Afro soul artist Seyi released the remix of his hit single “LOVE ME JEJE” featuring American R&B sensation K. Michelle. The song which was previously released years back, was a monster hit and helped launch his career. The collaboration, which was released in Africa on May 30th this year (on iTunes, YouTube, MTV Base Africa, Trace Africa etc) and is set to debut in the us in August 2016, was produced and recorded in Atlanta, Georgia by SHIZZI (Magicfingers) and the video was also shot in Georgia by Sesan Ogunro of Film Factory.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Ghana, Joshua Amponsem, the AFRO SOUL artist Seyi described social media as a powerful too which is making African music break barriers into the global stream. His new collaboration and remix was released in Africa on MAY 30TH 2016 on iTunes, YouTube, MTV Base Africa, Trace Africa etc. Seyi said that these platforms and other social media are helping to extend the knowledge of African culture through music. “Africans, we love our music, we love our culture, and if you are able to have these platforms which encourage us to reach more people, then it helps us to change people positively,” he said. “For my music, a lot of my fans who knows this song (LOVE ME JEJE) are older. Bringing it back today, allows today’s generation to have the same quality African songs which promotes our culture and our good music, and also to have them on their phones through the various social media and music channels. The impact of these channels, iTunes, MTV Base Africa, Trace, etc have been huge for African music,” he added.
As one of the iconic musicians who mixes his African native languages with global language (English), Seyi stressed the importance of combining languages in music. Seyi demonstrated high passion for African culture and he mentioned that his music is also a platform to introduce his culture to the world. Seyi writes all of his songs, and is largely accredited with starting the trend of fusing native languages into music with predominantly English lyrics.
However, this practice of mixing language could have an impact on the market of his music. Seyi said that, “Singing with the local language makes us proud and makes our people happy but also English is now a basic language to most African countries and that encourages the geographical reception of our good music.” He further spoke on the international reception of his music with regards to language – “For the international audience, the first thing that attracts them is the melody not the language. Then after the melody, if they hear a familiar language then it feels comfortable. Although they would not understand everything perfectly, because of the little English there which is universal language, it helps them to have an overview of our music”. Additionally, the musician also highlighted that African music for about half a decade now is becoming a global favorite as compared to previous times and this has caused rise in the number of people who are always searching and downloading African music. Once they see a little bit of English in the music, it feels more welcoming to listen to. However, the Nigerian artist cautioned that in the quest to make African music universal, we should not erase our culture.
As a song which launched the career of Seyi, its remix could mean a new beginning for the artist. The 1990’s song, has been rebirthed with current music styles as it features American R&B star K. Michelle. According to Seyi, this is not a new beginning but an opportunity to strengthen the impact of the song. He said, the song is a universal song, with African origin, and the purpose of the remix with K.Michelle was to give it a wider reach so that Americans will be familiar with it. He said, “It is important to grow your music, you grow your audience, and you grow your audience. Collaborations with international standard artists are necessary to explore larger markets, and an opportunity to expose our culture to a broader audience.” He also said that Michelle loved the music, and she wanted to be part of it as a female R&B singer.
Seyi is also considered one of the pioneers of the new sound of the ever-growing Nigerian Music Industry. He started Goodlife Entertainment with his brother in 2001, with the vision to have his own platform to promote his music and label. He said “It was important for me to invest in my music because I believed in my talent. If you don’t invest in yourself, who will. It has been a win-win situation because not only am I being part of the pioneers of the new sounds of African Music but it has helped me to create, in the history of Nigerian music where other people have followed suite to create their own label while investing in their own music. We are still growing – adding new artist. We are going to add international versions in the UK and in the US.”
Seyi Sodimu disclosed that his fourth album will be released at the end of this year. When asked about what fans of Seyi Music should expect from this album, the artist said that fans can be assured of great African music and great collaborations with other African artists. The music will be international but we would not change the style of African music because that’s the only thing we have that no one can take away from us, he said. He confirmed collaborations of great music with other American artists and Nigerian artists. Not to say too much, Seyi said that some artists that will feature in his upcoming album are Wande Cole, and Flavour.
Seyi ended the interview saying that “at the end of the day the most important thing is the music”. Do good music and the market attraction will come by itself, it’s all about hard work, and consistency in good music. He said, “Do not say I want to feature international artists but instead, do good music and get a good network around you who can play the music to the right people.”
The record showcases Seyi’s growth as an individual as well as the growth of his music onto an international scale. It is also an indication of the growing influence and success of African music internationally. Although the song is a classic, it has been completely reproduced with a new verse written for K. Michelle in an effort to perfectly marry R&B and Afro Soul, which proved to be perfectly successful.
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