For being such an uplifting voice in a culture that gives more attention to music done with sparing thoughtfulness, Davina Oriakhi sets her talents free with a debut LP broodingly titled Love To A Mortal.
Accompanying the release of the LP was the tape’s full credits which she starts off with a short, detailed summary “The LP is an expression of a spiritual love journey: from finding love, to the realization of lust and deceptive emotions, temptation and relapse, to depression, forgiveness, then healing, mental and spiritual battles, to self-love and the road to self-discovery and acceptance, and the outer body feeling of love and joy….It’s a journey and each track represents each stop along the way”. I will describe this journey has a soul-searching one with every track uncovering newer depths. Davina is methodic; her austere creative process is premeditated, speaking to OkayAfrica “if it’s not a personal experience or story, if it’s not uplifting, if it doesn’t have a healthy message; I’m not putting it out. I do not make music about sweet nothings; every song I write has a profound meaning”.
Maybe Davina has been too critical in building up her artistry; since the release of her songs, Content (2014) & Mr Society (2015), she’s been fairly discreet on the music scene, however Love To A Mortal displays all the allure she’s been taking time to put together. The album is anchored by love, as she calmly sings “it’s not about you, it’s about love” on the hook to It’s All About Love. The song is about the essence of love, made over a wholesome beat with a piano medley layered by a soft drum pattern has the core of its instrumentation. Even when she sings over a lively beat on These Feelings; it’s still packed with a hidden message and it’s a cry for her not to be judged because she’s human like everyone else. Dammie Chordz provides a grand instrumentation and he helps create an up-tempo jazz number that channels the vibe of classic 20’s jazz music and it wouldn’t be out of place as a soundtrack in a movie set in that period. As much as she is a good vocalist, Davina is also writerly with her spoken word; Temptation | Relapse addresses addictions and it sees her asking arcane questions like “how can destruction feel so good”, “how long does it take for a corpse to realize the difference between sleep & death” and if you actually pay attention she immediately awakens biting introspection; a spell which she casts easily for most parts of the tape.
Earlier this year she shared a video of her baptism on Twitter and this LP delves into her faith; she seems unflinching with her faith in God and is bold enough to let the world know it, by the time Before the Silence ends, you are placed right in the centre of the gospel elements of the album. It’s a spoken word performance that takes you on an essential but much appreciated navel-gazing adventure, it also serves as the prelude to Silence (Father Have Mercy); a song that alludes her desire to constantly hear the voice of the God, it’s one of the songs that easily ascertains her resolute belief in God. WST [Good Fight] is one of those songs that might make a nonbeliever question their life choices. The beat transition about halfway into the song is crisp and if you blink you might miss it. She serenades over the beat recurring lyrics “there’s freedom in water, spirit and truth // keep up the good fight”.
Love to A Mortal finds Davina drawing upon her past, present and possibly her future. There’s a wealth of experiences within the 9 tracks, she scores big points for her substance, as she relates emotions like none other by digging deep into her feelings to create a great sonic experience without dumbing down her monkish approach. This LP is a grand study of a young, honest woman who is admittedly aware of her fears and struggles but she uses her craft(s) has a weapon to put up a good fight.