just to listen, but to pay attention to this heart moving number.
Making you slightly poetic for the 4 minutes and 3 seconds it plays out for, unless you decide like me, to play it again.

Wurld's collaboration with Shizzi X Walshy fire was (If i do say so myself) Fire! 

It would seem there's a lot this Lagos born singing sensation has to offer us yet.