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Davido Tells Apple Music About His Upcoming “Are We African Yet?” Festival, How African Music Is Gaining Popularity Globally And More

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American-born, Nigerian-raised Afrobeats star Davido joins Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 for a candid conversation ahead of his upcoming “Are We African Yet? (A.W.A.Y.)” Festival in Atlanta this weekend (Nov. 18). The two discuss where the idea for the festival came from and where he sees it going in the future. A.W.A.Y is described as a single day “music festival and cultural experience” that “urges the African diaspora and non-Africans to celebrate each other’s roots and experience African culture like never before.”

During the interview Davido’s touches on his most recent album, “Timeless”, success in the US and abroad, his relationship with Akon, and more. Additionally, Zane and Davido dive into how African music is steadily gaining popularity globally and the energy Davido feels when in Lagos.

Key quotes below — feel free to use and credit Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. 

Davido on his ambitions beyond music and his festival “Are We African Yet?”…

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So years ago it was the other way around where it’s like the same way we have people coming to Africa, which we love, investing, bringing their own culture over there. Having festivals, in the same way we should do the same over here. And that’s why I’m having this festival that’s going to be coming every year-

I want to give [different artists] opportunity to come every year, different times to come and perform. Because they have fans here and they don’t know. Because internet, all you got to do is just drop a song out on TikTok and it’s gone. Somebody a billion miles away, it could be their best song and you wouldn’t even know.

I feel like we got to own our culture too. We can’t wait for somebody to bring the idea and be like, “Yo, Afrobeats is growing.” Let’s go register African Coachella or something like that. I’m like, “No, we got to do this ourselves because this is ours. So we got to own it.” Down the line if somebody want to partner…

But the vision I have, I’m talking 10 years, 20 years down the line. The vision I have is to create it to be something that is for the culture, not particularly mine. I might be behind it producing it, All of that. But it’s something I’m doing for the culture, which-Atlanta definitely is going to have the first couple, but we’ve spoken about definitely moving it around because we everywhere. So definitely I can see maybe LA, I can see Toronto, definitely. So we’re definitely going to move it around.

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Davido on Lagos and the energy in comparison to other major cities…

Yeah, [Lagos is] like New York. Okay. I’ll say these are cities that I’ve been to that I can say New York. I haven’t been to Tokyo, but somewhere like Tokyo. London, definitely Kingston. Kingston. Lagos is very, very fast-paced. The horns. The market. And everything is in Lagos. You have the parts in Lagos where it look like Miami. You got the parts in Lagos where it look like … You know what I’m saying? So everything is Lagos. That city is a whole country in one, kind of. And I’ll say this every time, if you can survive in Lagos, you can survive anywhere in the world.

The vibe in Lagos, musically for me, that’s where I go back. And it is also called tapping in with the streets. We travel so much. We are touring. You know what I’m saying? We never really get time to be at home. So every time I get home, I’m so excited. I’m like, “Yeah!”

On how the perception of African music has changed…

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Now, I met somebody in the airport, he was like he grew up in America. “And years ago, the narrative of being African was not as cool as it is now. Thank you. Now we’re proud. They can ask us, ‘Where are you from?’ And I’ll say, ‘I’m from Nigeria.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, I love Nigerian music, man.’ Or they’re like, ‘Oh, I love Nigerian food, man.’” So it is different from years ago where people weren’t really proud to say where they was from.

The shows, before I left, nobody will buy a show, to a Nigerian artist’s show, except that there was an American artist like Usher. We’ve had Chris Brown come previously, we’ve had 50 cent, Ja rule, name it, Shaggy, anybody. But when I got back years later, it changed. They wasn’t playing western music anymore. The radio was playing all Nigerian music. The shows were booking all Nigerian artists, crazy shows. That’s when D’banj, 2Face, P Square, and it started going crazy, like coming to America, making a $100,000 a show type. So I’m looking like, “Boy, I’m about to switch.” Because I’m like, “This is really where I’m from.”

Davido on his success and where he is in his life right now…

Definitely. I’m definitely in a different space. You know what I’m saying? I think to attain this level, it takes a lot of concentration as well over the years. Music is fun to me. You know what I’m saying? That’s the beauty of it. For me, the way I fell into being an artist, it was kind of … I don’t want to say a mistake, but I was just called to be an artist. I started off as a producer, engineer. I wanted to be behind the scenes for various reasons. I was still in school.

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Davido on how his album “Timeless” felt like a healing process…

Me and the engineer. I actually recorded most of this album in my house where I live with my wife. So it was really only me, her and her sisters at the time, and then I had one of my boys staying with me. But it gave me time to really calm down and yeah, it was a healing process because I was happy that, oh, I’m waking up today. I’m making music today. You know what I’m saying? I’m excited.

It felt like I was just an artist that just got signed and just given the opportunity to show what he can do with this record so I was really, really excited about it.

Davido on how “Timeless” came to be…

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I used to wake up, I remember, sometimes I’d be tired. So, what I used to do is that I’d play, because I was in the gym, the songs that I had made for the album. It was 28 songs after we’d kind of trickled it down, so I’d play the album from one to 28. So the whole time I’m gyming, I’m happy, it’s new music, I’m already imagining. I’m already imagining how people going to react to it. I’m imagining, I was a little kid, and I’ve been doing this for 12 years and it felt like this is the first time I’m ever going to drop music. It’s the first time I’m about to go back on the road. You know what I’m saying? And I wanted the music to be so good because I already knew, me coming back, a lot of people were really, really expecting the album. But I didn’t want to just come out and be like, “Yeah, he’s been through a lot. We’re going to support him.”

Yeah. So, like I was saying, in the gym, I’d play it, play it, play it. And we finally picked the songs and everything just came together. Everything would just come together, even with the ideas. I had signed two new artists at the time, that I was working with, Morravey and Logos. They’re on the album as well. She drops, I think, this month or next month. So, I was excited about a lot. I’ll go to Morravey and she’s on Track 3, In the Garden. So, I’d wake up, you know what I’m saying? Because this is two months till I got to turn in my album. So, I ain’t leave the house for seven months. So, I’m kind of leaving the house a bit, going to the studio and back, coming home early. But you know what I’m saying? Still stepping out and just watching her record, she gave me inspiration to, yo.

Davido on how the “Timeless” project was different from his previous albums…

Recently, it’s changed. You know what I’m saying? I’ve always been that artist that I want to be at home. I’m trying to be home except I’m touring. But with this Timeless album, I put so much into it, and it came with so much emotion because I was out for six, seven months with my family, so I had time to really … This is the first project where it was like, normally we in the studio with 50 people. You know how it is. Drinking over here, smoking over here, partying. That’s how it’s always been. Even the type of music I make, if you listen to it from back, it’s party music, it’s pop, pop, pop. But with this record, it was me one-on-one with the producer.

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I remember when we were doing the cover for Timeless, I was like, “Yo, what’s this timeless music? Yeah, it is going to have something to do with time, but I want to also represent patience.” So, that’s how I thought of the hourglass. You know what I’m saying?

Davido on being a producer and an engineer first… 

Yeah, because when I make music, I’m already thinking, “Okay, how’s the EQ going to be on the high hat? How’s everything going to sound?” I’m really, really big on, I do like five, six mixes per a record, whereas an artist just leaves all that to the producer. I’m in the studio with the producer. We’re going back and forth. Even if I’m not physically there, we on WhatsApp, we talking like, “Yo, this doesn’t sound right.” blah, blah, blah. I call my friend up, my friends that own a lounge or whatever. Like, “Yo, empty the club or give me a room in the club. I’m coming.” And I just play the album.

But I’m happy that me being an engineer, not only for me from an artist, for the artist I work with, I’m saying, I’m like, “Yo, I think you should do it like this. Do it like this.” It’s helped me, I say, 300%.

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Davido on how he’s changed and has a mission…

You asked me that question about how I move back home. You know what I’m saying? The regular me, I’d be home right now. I’ll be like, “Yo, can we do this on Zoom?” But I’m saying, now it’s like, not only me, even my colleagues, we have a mission. We’re like ambassadors now. You know what I’m saying? We’re ambassadors to the culture now. They’re like, “Yo, yo, flat go out there and change the narrative.” You know what I’m saying? So, when we go home, it’s now a thing of, yo man, I love when people come up to me and be like, “Yo, thank you man. You guys don’t know what you guys are doing for us.”

Davido on having a place where he can listen to music away from being a “superstar”…

Yo. So funny. I concentrate the most on a plane. I don’t join no wifi. I put my headphones in and I just go through records and I just really listen. That’s when I’m really tapped out. That’s one place I really focus.

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Yeah, I like that. But I definitely love when it comes to recording and curating records, I love being at home in Lagos. Even if I record in a studio out here or in Atlanta, the idea is always from, I always bring it from Lagos.

On his relationship with Akon…

Even just back home, the people that really opened my eyes. It was like, Akon, of course, we knew he was African and he used to definitely come back home for shows. I’m talking about an artist that we saw in Nigeria, grow up with us and take over the world. My first vision of that was D’banj Oliver Twist.

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Black Sherif Drops Highly Anticipated Hip Hop Single “Kilos Milos”

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Today, Ghanaian genre-defying recording artist Black Sherif releases his much anticipated
single, ‘KILOS MILOS’ through his
record label, RBA/Empire. The track, which has been teased on his social media
platforms for weeks, is now available on all major streaming platforms.

With its catchy hooks
and thought-provoking lyrics, “Kilos
Milos” is already generating buzz within the music industry and
receiving praise from fans. The single promises to be another chart-topping hit
for Black Sherif, further solidifying his status as one of the most promising
talents in African music.

Known for his unique
blend of Afrobeat and Hip Hop, Black Sherif continues to captivate audiences
with his raw lyricism. “Kilos Milos” showcases his versatility as an
artist, delivering powerful verses layered over a mesmerizing production heralded
by Kwame Agger and Joker Nharnah. This follows the release of his widely
received street anthem, ‘ Shut Up’.

Black Sherif continuously
hints at the release of his sophomore album, which is due this year. He
recently won the award for Best Hip hop
and Hip life Artiste at the 25th Telecel Ghana Music awards and headlined one of the biggest festivals in
Africa, Afrofuture. Adjudged as the second most streamed artiste globally on
Audiomack in 2023.

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Black Sherif keeps
defying the odds and breaking new grounds for music emanating from Africa on
the global stage.

A native of Konongo, a
small mineral-rich town in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Black Sherif, born
Mohammed Ismail Sharif Kwaku Frimpong, has risen against all odds to become the
country’s biggest star. Embracing a diverse musical palette, he bridges the gap
between Afrobeats, highlife, and Ghanian drill, showcasing his wordplay,
storytelling, and linguistic versatility.
The breakout success of “First Sermon” and “Second
Sermon” in 2021 propelled Black Sherif onto the international stage, with
“Kwaku The Traveller” earning him superstar status in 2022.

Since the release of his
debut album in 2022, The Villain I Never Was, Black

Sherif has solidified his
place as one of Africa’s most powerful creative voices.

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and amassed massive
global streaming numbers, which made him the most

streamed Ghanaian artist
of 2022 and 2023 on Spotify and the most streamed

Ghanaian artist of all
time on popular African streaming platform Boomplay.

Black Sherif has reached
these pinnacles in record time—being an integral part of the front runners
pushing the sounds coming from Africa globally.
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Nana and The Asafo Brigade (NATAB) announce new EP ‘They Hunted The Land’

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Nana and The Asafo Brigade

Nana and The Asafo Brigade (NATAB), the emerging Vancouver-based alternative band, is set to grace the world of revolutionary music with the release of its new EP, ‘They Hunted The Land.’ This 3-song project, slated for release on June 28, 2024, serves as a prequel to their forthcoming album, ‘There’s A Fire On The Mountain.’

Celebrated for their compelling sound and disruptive approach to music-making, the 8-person band promises to take listeners on a sonic journey that immerses them in a rich tapestry of revolutionary sounds and thought-provoking lyrics with this new project. NATAB’s music encourages listeners to be more socially conscious; this new EP is another monumental move in fulfilling its mission.

Following their debut project ‘Peace & Love,’ released in November last year, NATAB continues to push the boundaries of their art through their unique blend of alternative influences, creating a powerful and evocative medium that invites its audience to engage deeply with the themes of empathy, community and social change. Each track on ‘They Hunted The Land’ is crafted to deliver an incredible listening experience that opens the listeners’ eyes to the world around them, encouraging introspection and a heightened awareness of how they might contribute to some of the inequalities and unjust ways in their society.

The lead song of the EP, ‘Thief/Police,’ stands out as a poignant commentary on the dynamics of authority and corruption. At the same time, the other tracks, ‘Asaase Yaa’ and ‘Talking Drum’, further emphasize the band’s commitment to themes of revolution, empathy, and community building.

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‘They Hunted The Land’ sets the tone for ‘There’s A Fire On The Mountain,’ ensuring that every piece of work by NATAB is connected in its message of community building and awakening dormancy. This project underscores the band’s belief that music can be a powerful tool for social change, urging listeners to recognize themselves as stakeholders in their communities and the world at large.

NATAB’s music is more than just sound—it’s a call to action. The band aspires to inspire change wherever their music reaches, continuing the legacy of those that set out on similar journeys before them.

They Hunted The Land will be available on all audio streaming platforms on 28th June 2024.

Smart Link URL: https://vyd.co/THTL 

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Kwesi Valley releases new song ‘Ogya de Beba’

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Rising Ghanaian act, Kwesi Valley has released his latest single, ‘Ogya de Beba.’ (more…)

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Inusa Dawuda captures the fire of ‘No Coke’ in crisp new remaster of his 2008 remake of the 90’s classic

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Inusa Dawuda reconnects us to the past with his brilliant remake of a Dr. Alban classic that both older and newer audiences will appreciate. (more…)

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Run Up and Larruso claim the Dancehall Scene with hot new jam “Wilding”

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Run Up has set the ball rolling with a major step with the release of his latest Dancehall Jam he titles “Wilding”.

 

Tapping into the Gen Z energies, he recruits Larruso for this new jam produced by CaskeysOnit. Song is out on all music platforms.

 

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“Wilding” is a motivational Dancehall Song by Run Up and is tipped to swiftly take over the streets among the ghetto youths to whom the song is directed. In the song, Run Up urges the youth not to give up and ‘keep striving’ till the bread fills the basket. Larruso also came on with his critically inclined lyrics along same storyline.

 

Listen Here: https://ffm.to/rpberyp

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The new generation of Dancehallers seem to have a different and a suave direction for the Culture with their choice of riddims and lyrics; award-winning Ghanaian Producer, CaskeysOnit connected well with both young chaps and delivered the appropriate beat composition to complement their melodies and thought-process.

 

 

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About Run Up:

Born Felix Odei Tinkorang, but known to the world as Run Up. This Reggae/Dancehall/Afro Dancehall artiste boasts of numerous talents with his versatility across various music disciplines. Raised in Zeetown (Sabon Zongo) and having lived most of his life in Kaneshie, it was in Kaneshie that he discovered his passion for music and began honing it.

 

As a child, Run Up was heavily influenced by his father, who played a variety of music genres including Reggae, Highlife, and Hiplife. This early exposure fostered his love for music. During his adolescence, Run Up became captivated by Stonebwoy’s music, idolizing him to the extent of sampling Stonebwoy’s beats for school performances. Around this time, he also met Wanga Lee, an artiste who taught him more about dancehall music. Their relationship between Run Up and Wanga Lee was akin to Vybz Kartel and Popcaan’s music relationship.

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Run Up’s latest track, “WILDING,” is an inspirational piece encouraging the youth to relentlessly strive for a better life, laying a strong foundation for themselves and their future generations.

 

Anticipate his upcoming EP with Million Stylez, set to be released soon. Run Up is here to achieve great things. Watch out!

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Follow him on his Social Media connects below:

 

https://www.instagram.com/runup_gh?igsh=MWw0ZjFrMDJnNjRwaQ==

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https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100066932730356&mibextid=LQQJ4d

 

https://x.com/runupgh?s=21&t=VUANOn4pl-Yc-MFbX1wXbQ

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Listen on Audiomack:

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Singer Crispen celebrates life’s joyful moments with ‘Mafaro’

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Singer Crispen is out with a brand new afropop tune ‘Mafaro” which is a tale of struggles, pain, jubilation, and triumph. (more…)

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