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Interviews

Open Up with Muyiwà Akhigbe

Muyiwa for LL
If you’ve ever met a man describe himself as having many sides, all unique ingredients that makes all sides of him unique is what drives him towards whatever he believes in. A man who believes in the power of passion, and it’s consuming force, a fuel that keeps burning in him, you’ll never undermine this man, rather never undermine him and his passion.
You’ll never forget he is Muyiwà Akhigbe.
Muyiwà calls himself a man of Passion, a secret ingredient behind every his  endeavors from being a singer/songwriter/composer to being an art director and designer. That’s a lot but he seems to balance it well, a new wave that’s become a normal phenomenon in our generation, the ability to balance more than one act, dream, talent , or idea. Africans seem to thrive when they act on being more, it’s more of an evolution we’ve had to work with cause we’re a third world society and  we’ve always had to do it all on our own so it’s only natural we evolve on this.
It’s sometimes hard but Muyiwà says it’s not so difficult placing both feet firmly within these areas, mostly because all these areas are constituents that make up the embodiment called art. He used to practice photography and that exposed him to a lot of concepts and ideologies as far as art is concerned. Music is a gift which Muyiwà is very grateful to God for and graphic art as well, but he says that came as a result of necessity. He won’t say much about the details leading to that but he says it was a series of events that led to his decision to take that up art which he’s thankful for. He enjoys designing as well as I enjoy making music, a balance between both of them. Finding minds who can understand there’s a balance between making art and creating art, those are the special fillers I live for.
Muyiwa-Design
Muyiwà has his soul in this and I could feel it as our conversation went forward, his answers were very direct and thought of, he knew what he wanted and he really goes for it with a pride of someone who knows he’s gonna achieve it all and nothing can hold him back.
The music started about 3 going to 4 years ago. For him, one of many things he’d noticed was that the more he indulged in it, the more revelation he was exposed to. He’s never played any musical instrument, “maybe apart from Shekere so I can’t say many of my eureka moments were when I was playing I could come up with a tune at the oddest periods, sometimes in a bus on my way to work or even while playing football, yeah I do that also.” With creative processes that come naturally, most of his records take time to develop with each proceeding from songwriting, to creating the sound emit a natural flow that reveals its self to him at every step.
When he designs in terms of how he relates with it, unlike music he does a little bit of brainstorming to grasp the ideas and create ways of implementing them in whatever project he’s working on. “As much as I would love to take my time and maybe go with the flow, it’s necessary to work with time and that makes it even more tasking.”

He brings all this together calling it a “big picture”, all are interconnected somewhat speaking together “Like I said earlier, these areas are all part of something bigger, surely you must have noticed how quite a number of people who are in the music industry don’t find it hard to make a mark in the movie scene. It’s a mystery, we might not know how it works but we feel the beautiful effect of it. Take the Ecosystem for example, different animals with different habitats, they all coexist, interrelate and still obey the laws of the food chain. The water cycle too. We can see the effect of the mysteries, same as art and how the major disciplines within it blend. It’s such a beautiful mystery!”
When he goes into burst like this I watch him as an audience let him take stage for the world to see what lies in his beautiful mystery of a mind, there I was asking questions letting the revelations come to me this time.
“Passion can be generated by anybody, it is one of the things that was freely given to us as human beings. So powerful yet, if it’s not nurtured properly, it’ll make one’s effort prove futile.”, it’s not defined by the young creative narrative, the passion is as much as a drive a the tools of living as a conscious mind with a goal. Skills are very important in nurturing ones passion, he says. He gives an example of his passion for graphic design, knowing he couldn’t nurture that passion without acquiring certain skills and also being able to work with the necessary tools he needed to indulge in graphic design. He got a laptop, he got Adobe Photoshop, got someone to put him through on the basics and then allowed his passion/drive to take over which made him practice day and night consistently until he became confident of his work and people began making good comments.
If he stopped there won’t be growth, if we stop trying to change Africa mid way Africa would never change. We need to keep on focusing on the vision without giving up, I picked that up. “So as young creatives with passion for different sectors, we should give ourselves into the rigors of skill acquisition and tool management in order to nurture our passion properly so it can yield.”
With a dream to touch as many lives positively with the works of his hand, Olma Records seems to be the path he’s take to do this sonically at least.
Olma Records, “my baby” he calls it. His legacy project, one he says will speak for him even when he’s no more. “My pride and joy!” Olma Records is explained as an advancement strategy, as he calls it, one that’ll stand for the reigns of good music starting from and within our country Nigeria to the external world. Olma Records is an army of dedicated and artistic minds that’ll set the standard for other to follow and exceed as far as music is concerned, Olma Records is something we only dreamed of for the future of Nigerian Music scene. “If we wanna change how people from other continents perceive our music, then we must make the change from within. In Olma Records, we do not take for granted the African elements, the bedrock and identity of our cause. Whatever we do, whatever music we put out be in Jazz inclined or soul inclined, the African element has to be evident. In terms of songwriting, we go beyond the surface. You’d find our records drilling dip into the core of your heart as you listen. This is what sets us apart, the fact that we take our content with high level sensitivity.”
They have a goal is to make timeless music. That’s what we’ve always lacked, the will to make sounds that go beyond he 4 hours you spend at the night club, or for your regular vibes, music to Muyiwà should be created to outlive our generation as well as the next.
Olma seems to be a burning desire by Muyiwà to take a stand to improve the cause and the reigns of heartfelt music in Nigeria. African induced soul music and African induced Jazz as our core genres are a primary goals they’ve established with their line up so far, with minds like Joyce Olong, and her single “Shekels”, or Muyiwà own personal catalogue of good music. We came to a detour when the topic of “New Age” came to question, “The culture lies within its message. We do our best to ensure that all our content are made with intent to pass across a message. That’s the culture we’ve imbibed as a company and also for me as a creative whether it’s art or music. Whenever I hear new age, I’m always excited cause never has there been a conscious movement welling from the young creatives towards the advancement of the Africa as a whole. I find it therapeutic to be alive in this age and time. This just shows that there’s power in the cause and with numbers, there’ll be changes. It’s great, very great.” I was happy we both grasped something that seems to bring everyone in the “new age” together, a common understanding of what we have ahead as one continent trying to reshape the future of our broken past.
Muyiwa-LL
Life man, life in Africa is so different and I feel the entire generation can feel this new form in the air, their souls are calling for the change we’re all uniformed and involved in, the different things happening from both the creative , innovative, tech or culture is affecting us all in one way or the other. Muyiwà is someone who thinks deeply about this, with his own words he explains this, “Life is an unending phenomenon, and it’s relative to each person who’s alive. It is everything. How we are able to do everything as human beings is life. The expressions we make, the emotions we feel. That’s life. My music portrays life as I know it. I sing about the good, the bad, the happy and the sad, young and the old, and also stories untold. My music stands for life as a whole. As a creative person, I feel quite a number of young creatives place a limit on themselves, maybe because of the status quo or the things they’ve heard. We all need to be more daring when it comes to our art and craft. The “norm” is just a series of like events, but that’s it. It is subject to change. This is a major challenge in the industry today. I tell people, if you’re true to your music, I mean genuinely true to it, you won’t fight for acceptance.
Like I said, we create some of these challenges for ourselves but I know things are getting better now. From the look of things, acceptance isn’t monopolized anymore as long as your music is good.”
Before we ended, he spoke to me about PGM and his role as artist who scores music.
For PGM, “The PGM initiative was originally a pet project of mine, it stands for Push Good Music. It is a platform for Nigerian artistes who are still on their way to make the big scene in the industry to express themselves. The aim is to push good music so that is the utmost criterion during the selecting process of records to be used. We started working on the first edition in 2015 and we released it early this year. We hope to make it a yearly ritual though.
It’ll be nice to have people look forward to the subsequent editions as time goes on.”
While scoring moves was a bit to the left,
“Film scoring is one of the most captivating aspects of filming in the sense that the emotional responsibility of every scene rests on it. Every symphony that makes up an entire movie score has within them elements that’ll cause a reaction that eventually stirs up emotions in the hearts of the viewers so it demands all the senses when composing with respect to the scenery.”
Muyiwa worked in scoring the film  The Happyness Limited, a wonderful movie by Imoh Umoren. He won’t take full credit for the score cause it wasn’t a solo effort. In the nearest future, I’d be going public with my first film scoring which is probably “Spectrum”, a combination of three symphonies (but one track), with well selected instruments and chords to he plans to get you in an emotional state. And being the nice people we are at Lucid Lemons we got entitled to a preview.Muyiwa-Design
Muyiwà is a fighter, he’s a soulful being who wants to impact the world from Africa with his music and art, he clings to change and a new form of thinking.
There’s a general fear across dreamers in Africa but his new age mind seems to conquer this, “My dreams will come true irrespective of the geographical location. I’m more of a “thermostat” kinda person who would change his environment to what he chooses rather than be a “thermometer” kinda person who is affected by the temperature of his environment. I’ve got what it takes coupled with the help of God so I know I’m gonna be alright.”

 

 

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Talk Talk with Ozzy B

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Talk Talk.

It’s been a long day, yet I have this article on my mind. Ozzy B a music creative from Nigeria, Africa and I had just concluded a lovely conversation which I’ve been excited to share. The reason for my excitement, I’m not quite sure. I had my comments about his recent body of work. I’ve been a follower of some sorts of his art, even if I wasn’t, I seemed to be surrounded by people who loved him cause of his debut work diary of a loner which they all collectively felt was an embodiment of their younger years fighting through the realities and depression of life’s obstacles and education. Years later he was more defined, more defined. He was what I feel he needed to be and we all had to accept that. This is the new age, after all, we need to accept the change of innovation. Nothing is defined, it’s a journey we are all embarking on as the generation dedicated to change the state of how we’re perceived by the world, this I’ve stated all again and I end with Ozzy B, another addition to this form of a new future with more expressions, more ideas, more diversity and change from Africa. The world will listen to his sound, to our voice, I’ve decided to share his mind.

“It’s been a good year. Things are moving. Dropped a project a few months back. So I’m just working on that at the moment. Thanking God for the progress and the Growth.”, he started off with. A dash of humbleness in his words, another mind consciously settled in his aura toward the world. He was warm and open to being questioned, confidence and calmness that comes from a mind who worked hard to be in his position and elated to share this to anyone who’s intrigued.”
Let’s begin.
suzie
Adedayo Laketu : What’s your progress ? What do you feel is the growth you’ve experienced ? The new wave, new age, new growth has come over the music scene as we are more expressive, the world is more attentive, we are more conscious, what’s your story and how do you fit into the new dimensions growing, coming from when you released your first tape “Diaries of a Loner” ?
Ozzy B : Sometimes I look back at the person I was a few years back and the person I am now. And it’s crazy how my mindset and my whole appearance changed. Yeah, your right. The world is more conscious and because of that. You need to supply the mass with music they can vibe and daydream about at the same time. There’s so much going on in the world now. So everyone is looking for something to balance their consciousness. Music. Movies. Women. Etc. I feel I just moved with the world. But maintained and worked on my natural elements mixed with the situations life tends to put you in. I worked on my craft while drawing on experiences and situations over the years and used it to create the person I am now. Progress. I feel I am in a much better place now. My music becomes more appreciated every day. I’m in a way better position to achieve the things I have set out to achieve. On my first project. I was experimenting on a basic level. Wanting the world to see my growth and know what I have to offer. Now I’m still experimenting , the only difference is I’m trying to surpass the previous formula I created.
AL : The world has moved, you have moved but what are you now ? Tell us. What’s the music you make now ? What’s matured in your creativity, the relevance you pursue behind the stories, visions , daydreams you relay. We have seen the new age grow so rapidly but the motion can get lost in the vastness of new information, sound, and ideas we’re being presented with every day.
As an artist, you are the cultural direction, the tool we use to listen to what our growth represents, how do you invade this Internet age with your voice, what is the progress you want your voice to interpret in their mind.
 I was curious, there’s a flare that came for his words and I dug in more, his answers ever so inspiring.
Ozzy B : I relate my vision to the world. And no matter how imaginative my mind is. I always relay it to my present reality. I’m on a path to get to the highest stage of music. And to let the World know I came from Nigeria. Situations. Women. Lost friends. Allow me make the music I make now. The beauty of creativity is letting emotions play a part in your creativity. Sometimes it can be dangerous but if you give your creativity the right doses of your reality and let your mind combine them into whatever it becomes. It’s up to you transform it into art. That can be music. That can be pictures. Art. Anything. We are in a digital age. There is endless information. A gift and a curse. You pick what you need to know. You further what you think you need to learn. When I started making music. It was about everything else. The world wanted. I studied the world. I studied humans. At the end of the day. No matter how different you are. It’s all the same thing. White. Black. Christian. Muslim. Gothic. Ivy League. We all love. We all hate. We all have emotions. We all daydream. We all aspire. Music allows you speak to someone in more ways than one. No matter the message you try to convey when he or she listens they’re gonna get what they want from the song regardless. You can make a song about trying to stop violence and someone can listen to the song cause it takes them to the world where they want to destroy everything. The same song can be used by someone to forget their problems. I feel the full song is not the message, it’s each melody and chord, each note you hit. The full song is a general perception. That’s the trend. That’s what gets the people’s attention.
They listen and follow you and believe in you ? I feel it’s because your music does something for them. Personally. A one hit wonder and an artist with a fan base. The connection which they both have is very different. So whatever they get from listening to your music. Is an interpretation of their mind.
In the past two years, my songwriting has become more alternative. I might sing about dragons and pirates, someone out there would relate to me speaking about dragons in their own reality. To them, the dragons might be his boss at work. It might be his wife’s mom. It might be the girls in her school making fun of her.
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(There’s a lot of constructs you’ve laid out, let’s break into them.)
AL : What inspired your growth through the world, as we have minds still stuck in a monochrome wavelength, you’ve grown, you understand you’ve grown both as time, an artist and your life, what subjects made you realised the more occurring in your growth, yes more messages are relayed to you, but what snapped your focus into these things after understanding the world you studied around ?
Ozzy B : Personally. I think everyone is wired. We are all wired. Not saying being wired is a bad thing. But we’ve all been programmed in a different and same way at the sane time. Coming from a third world country. And being raised on the mainland. It was like a slave dreaming of going to the promised land. Don’t get me wrong. I come from a good family. In terms of my dreams, it was like being a slave. A Nigerian kid wanting to do something different from the norms. It takes a lot to break out of the norm. It’s something you fight for. What made me realize the growth was when I looked at my surroundings. I couldn’t relate mentally with a lot of people. I was surrounded by negativity so I avoided people. At first I thought I had a problem. But later on when I met other people I realized it was growth. Negativity was a big factor in my growth. All my life I was raised around positivity, till I went fully in the world, exposed myself to new people and now I can’t blame them or point fingers and say their negative people, but they had negative vibes. And I connect mainly on vibes. Being a creative in a room full of people who are concerned or live in the world. Allowed me grow. Cause the only way I could escape was in my head. At the same time. These same people look down on you. A negative vibe can hamper things. It’s essential to stay away from it. I stayed around people like that for some time. When I had learn what I needed I disconnected. Another thing was life. When I say life. No matter how much I want to fly and be in the mountains with women. Life is waiting for you, In the form of women, bills, school work, your job etc. So it’s like an alien having to adjust to the ways of humans. It’s life bro. It affected me sometimes. Distracted me. But it’s important to use it as motivation. In my music. All I’ve ever wanted is to let people understand where I’m trying to go.
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The main event, as dived into his new body of work Suzie’s funeral, his words.
“With Suzie’s Funeral. My primary message to the world was to create. Create what you feel is right and at the same time create what the world will appreciate. Suzie’s Funeral is a collection of world vibes but each vibe has its own story. I see music the same way I see a film. It’s an endless space of creation. Suzie was a girl who accompanied me on the journey to the valley. The valley is the land of the perfect sounds. The final destination you reach when you have created the perfect sound. On our way to the valley we encounter so many things and struggles and we both them come to a realization. For us to make it there. Something has to give. Suzie ends up taking her own life , so I can reach the valley. Suzie is a combination of everything. The woman I love. My friends. Emotions. Lust. Everything and for me to get the destination, I had to kill off all those things. Hence : Suzie’s Funeral
With that, I just laid back and let him have the floor, he certainly wasn’t done with airing our his thoughts.

He shared this,
“The western world plays a great part in our creative sphere. If not for the tv shows or things we saw , we won’t have been able to stand out and create our own. I believe Africa will soon be on the top of creativity. I feel we are blessed because most of us have lived in a third world view and have been influenced by the western world. The combination gives an element of creation that no other continent can have. The younger ones have to keep pushing. We will break the gates. So the younger ones can fill up the building when we enter. You have to ask yourself. Am I doing this to be the best , am I doing this to change things. Am I doing this for fame? Am I doing this for money? Being a creative in a third world country has its limits. It’s a sector that is now being appreciated and is slowly profitable. If the kids are getting into this. They have to know What they’re getting into. They have to know it’s a cause. Like how MLK fought for black rights. We are fighting for the creative side of the country. Another thing , in as much we emulate the western world. The only way to be truly noticed is by showing your culture. We were educated by the white man. But there are millions of other people equally creating too. So what makes you special, Your culture makes you special. Lagos makes you special. Those notices when the generator spoilt and your stuck outside waiting for power. You begin to create as you look up at the night.”
You can make a song about trying to stop violence and someone can listen to the song cause it takes them to a world where they want to destroy everything. The same song can be used by someone to forget their problems. I feel the full song is not the message, it’s each melody and chord, each note you hit.
As we got to a close, I asked what I felt was probably an elephant in the room, “Where are the Monster Boys ?”
To which he responded,
“The Monster Boys never left. We just grew. Each of us. In our own way. We all set out on different journeys to improve our craft and that is what you are seeing now. We stand for every single creative in Africa. Who feels they can’t do it because of their surrounding. We stand for those who just want to create. We stand for those with visions outside the mind and box.”
It has been a wave this year, as we all grow, everyone finding his voice and path. We seem to all know what our direction is and how we must fight to get our world shared with the world regardless of how hard our third world difficulties are. Ozzy B, who was recently verified on Twitter shows this in every form with his growth as an individual and artist and the essence of what makes his craft unique and not in a limiting “African sound way” but in his own sound, a sound that could be perceived from any point of view, a sound that is worth of being called an art piece of music contributed by an African.
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