27 Mar Review – Bri’s Lounge by Dami Oniru
I first heard about Dami Oniru through Jinmi Abduls who used to feature and produce for her quite often. Her voice stuck out to me when I first heard it and so, being the person I am, I kept her on the watchlist. So my interest was very well piqued when news of her (very well publicized) project began to break. I copped Bri’s Lounge and cleared my schedule to give it the reverent listens it deserved and I wasn’t let down at all.
The project kicks off with Higher, a soft and somber gospel-sounding introduction to Dami Oniru. The song is acappella, with a swath of deep rich vocals providing the foundation for her warm voice to take centre stage, along with angelic harmonies that fill the song up.
The reverie is interrupted by the hard-hitting kicks that usher Alive in. Dami Oniru sings solemnly about the desire to come alive over a smooth guitar-led instrumental (we can’t ignore the sliding 808 basses that producer Remy Baggins is known for). The second verse has Dami practically rapping and the flow is wonderful. This is a low-key gospel song and it works perfectly, showing her songwriting prowess right away.
Ready is up next and it switches things up in a direction I can’t say I was expecting. The track is RnB but it leans towards a trap vibe and the delivery on the track comes just as hard. I love the little Travis Scott-esque ad-libs echoing in the background of the track.
See changes direction again and now we’re in the realm of Afrobeat energy. Dami Oniru‘s voice is perfect for stuff like this, her melodies are catchy and her lyrics stick. Remy Baggins steps up from his producing chair to feature on this track and the combination is lethal. I couldn’t help but listen to this track over and over again.
Up takes us back to old-school RnB vibes with the instruments and the delivery matches it, down to the harmonized bah-doos before the hook waltzes in. The song is soft, sweet and complete in the way it captures the vibe I think it was aiming for. Even in this track, you can’t escape Remy‘s 808s (not that you would even want to).
Runnin’ is all about the emotion and the story of the song, so the instrumental takes a back seat and lets Dami rise to the fore, showing us more of her affective singing and relatable songwriting.
To close us out we get a stripped version of Higher. The song was already quite bare, with it being acappella, so for this, they take out the backing vocals (which I suspect are also courtesy of Remy Baggins). Personally, I’m not sure I enjoy this version as much as the other. While it does allow us here everything Dami did vocally, I feel like it doesn’t sound as complete as the first. If it were up to me, I would have put this one first and then let the fuller version close us out, so the listener is like “Wow, this is what that evolves into.”
TL;DR: Bri’s Lounge does what a debut project is supposed to. After a series of singles, features, and a hiatus, it reintroduces us to Dami Oniru and her evolving sound. It puts her relatable songwriting and relaxing, emotive singing on display; demonstrating the skills of a talented RnB artiste. And a versatile one at that, as she dishes out tastes of various flavors of the genre. The project is a testament to the power of synergy and collaboration. Remy Baggins outdoes himself with all his contributions on the project, from the co-writing and perfect production, to his stellar feature and additional vocals. While I feel like I lost Dami’s voice a little in some places, the engineering is clean and full. Left to me, the only things I would change would be to swap the positions of the two Highers, ending the EP on the fuller one. I have said it to anyone who would listen that Remy Baggins is a musical genius. After this project, I would tell those people to also keep their ears peeled for Dami Oniru. There’s no place to go but up, for her. Listen to the project below and let me know how high you see her soaring.
Favorite Tracks: See & Alive
Least Favorite Track: Higher (Stripped)