It wasn’t him, it was I, I didn’t plan for this interview. I won’t lie, I was sceptical about his guy. This Odunsi guy everywhere now, was he real ? Was he one of the conscious ones that escaped and stilled maintained their aim without a single fault forgotten. With the new age mediums, I watched him rise over the course of a few months on my TL.
He knew a few of the people I knew but I never knew him.
Yet I saw him rise, my respect grew. Not for his art yet but his general idea of coming up as a flower that made it in our concrete third world.
Respect cause he is the new age. He is our own contribution to the change as are other young Africans around Africa reaching for something more out of the concrete. It was then I had a draw to him, this came to me a few days after he dropped his latest single “strange”, this was after I watched his debut work, a complete collection of “cool shower music” which he crowned “Afro-fusion” as his style. ( I’d like to add, as I wrote this all, Mr- Eazi plays on beat radio 1 on Apple Music. Mr – Eazi one of the new era kids that made it in a time when African music is easily appreciated in the world as a sound.)
I got more obsessed, I felt he hid behind his cool music a man with a great plan no one has yet to hear him say, I want to be the one to listen.
On this day, we conversed on Twitter via DM.
(I must add he was incredibly humble to follow me back.)
It wasn’t meant to be an interview, it was just me being curios but his words sparked my notifications which I needed to share, I needed to show this to the world.
Now begins the back and forth conversation of myself and Odunsi transcribed for Lucid Lemons.
(We started with pleasantries, for I, dumb me had messaged Odunsi for me a few days earlier and didn’t know he had replied, I’ll say his “do you have to say anything or ?” was the message that made me snap and take the opportunity to pick his mind.)
Adedayo Laketu for Lucid Lemons: I don’t really have any direction or aim but more of what we both stand for as new age individuals, dreaming, breaking boundaries and empowering the kids.
Odunsi : Bless my g, I see you. Basically just trying to create our own space and at the same time still representing where I’m from nonetheless; which is certainly the most important
AL : I understand the value. The importance of that.
Odunsi : We all need each other and we also need to bring our hearts closer to the roots. The roots= reality The roots= situation , Reality= 80% , poverty 70% illiterate. So we have to use the resources we have to reach a larger portion with a message of freshness.
AL : I have this to say tho. The essence of calling yourself Afro-fusion, doesn’t it still place a segment on your art. I have this view of the fact that as Africans we have to always say we’re Africans in our essence but aren’t we African nonetheless.
Your music is fusion to me, not Afro.
Don’t get me wrong. I respect the value.
But not the label. The identity of the new age to me is not our skin but our value:
We are black and African and beautiful nonetheless. We are fighting not to be trapped by that. And I feel by the essence of your music, the vibes. It shouldn’t have a margin. To the white to the black, it’s your fusion. But yes, the core is the story, who you are and your roots which is already evident as you are that vessel to channel it.
Odunsi : “Conscious Art” doesn’t mean talking about “conscious” stuff. It means deliberate attention to detail
AL : I understand that.
Still, the story is what the conscience thrives on. The art value is only a mirror. A mirror of what you are.
Odunsi : Yeah I feel you. The “Afro” actually represents the element of where I am from and what my soul is plugged to, Meaning that that’s actually the space through which I am seeing. I grew up listening to Neo soul and RnB, From my room, in Nigeria, Africa. My accent is moulded by my mother tongue, which is Nigerian. Every other thing is an external influence that I fell in love with through certain exposure. And I want to share that exposure and blend it with my roots, That’s why it’s called Afro-Fusion, It’s not a genre, It’s a style.
At this point, I ask him if I can turn this into an interview. Hearing him pour out so much, he was open with the zeal to change things, the allure was of someone who behind everything knew he had been given an opportunity to become something more.
He replies simply saying “Just don’t ask me them cliche questions I beg. There’s more to me than who I’d like to work with and whether I’m in a relationship.”
Odunsi : I am very conscious of what I want my identity to be, a lot of people are to. They want to Identify as African, they want to Identify as black, they don’t feel like it’s a label, they feel like it’s an identity and that’s why I speak my native tongue in my music.
Because I feel like that’s my power, that’s my identity. But at the end of the day, It’s interpreted into vibes, which is a universal language. Even if you don’t understand, It’s refreshing all the same.
AL : The weird thing is, I love your vibes but I’ll like to hear this side I’m talking to right now on a song.
Odunsi : That’s the thing people need to understand (laugh smiley), It is all in the music. You don’t force a vibe, every detail, every thing I put in my beats, writing technique, It’s all intentional, It’s just designed in a way that. The more you actually know, the more knowledge you have, the more you read into it, the less knowledge you want to have, or feel.
The kind of music I’m making isn’t even new, It was actually around in pre “afrobeats” time (what they call it now). Only that the reasons why they did it then, Is different from why I’m doing it now. Then, they did it because the country is a third world country and music mystery (especially software music) was just growing. There weren’t music producers, so they had to rip foreign beats and add be themselves on the beats. Mind you, this was just shorty after heavy highlife era, so imagine how fresh it sounded then ( smiles ). We had people like Wale Turner, The Remedies, Seyi Sodinmu etc. Doing what we call “Afro-Fusion” now, I just revisited the style on a more conscious level, And the fact that I have more access/information/space, speeds up the technique and mastery. Also, because of how monotonous music has been for the last two years, it would sound fresher for sure.
So all these things come to place. It’s all intentional. You don’t ever force things. Let them come. I’ve done my homework and I am learning every day. Let’s all just keep on pushing and rooting for each other
AL :That’s the value of your consciousnesses ? Reinterpreting the history of our music ?
Odunsi : The value of my consciousness is recreating power to experiment. At the same time, touching a large number of people without demographic barriers
AL : What’s your take on the new age then ? The kids ? What do you think they can grow to become ? The feel they’ve created all around them ?
Can Africa become a self-sustained culture of music with the world wanting in on us, we’ve seen them move on Davido and the rest ?
Odunsi : Thanks to Davido and Wizkid, they just opened the door. We haven’t even started, we haven’t even grown enough confidence. What we are going to do, We wouldn’t need to world to be accepting us by the time we reach the level we want. “The new age” is relative, If the new age represents a portion of Nigerian youth with Internet access and modern exposure, well I feel that there would be a new space and environment created trough music literature and socialization. As for a newer generation of creators as a whole, I think our main aim is to bridge the class Gap, because a lot of what we want to achieve still depends on the situation of our country. As for “The Kids”, “Kids” should be more of a mental state than a time frame, Should this mean that every four-five years there should be a total shift of foundation ? No. I feel like “New Age” should have nothing to do with the fact that we are young and fresh for a minute. It should just stand for a constant effort to keep everyone on their toes, majority of Nigerians don’t even have access to education Or good water, talk less of understand what Kendrick Lamar is trying to tell them in “ADHD”. So I believe it’s a growing process, Like when you’re trying to fill a cup with liquid, you have to pour it, You can’t lift and drop it.
And Nigeria is even the so-called Giant. Let’s not even go to Somalia and other countries with very fragile situations of information access. So if we are talking about a “New Age” we can’t just be talking about one side of the pie. Which is why I make the music I make. I have actually sat down and thought deeper than the level I was on last year. You can have a motive and your music side by side. Any money I make I’m always going to invest in developing the freelance culture in Lagos first. Because that’s my direct environment. We need more things to do than clubbing. That’s when people will actually appreciate other kinds of sounds and sub-cultures.
AL : On a lighter note, What does the engine in your name mean ?
Odunsi : I got it in high school, I’d have classes during the day then I’d make beats at night till like 5, then wake up and 6:30.
On the note, it ended.
Now you be the judge, who is Odunsi really ?