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AJAEZE: The Man, The Mask and The Music

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Aja When a creative mind gets boxed into a shell, then it loses the power to be imaginative, but when a creative mind roams outside the box, it reaches beyond limits. This foreword tells the story of the budding International Afropop star Ajaeze (Ah’jez-ay). His silky smooth vocals combined with the artist’s fierce determination is contagious and transmits through his music as he pursues the path that creates his happiness – Creating Music. The love affair with music started as a young kid influenced by the likes of Sunny Bobo, Bob Marley, Fela, Michael Jackson, Prince and James Brown. “Their music gave me emotion, and when you feel emotion it lets you know you are alive”, he declares. The youngster imitated his heroes performing in the shower and imagining accepting Grammy awards in the mirror. He subsequently formed a singing group with his friends in secondary school called Ax’ent. “We did not last but my first few performances broke my stage fright”, he quipped with a wry smile. A man of many experiences who finds expression in his music, he calls his music , world music and the world is bound to feel the mystery packed in his over 6 feet frame and voice. Being exposed to Western and African culture breeds his natural versatility in Afrobeats and American Pop hence his genre is “Afropop”. “Music is art and art is intended to make us feel emotion”, according to Ajaeze and if a vibe doesn’t cause an emotion for him then the creative process stops. His music making process begins with feeling the vibe , the emotion and the creative juices start to flow. His recently released single “Jeje” literally came of out of nowhere. A normal day in the studio, then he gets a message from his personal DJ MixMasterChu informing him that Danny, one of the producers at ISEKOLife Musix LLC (Ajaeze’s record label) has got a record ready. A few clicks later he had the beat playing from his email. “I immediately envisioned myself at a pool party or riding top down cruising the streets on a beautiful day”, he recalls as he began to spit vibes on the rhythm. In about 45 mins , the pieces had come together and the melodious tune “Jeje” was born.aja2 Ajaeze believes Afrobeats is growing vastly globally and it is no coincidence that American artists are hopping on collaborations with Afrobeat stars. The super talented singer is working on a project that will feature super producers like Kenneth “KFam” Fambro (Grammy Award winning Producer) and Matserkraft along with artists like Mayorkun and Danagog to mention a few. His signature mask has got the music world talking about why he wears it, what it means, and what it might signify. The singer himself lifts the lid on the mystery of the mask. “ The mask is an expression of rebellion. A commitment to being undefined, unlimited, and uncontrolled. In short, I felt like a slave to my profession and the company I contracted to in financial services and investment management when I graduated college. I managed people’s life savings in the stock and bond market for 8 years of my life. I did very well and reached complete financial freedom from the revenue streams I built in my practice.You would think that reaching financial freedom is what life is all about right?? Well for me the answer was no. I was so committed to the financial services industry that I lost myself in it. He continues, “One day I looked in the mirror and noticed that I was at least 25 pounds over weight. I had formed dark circles under my eyes from the stress. I had no real personal life outside of work and then going to drink loads of alcohol to ease the stress after long days at the office. And the various activities that defined me as a person I no longer participated in. I had truly lost myself. I wanted to make a change. I began to grow my hair on the top to change up my look. I even began to sport a beard just to try something new. Well the company I contracted my practice to felt I was damaging their personal brand and began to advise me on how I should carry myself in order to represent them properly. The company gave me a final demand to make their suggested changes to my appearance or they terminate the contract. I was angry that after all the years of effort and success I brought to their company name through my own practice it could come to this ultimatum.” This is when the Ajaeze mentality was born. He said “NO” to being managed and marginalized by society and people’s expectations. The crooner walked out of the corporate world and into his passion, where he finds expression and freedom- music. “The mask is a part of going rogue. Being rebellious. Nobody can tell me what to do. I am my own person and I am undefined by anyone’s expectations. Eat your fkn heart out”. he concludes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/je-je-feat-ajaeze-single/1380280129 With so much music and talent out there, Ajaeze’s story defines him. The mask is a product of his unique story. The image is a product of the story, edgy with a big heart that fills the art. In his words “My strong suit is creating ballads. I really want the Ajaeze Klan to feel my emotion in the ballads”. Ajaeze’s single “Je Je” with his personal DJ MixMasterChu is now available on all digital platforms. It is silky smooth and gaining popularity quickly in the United States! Also, Ajaeze is set to drop a Choreography short film in a couple of days featuring his message to the world “1Life” (as in you only get one life to live.) which features some amazing dance moves showcasing his edge and personality. Fiercely, determined and focused, Ajaeze is on the verge of conquering the world with music and the revolution will be televised. Sign up as a witness to greatness, hit the play button and enjoy your initiation to the Ajaeze Klan ( Ajaeze Supporters). …And as Ajaeze would say: “EAT YOUR FKN HEART OUT”. Listen on iTunes https://youtu.be/50FX9oE4544]]>

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Apple Music’s latest Africa Rising artist is Afrofusion singer, Gyakie

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Apple Music today announced the latest featured artist in its Africa Rising artist development program as Ghanaian Afrofusion singer-songwriter Gyakie (real name Jacqueline Acheampong).

 

“I’m so excited to be sharing the music I made all the way from Ghana to the global stage and grateful to Apple Music for being a huge part of my journey so far. I’m honoured to play my part in widening the global African story,” she tells Apple Music.

 

As the daughter of Ghanaian highlife legend Ernest “Owoahene” Nana Acheampong of the legendary Lumba Brothers, Gyakie’s musical roots run deep and her eclectic take on Afrofusion has seen her make immense strides in a short space of time.

Read Also: Gyakie Drops Second Single Ahead Of Her “My Diary” EP

Gyakie achieved massive success with singles “Love Is Pretty” (2019), “Never Like This”(2019) and “Sor Mi Mu feat Bisa Kdei” (2020), but it was her debut EP release SEED(2020) that set her apart from her contemporaries, with its lead single “Forever”, alongside“Forever Remix featuring Omah Lay” (2021).

 

Her latest EP, MY DIARY (2022), available to stream on Apple Music in Spatial Audio from 22 July, reinforces her knack for merging multiple genres seamlessly, from the jazz lounge-esque opener “AUDIENCE”, to the Afrobeats-rooted “MY BABY” and first single “SOMETHING”.

 

The latest music from Gyakie along with that of Africa’s hottest new artists, is available now on the Apple Music Africa Rising Playlist.

 

Apple Music’s Africa Rising, is an exclusive artist development programme and companion playlist geared towards identifying, showcasing and elevating rising talent and introducing the next generation of African superstars. Africa Rising alumni to date include: Omah Lay, Manu Worldstar, Tems, Amaarae, Ayra Starr, Yaw Tog, Blxckie, Nikita Kering, Buju, Fave, Nomfundo Moh and Victony. Africa Rising sees Apple Music select six artists every year who each receive a minimum of two months of editorial support across the Apple Music platform including a launch interview with Nadeska on Apple Music 1. Nadeska has also launched a new weekly Africa Rising feature on her show highlighting the hottest new artists on the continent.

Read Also: Gyakie shares teaser clip from upcoming interview with GRAMMY.com’s new series

Africa Rising is the latest of many Apple Music initiatives aimed at taking African talent to the world. Now available in 33 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, Apple Music 1 is home to Africa Now Radio which has featured interviews with some of the continent’s hottest artists such as Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Cassper Nyovest, Mr Eazi, Patoranking, Rayvanny, Kiddominant, Mayorkun, Fireboy DML, Adekunle Gold, Master KG, Yaw Tog, Blxckie, Nikita Kering, Buju, FAVE and Nomfundo Moh.

 

Apple Music also selected Nigerian Afrobeats singer-songwriter Tems as its Up Next artist in 2021, Nigerian Afropop star Rema in 2020, Grammy Award-winning Afrofusion superstar Burna Boy in 2019, and Nigerian singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi as the first recipient in 2017. Up Next is Apple Music’s global emerging artist program.

 

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EARTHGANG Release GHETTO GODS (DELUXE)

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Atlanta duo EARTHGANG have released a deluxe version of their critically acclaimed record, Ghetto Gods. Featuring five additional tracks ranging from remixes, new songs and reimagined versions of album favorites, Ghetto Gods (Deluxe) brought along friends Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Smino and Blxckie to add their flair to the songs. (more…)

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N.ana YS and Parko West face-off with a collaborative ‘RealEati’ EP

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Hot off of their previous EP, the two Ghanaian rappers N.ana YS & Parko West have graced fans and avid listeners with their sophomore project titled, ‘RealEati‘ EP. The 4-track EP reflects the superstar’s growth in both talent and status. (more…)

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Amanda Ofori elevates our spirits on new song ‘Abba’

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Amanda Ofori

Music doesn’t get more celestial than Amanda Ofori’s new song ‘Abba’. Stream or download ‘Abba’ across all major digital platforms here: https://fanlink.to/ABBA-AO (more…)

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Gyakie Drops Second Single Ahead Of Her “My Diary” EP

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Gyakie has released another single, “For My Baby” just a few weeks after her first single of the year and its accompanying video. (more…)

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Apple Music’s Africa Now Radio this Friday with Ruger

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This Week’s Episode Features a Conversation With Ruger, the 5 Hottest Tracks of the Week, Africa Rising and Dadaboy Ehiz’s Favourite Track of the Week!

Tune in to Africa Now Radio with Dadaboy Ehiz this Friday, July 1st at 9a Lagos/London / 10a Johannesburg/Paris / 1a LA / 4a NYC on Apple Music 1 and broadcast on Cool FM in Nigeria every Sunday at 6pm.

Cover Star Interview
Nigerian Afropop star Ruger joins Dadaboy Ehiz via FaceTime on Apple Music 1 to talk about his latest track, “Girlfriend.” He also discusses his new album, ‘The Second Wave (Deluxe),’ recording music in unusual places, and reaffirming his talent.

The Big 5
Dadaboy Ehiz shares the 5 hottest new African tracks of the moment. This week’s selection includes new tracks from Ibraah feat. Maud Elka, Timaya, Mlindo The Vocalist feat. Madumane, Yemi Alade, and Sampa the Great feat. Chef 187, Tio Nason and Mwanje.

Africa Rising 
Ghanaian Afro-fusion singer-songwriter Gyakie is the latest Africa Rising cover star, a campaign which shines a light on the next generation of African superstars, and this week’s show features her singles, “FOR MY BABY,” and “SOMETHING.” Listen HERE.

Read Also: Headie One Releases “Bigger Than Life” Featuring Dutch Rapper Frenna

Dadaboy’s Song of the Week
Each week, Dadaboy Ehiz chooses his favourite track from one of Apple Music’s African playlists. This week he spotlights South African singer-songwriter Samthing Soweto and his single, “Amagents,” from Apple Music’s Mzansi Hits playlist, showcasing South Africa’s biggest hits. Listen HERE.

Tune in and listen to the full episode this Friday July 1st at 9a Lagos/London / 10a Johannesburg/Paris / 1a LA / 4a NYC on Apple Music 1 at apple.co/_AfricaNow or on Cool FM in Nigeria every Sunday at 6pm.

RUGER ON RELEASING A DELUXE EDITION OF ‘THE SECOND WAVE’

 

It was only right for us to do that, because these songs were supposed to be on that from the beginning. We were supposed to release like 7 songs, but we cut it down to 4. Then, the idea came from releasing ‘The Second Wave’ EP. We said that we’d release 4 songs, then release 3 additional songs as a deluxe. Then, as life goes on new vibes came from the studio, so we said we’re not even putting those additional 3 songs, we’re going to put new additional 3 songs. That’s how it happened, and I’m happy with how it’s going. Thank God for everything.

Read Also: Nigeria’s new hiphop star, Portable granted bail after reporting himself to police

RUGER ON HIS GRATITUDE AND DETERMINATION

 

I feel good, I feel blessed going to every country that I go to. Netherlands, Australia… People singing my songs word for word. It’s an amazing feeling because not every artist comes out within a year and that song travels that far, but I am a testimony. I thank God and I thank everyone that enjoys my music as it comes out every time. It’s just encouragement for me to work harder and keep doing my best. Never going to the studio to do any mediocre sounds, never going to the studio to say “Whatever I drop they’re going to listen,” I go into the studio giving my 100% best and God will do the rest for me.

RUGER ON FAST-CONSUMING FANS

 

People tend to forget how good Ruger is. People are fast consumers so they consume what they have now and then… Do they forget about you? I don’t know but I feel like if they don’t hear anything from you in a while they feel like “Where’s Ruger?” They should always know that whenever Ruger comes through, it’s always a 100% vibe so these songs are very personal songs to me – “Girlfriend” is a personal song, “WeWe” is a personal song, “Warning” is a personal song – it’s just me stating about my personal experiences, and people who can relate to what I’m talking about, can relate. I feel like these songs are going to go very far, I’m proud of what I’ve done in the studio and I’m thankful to everyone supporting me in every little way they can. I’ll keep giving my best.

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