Nigerian artist Olú says music has always been synonymous with her own self. She tells us, “from home, to school and church, music has always been very interwoven into everything.” Last September she released her debut EP Feels, a seven-track release about Olú’s journey as she finds her way through love and life. We spoke the Lagos-based artist on her history with being a writer and artist, her musical influences, and her hobbies outside of music.
Tell us about your most recent project, Feels. What was this EP about and how did it come together?
Feels always has a unique expression to me. Sometimes it feels like it’s about my personal life, and sometimes it’s about something bigger. Each song has elements of life and lessons I have learned from the world I exist in. In terms of how they came together, they were all inspired and recorded at different points from September 2018 up until April 2020. The sixth track “Made It” was the first song I wrote for the project. Then “1111 ILOVEMYSELF” and “Feels Like” were written right before putting the collection together. Which now thinking in hindsight, was a major influence to the project title.
The production process was very sporadic, because music creation feels more like a flow for me. It’s artistic bliss, how in this age of existence, I get to record intimately with myself in my space and then have professional refinements and fixes later, which magically makes it fun for any audience to enjoy. Creativity is the greatest thing ever.
The single “God Save The Queen” from Feels is so beautiful and emotional, especially lyrically. What was the message you wanted to convey in this song? What made you write “God Save The Queen”?
Thank you. “God Save The Queen” is a tad bit ahead of me. I feel like I am constantly re-experiencing the song with every moment and interaction, both with myself and many other listeners. In short, I saw a show recommendation for a film series about the life of Queen Elizabeth II. After a very intense and ceremonial binge, I heard the beat and recorded “God Save The Queen” at home. This was on Christmas day in 2019. I had a very revealing 2019 where I experienced myself in the most unique way ever, which made the storyline resonate very easy for me. It felt like I was sharing my own story with the Queen’s story as a metaphor as well, it was a very interesting experience, super exciting.
The producer Taye Olusola basically gave the demo life with a beautiful feel and finish, it was one of the songs he really put more compassion into. It was the only track he insisted had to be re-recorded in the studio because of its composition. It’s a genius production, truly.
When did you first get involved with music?
Easy to say all my life because it has just always been that way – from home, to school and church, music has always been very interwoven into everything. I was in my university choir when I first wrote a song, a cute song in many ways. It was during my second-degree program when Mayowa Balogun and I reconnected and the conversation of music creation came up. And things just happened. The Cry was released in April 2017, and the music just keeps happening.
“I see, feel, and experience the music just as much as I experience myself, which is generally very mysterious, deeply pleasurable, and utterly unpredictable.”
How would you describe your music and your sound?
I don’t really know how to.. it’s like a relationship where you see the other just as much as you see yourself. I see, feel, and experience the music just as much as I experience myself, which is generally very mysterious, deeply pleasurable, and utterly unpredictable. Sometimes I don’t know if I want to have a more refined or definite sound, but I am most eager to see what the sound evolves into. There are abundant sources of musical and creative inspirations, and life is somewhat infinite so it’s always going to be an interesting experience.
Who are some of your musical influences?
It’s an endless list because I listen to so much; Sade, Lana Del Rey, Ayo, Zlatan, Cleo Sol, Tiwa and anyone I have ever listened to, really. I deeply appreciate the experience of music and the power of music creation especially.
Who are some of your favourite artists coming out of the Lagos music scene?
From my bubble, I’m a huge pop culture fan so any artist that’s on the playlists, that’s what i’m listening to. I’m the worst at picking favourites because I enjoy very abundantly.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten? What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue music?
I don’t recall a “best advice” but a good advice is always self care and love. For anyone wanting to do anything, creative or specifically music, a nice advice is to embody whatever you desire – genuinely gain insight and physically see it through.
Of your own music, do you have a favourite song or one that you’re most proud of?
Maybe “Okay (not) grounded” and “Fading.” They are the most sentimental to me.
What’s a fun fact listeners may not know about you? Do you have any other hobbies or creative outlets outside of music?
I crochet and I run an artisan soap business. My favourite thing to do is chill mostly.
What can we expect to see next from Olú? Any new music releases or videos coming up?
I’m genuinely eager too and can’t wait to see what I’m up to. I think a nice cosmic joke is that we can only think out things with our mind, but reality is so wholesome we really shouldn’t bother. I’d love to release new music and videos, it would be so much fun, can’t wait.
Listen to Feels out now and follow Olú on Instagram and Twitter at @0luoa.