By: Olayinka Yomi-Joseph
Odunsi’s music is well on its way to being heard all over the world. His conscious effort to consistently channel his roots into his music is impressive.My first encounter with him was remarkable, simply because after a few minutes we met, he’d said:
“If anyone calls me underrated on social media; I’m going to block them.If you look at the lives of so called underrated people,you realise that they never break out of that to attain their legendary status. Look at Jay-Z and Beyonce; that’s how far i want music to get. I want to exceed their achievements.” It is those words that piqued my interest. In that moment, I realized I wasn’t talking to your average individual – I had to know more about this person.
At 20, he speaks with an admirable level of thoughtfulness,possessing both a bold and unique style and great energy. In conversation, he had a way of ensuring his thoughts and ideas were easily understood by the listener which made his words even more interesting to hear.Earlier this year, he introduced himself with the EP “Time of Our Lives” and it garnered massive attention. He had this to say about the EP around its time of release per DJIceberg
“Time of Our Lives is a manifestation of a dream I had a while ago about myself and my music. I have always wanted to discover myself in different ways; especially musically, and this project helped me do just that.”
Since the release of his EP, he has gotten more press & recognition, travelled for appearances at gigs and gotten featured on several songs. He tells RADR about how he is adapting to working with different artistes “I think I have discovered myself enough to bring a part of me to anything. It’s all been love really, everyone I have worked with has been understanding and cooperative.”
Odunsi is steadfast on evolving, buzzing with ideas and has a great perspective to life. He is a confident afro fusion artiste with a flair for enjoyable melodies. He is focused on winning through the inventiveness of the afro fusion genre and maintaining a strong connection to his roots. He is proud of his Nigerian-African heritage which has proven to be valuable in his journey to global recognition. Recently his latest song “Situationship” was in the top 10 most viral tracks on Spotify in America. “It makes me feel good. It’s crazy really, because sometimes I don’t understand how my music travels so much,” he tells RADR. Odunsi has been methodical with his efforts and had this to say about the song “I wanted to create something no one had from around here and at the same time could stand side by side with the best in terms of quality. Situationship was an intentional creation.”
Odunsi is slowly building a tribe with his music, this tribe cuts across people of different nationalities around the world who genuinely love his music. “My goal for the year was, if I could get just 50 people to listen to me and those 50 people knew my songs and loved it, then I was good, but things started getting bigger than I thought,” he told RADR. For someone so weary of attention, Odunsi is gradually moving toward it. “There’s this day that was even embarrassing ‘cos I don’t see myself as anything, I was just trying to see Suicide Squad at the cinema then after I bought my ticket one young boy just walked up to me like ‘shit! You’re Odunsi, I was just listening to your song. He started pulling my shirt out of excitement and wanted to take pictures. I was just there like ‘guy I no be anybody, abeg calm down. It was then I realised that you don’t know what you’re doing to someone by just releasing a jam that they can listen to,” he told RADR.
Odunsi only started making beats in high school and his musical career began in January 2016. “The plan was just to sing once and stop but when I heard my voice I was impressed, I decided to take it more seriously,” Odunsi told RADR. A minimalist of some sort; he alludes his efforts in music production as the reason for this: “The fact that I didn’t have enough space on my PC moulded me, so I learnt sound selection- that’s how I became a minimalist as a person; not just production wise – how I act, how I dress, things I think of, because I just realised that I wasn’t dying by not putting all those other things I wanted to add to beats and it was still working. For a long time I was battling, I used to have up to 3 melodies on songs; I would have a lot of great ideas and try to add it all into one beat, so it was just a clash of different things.”
During my chat with him, he exuded African pride and he showed he was not afraid to promote African content anywhere in the world. “I played Fuji music for some of my friends in the UK and they loved it. They couldn’t believe it, one of them was so dumbfounded he started googling stuff on Fuji; reading about it, it became an obsession for him. He knows more Fuji than me now, he knows about Fuji artistes, legends and the Fuji courses in America. They were like this doesn’t even sound normal – this pitch bending thing they are doing with their voice isn’t normal.” He added “they were freaking out literally because of Fuji music but here in Nigeria, we’ve become numb to it.”
Authentic in his approach to music making, he gave some insight on his view about originality in music when he tells RADR “Music is just a playground, you go to music schools and they teach people Beethoven’s theory or Mozart’s theory; but these guys were just doing their own thing – making music, they didn’t learn anyone’s theory, they did their own shit but you decided to study them. Mozart didn’t beg anybody to study him, he was playing around with his stuff and wrote his music but you decided to enclose him inside some glass case and worship him forever; that’s why there will never be another one (Mozart) because we’ve already said it ourselves.”
In an industry heavily plagued by piracy, Odunsi has successfully used music streaming platform SoundCloud to promote his music. Odunsi tells me about how he feels streaming as affected music as an art “It has given more power to the artistes, taken some away from the cooperates that have dictated trends for so long.” Then I ask him what the most exciting thing about the projects he was currently working on, he responds “That people think the current music I’ve put out is dope; that’s what I find exciting about the music I haven’t put out.”
Photos by Jimi Agboola
Styling: Henri Uduku