From the colliding influences of afrobeats and R&B to the euphonious and gentle productions, the artist debuts his own genre amongst the ever-growing scene.
When it comes to Omah Lay’s sound, there is an overwhelming warmth that comforts you. Wrapping you in a blanket of sweet-toned melodies and honeyed vocals, the artist effortlessly transports us to paradise with his music, where a concoction of romanticism and authenticity make an appearance. “I just turn on the mic and speak my truth the way it hits me,” the artist candidly revealed. “Of course you’d hear the Afro influences be it the sound or the lingo but the rest I don’t think about it so I wouldn’t have all the fancy words to describe my sound, it’s just spiritual.”
Seemingly appearing out of nowhere, Omah Lay has rapidly made his ascension onto the scene in the past two years, since his viral debut single “Do Not Disturb”. Already boasting collaborations with the likes of 6lack, Olamide, Wizkid and Justin Bieber, the singer-songwriter has impressively assembled a loyal fanbase off the back of two EPs and it’s only getting bigger.
Dropping his debut EP “Get Layd” in the midst of lockdown last year, the fresh-faced artist inducted himself into the new league of dulcet singers and artists emerging from Nigeria, capturing our attention with his vibrant storytelling abilities and soothing tone. But it was his second project “What Have We Done”, that cemented him as this year’s one to watch. From the colliding influences of afrobeats and R&B to the euphonious yet gentle productions, Omah Lay debuts his own genre amongst the ever-growing scene, meticulously painting his own picture and lane.
Recently dropping his new single “Understand”, the artist is preparing to drop his debut album in the coming months, revealing that he has been recording the project for a while. With no set release date, we caught up with the artist discussing all things afrobeats, defining his sound and how he already feels like he’s dropped his debut album.
Check out the interview below now!
Hey Omah, how are you? How has this past year been for you?
I am feeling great… The past year has been amazing, got better in the second part as we begin to understand how to live with the pandemic… Been quite a year!
How did you first get into music, what sparked the interest?
I have always thought I had an ear for sounds, my grandfather and father all had a run in my music, my father not so much but my Grandfather was a career musician so it all started from all the sounds I was exposed to growing up. Then Hip-hop came along!
You’re from Ikwerre, do you think your area influenced your sound?
Yeah, I’m from Ikwerre and it really did influence my sound a lot. Before Afrobeats, the local music currency was Highlife and a lot of them were done in Ikwerre as well. I was exposed to a lot of it of course from my Dad and then when I got older, there were stars like Duncan Mighty which everyone was big on.
You’re from a musical family, what was it like growing up?
Wasn’t much different from everyone else, nobody consciously tried to make me pay attention to music but it was all there in your ears and face. There’s always a record either playing or lying around somewhere.
You started out in a rap group, what made you go solo?
I just feel like we all started out rapping due to the heavy hip hop influence. After my little stint as a rapper, I went into full-time producing music. When I later made up my mind to dust my mic, it was cooler to sing.
You’ve recently dropped your new single “Understand”, talk us through your production process!
I enjoyed making “Understand”, that one was pretty easy for me and as well it was therapeutic making it. I’m one of the guys that take their time with a record but that one, I made the first verse soon as I heard it, finished it off in a couple of days. Matter of fact, I have like two other alternate versions of that first verse, that’s how hard the track hit me.
How would you describe your sound?
I just turn on the mic and speak my truth the way it hits me. Of course, you’d hear the Afro influences be it the sound or the lingo but the rest I don’t think about it so I wouldn’t have all the fancy words to describe my sound, it’s just spiritual.
The afrobeat scene has grown incredibly in the past 10 years, what does this growth mean to you?
It’s exciting to see more eyeballs and ears on Afrobeats, we love to see it. There’s a lot of us where I come from and I can’t wait for the world to see and hear how much we have in stock.
Who would love to work with?
Of course Drake, that’s my idol by the way, Burna Boy, Don Toliver, Travis Scott. I made a list, can’t find it right now.
Is there an album or upcoming project in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
I have been recording my debut full-length album. Yeah, I like to think that I already dropped an album last year – only I split it into two EPs. Yeah so I have been working on my album, it’s been exciting but I’m sure I still have one or two singles before it comes. Can’t wait for you to hear them!