WATCH + LISTEN TO ‘WRONG FOR IT FT. NUBYA GARCIA’
|PRAISE FOR OBONGJAYAR|
“Delicately fuses futuristic hip-hop and electronic influences
with musical elements from his Nigerian upbringing”
“Mixing Afrobeat and electronics, Nigerian-born Londoner Steven Umoh
makes music befitting a self-styled ‘king’”
“Get to Know Obongjayar, Who Makes Otherworldly Spirituals for the Modern Soul”
“Obongjayar’s potential is limitless”
“A blacksmith of boundary-pushing sounds,
opening the floodgates, and separating himself from the flock”
“Infectious vocal delivery”
“Stong Afrobeat core”
Across its twelve tracks, he skillfully navigates through rich soundscapes and subcultures while navigating a wealth of personal and political topics. With time being a central theme of the album we find an artist reflecting on his journey so far, crafting multidimensional sounds that fall between the cracks of a multitude of genres.
Speaking about the album’s inception Obongjayar writes: “This album dives into the idea of opportunity and tries to explore what that means, what lies behind those doors, and asks if we’re ready for it. The pursuit of success, what happens when you achieve it, and what happens if you don’t? What does success mean? The head, the body, and the end of a dream. Opportunity is looking forward, and in that lies the question of time. What is your place in it? To know the future, or to fully be aware of your present, you need to analyse and understand your past. It’s an endless loop that continuously piles on itself.”
In the lead up to the release of the ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’, last week saw the release of an intimate session version of ‘I Wish It Was Me’ performed to Obongjayar’s family members in his family home. In the heartfelt clip, we see his sister, brother and mother react to a stripped-down rendition of that album track that demonstrates the carefree, warming sound their son/sibling has been perfecting since moving to London. We also get a glimpse of a recent trip to Nigeria in the visualiser of one of the highlights of the album, ‘Wrong For It’ featuring acclaimed London saxophonist Nubya Garcia.
Having garnered attention throughout 2021 by drip-feeding music in the shape of singles ‘Message In A Hammer’, ‘Try’, and last month’s ‘Tinko Tinko (Don’t Play Me For A Fool)’ as well as show-stopping collaborations with Little Simz on the track ‘Point and Kill‘, Pa Salieu on ‘Style & Fashion‘ and a full EP with influential Nigerian producer Sarz entitled ‘Sweetness‘ – it’s hard to believe that Obongjayar is only just releasing his full-length album. In the years that have passed since he released his first single, his music still defies easy categorization. His musical palette is expansive, with a nod to the rich musical textures of his Nigerian roots, he adds a multitude of influences and on Some Nights I Dream Of Doors his sound is more potent than ever. Recorded over 12 months with producer Barney Lister (and from J Rick on ‘All The Difference‘), he’s created an album that transcends its influence, creating an innovative and fresh body of work that is ready to define 2022.
Later this year, Obongjayar will take his incendiary live performance to stages across the UK and Europe, following on from his support of Little Simz’ tour that closed 2021. Tickets and more information can be found HERE.
Some Nights I Dream Of Doors by Obongjayar
via September Recordings
BUY / STREAM HERE
Message In A Hammer
Some Night I Dream Of Doors
Wrong For It (feat. Nubya Garcia)
My Life Can Change Today (interlude)
All The Difference
Tinko Tinko (Don’t Play Me For A Fool)
I Wish It Was Me
Emerging towards the end of 2016, Obongjayar has been called many things – a soul singer, future afrobeat, nu-jazz – but regardless of how he’s labelled, each release manages to build upon what came before. Real name Steven Umoh, his music is based on a part future hip hop, electronic part afrobeat sound, built around his raspy vocals and textured, percussive soundscapes. Across contributions to Richard Russell’s Everything Is Recorded project, to supporting King Krule, featuring on landmark recent records by Danny Brown, Giggs, Pa Salieu, Kojey Radical – as Obongjayar he continues to affirm his place in Africa’s thriving diaspora of creatives.