Monday, 9 November 2009

Lytrule revelations

AS he hurries into the studio, wearing skinny jeans and dress shirt, with a host of ‘bling things’ around his neck, LytRule hears his manager ask, “What of the journalists coming this morning?”
The artiste, who appears upbeat, chirps, immediately, “I have left a note at the reception for them.”
Those words floor the manager, as he had expected the artiste to still hang around for about an hour, rehearsing.
He walks in purposefully, sure of what he’ll do. He stands in front of the microphone and sucks in great gulps of air, his heart pounding in sweet expectations, as he stares at the musical note in his front. He is not distracted by the noise around. After a leisurely flirting with the microphone, he breathes out, “Luv Maga.” He hesitates and considers a new note. He blushes a little and lowers his gaze on the musical sheet.
Trusting what his voice can do, more than the stage-craft, changes his mind and he simply sings in mellifluous blue note. As he sings, he raises his hand above his head, microphone pushed forward. He wants to make sure his performance is up to expectation. Before long, the tempo increases, and with each passing moment, he gains confidence and is gratified. LytRule represents a new roster of self-assured artistes for whom music is a passion and not a fashion.

BORN Akindele Akinyemi Goodness (AKA LytRule) to parents from Ibadan, Oyo State, the new kid on the music bloc will soon roll out an eight-track album titled Luv Maga.
The title track of the album, Luv Maga, was recently presented to the media in Lagos, as a single to enable them have a feel of the captivating and sonorous voice of the artist, who also performed an accapela version of the track.
Looking relaxed after the session, LytRule sits in an empty table of a popular hangout in Lagos. He sits close to the window fixing his gaze on a passing object. A rosy-cheeked girl walks to him and asks him to place his order.
“How has it been?” I ask.
“Great,” he smiles.
He removes the lid of the table water in his front and edges it towards me. He follows this with a glass cup. The order is brought, and silently, he devours the content, urging his guest to do likewise. The moment he is through, something inside of him melts and he breathes: “It’s been a fairly long period of wait.”
The artiste, who classifies his music as a blend of R&B dancehall — Nigerian Swagger. His music is infused with hip-hop and dancehall beats, but remains pleasing to both the old and young. His lyrics have that battle cry voice.
He says he became seriously committed to music when the head of the choir in his church got married and left the church.
“But before she left, she said she had a revelation from God that I should lead the adult choir,” he reflects.
But at that tender age, he was groomed and mentored by his father and other music gifted members of the church, which eventually led to his assuming the position of the adult choir leader.
This was indeed a turning point as it encouraged him to pursue his chosen career path vigorously.

LYTRULE is not new to the music industry, as he has had working relationship with artists such as Lord of Ajasa, Clench, Pastor Goody Goody and a host of others. He has also been a backup singer for some artists during his over a decade contact with music.
“How long have you been on this?” I ask.
“You mean Luv Maga?”
He looks up and reaches for his phone. He shows his guests a date, then snorts, “it’s taken a sweet time.”
The son of a reverend gentleman and a civil servant mother stresses, “apart from being part of my upbringing, music is a talent from God, which was developed at a tender age of nine, when I led the children’s choir at the Christ Heart Church, Isheri, a suburb in Lagos.” On why he chose the stage-name ‘LytRule’, the artiste explains that the first half of the name ‘Lyt’ was given to him by his classmates in the secondary school while the other part ‘Rule’ was added by his management team, which feels his voice is bound to rule, hence the name LytRule.
THE University of Lagos diploma holder in Mass Communication says he sings about various aspects of love: marital, agape; relationship and other stuff that draw people together because he is an emotional person.
“I am a very emotional person with an emotional upbringing and I try to bring that into my music. I admired the way my parents raised my siblings and I by ensuring that we have the very best they could offer which equipped us to effectively face the challenges of life. This affected me emotionally and I try to release that through songs,” he muses.
LytRule, who also holds a Diploma in Photo Journalism from the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye, Ogun State and a vocal certificate, plays the piano and drum well, which he says is an added advantage in an era where most Nigerian musicians can only qualify as singers.
“Mimers, kind of…you know… DJ… Track 3, no… I mean track 4.”
He adds that he also buys vocals online and rehearses them and promises to bring this wealth of experience to his fans, especially during life performances where they will really have value for their money.
The new kid says he opted for R&B because of his voice and the fact that the blend of music is acceptable worldwide. “Add R&B to dancehall, like I intend to do, and add ‘Nigerian Swagger’ and you will have a blend that will blow peoples mind especially when they are stressed out and need the soothing relief that music brings,” he sings.
The artiste says he intends to make a statement in Nigerian and world music scene between now and the next five years, within this period too, he says he will engage in charity work so that he can give back to the society.
On his perception of the Nigerian music industry, which he has been a passive participant over the years, LytRule says the industry has grown positively over the years with most artists benefiting from it, he, however decries the rate at which music with lurid content is growing. “Our artistes should be wary of what they sing about because of the influence music has on people. We should try as much as possible to discourage the use of explicit lyrics in our songs,” he intones.

OBJazz raps it up!

THERE are some guys who actually love music, and show their commitment to it in intense, meticulous ways – whatever their ages. Objazz is one of them, and beyond the love, he has taken active steps to build his craft, even moving from Abuja to Lagos.

When did music start for you?
Actually I started music from when I was really little, like elementary school. Started off playing the acoustic guitar but then my teacher wasn’t really serious so I sort of focused on the keyboards. After a while I began writing rhymes in my diaries and scatting to myself, didn’t know what I was doing then though.

What were you doing before music?
Well considering the fact that I started music so early, I guess I was still discovering myself day to day like everyone else. Before I started music as a career, though, I was always interested in software, mathematics and fine arts.

What made you go into music?
I just found out a couldn’t be myself without music, I tried other jobs but music kept calling me back, you know just like that song ‘every time I try to go something keeps pulling me back me back…”. Also I found out that I had a lot of unique things about the music I always produced, wrote or imagined, it was always different, even without trying. It’s the only thing in this world that always makes me happy – making music.

What kind of music do you do?
Honestly, it’s a fusion of a lot. I love Hip-Hop so much and do a lot of it, Jazz also has a special place in my heart and anything I do always has jazzy notes or syncopations so I’ve been sort of infected with it since birth. I sing a lot too and my lyrics have some depth when I write about conscious topics. So I guess it’s Hip-hop, Jazz and Soul, something like that. Oh yes, with some inherent African influence ,of course.

Tell us about your family
It’s a pretty simple family of six — Dad, Mum and four kids. I’m the first child, in my tribe I would be called the ‘Opara’. My siblings all sing or play an instrument, so do my parents but no one does it professionally but me.

Where did the name Objazz come from and what does it mean?
My real first name is Obinna. A while back I was to perform at an event and I then realised I didn’t have a ‘stage name’, so a friend of mine suggested the name as a combination of my person, my name and my jazz ‘syndrome’ (ha ha), didn’t like it at first but didn’t have an option since the performance was to be in 15minutes. After a while I realized the name is actually cool.

You were in Abuja before – was it for school or what?
I was actually born in Festac Town, Lagos. Grew up there too but in 1999 the family moved to Abuja and so hence my temporal relocation. However, I schooled in the east, at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. I spent another two years in Abuja after I finished school before moving back to Lagos.

Your studio – why did you set up yours, and what did it take to set it up?
I realised my sound was different and I really preferred to play my keyboards live and create my samples myself so I needed to spend time in my own studio and with a proper workstation keyboard. Also I wanted to dedicate some time to some of the tracks I intend to release much later. Most of all, if I decided to take music seriously a career it was only necessary that I found a way to have a studio of my own. It took quite a lot of patience, my production journey started with sleeping in other people’s studios during my university days, trying to learn everything I could. Browsing the Internet like crazy almost every day so I knew exactly how every single piece of equipment operated. I then started setting studios up for people and got some support from people who believed in me. The support and my gradually increasing income helped me setup what I have today.

What services does the studio offer, and would you say it is lucrative?
Yes it is lucrative. I produce for other artistes and I use very good equipment. I mix and master the tracks there. I also do movie soundtracks as well as adverts and voice-overs so it’s like a ‘one-stop’ shop all audio solutions.

When was your first single ever released and what was it?
It was called Mass Hysteria released in 2006. It was a hip-hop track that featured vocal samples of ‘Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’ and a friend of mine, Ima, who sang the chorus. I topped the charts in Abuja and enjoyed some good airplay.

You have a single on the airwaves now – tell us about it?
It’s called One More Chance. It’s a song I actually did ‘for myself’ initially, I wanted to dedicate a track to myself. I wrote the track at a time when I was really feeling down and depressed. I wanted something I could actually listen to and feel energized again, something bumpy that I could move my body to and get my rhythm back, something I could enjoy performing and most of all something with a great beat. I was really happy when everyone that heard it fell so in love with it. It felt really good because it was actually meant to be another album track initially. Felt like cooking a meal for yourself and everyone that comes around starts digging in because of the taste. I’ve got calls from even outside the country from two other countries from people who heard it on my Internet sites. It’s been on charts and still climbing. Hit Rhythm 94.7 Abuja ‘Hit Song of the Week’ the very day it was released. That particular one was awesome!

What are the other challenges you have faced in this industry?
Well, I’ve always had this unique thing about my music, my sound is really different and so a lot of people tend to always want to ‘advise’ me to do things they feel people want to hear. I’ve always been of the opinion that the listener should choose for himself or herself. My music is a sort of matured, from the production to the lyrics. This comes in with the issue of marketing. Since the Alaba boys currently handle our music distribution, it’s really difficult trying to get them to believe that music that isn’t raggaeton or dancehall can actually sell. I thank God for the times are changing and the listeners are beginning to have their say. Lastly, the major thing that always comes in when you’re running solo without a record label, the issue of resources. From manpower to financial resources, it tends to give you so much more stress to achieve something. Though it forces me to tend to be creative to find some other ways to get things done.

What shows have you performed in?
Quite a couple, from Rhythm unplugged to Malta Guinness events, to the Soundcity Music Festival. To some other private events back in Abuja.

What is your personal vision for your music?
I would love my music to cut across age, race, disposition and gender. Music that would be enjoyed by anyone who cares to follow his heart and is ready to enjoy music for its feeling and it’s message.

Who are your musical role models?
Wow, don’t know if I really have ‘role models’ per say. Everyone has skeletons in their closets, I admire Michael Jackson’s hard work to always be perfect at his craft (RIP), I admire Jay-Z’s ability to balance passion and business, I love Lauryn Hill’s ability to rap and sing and do both very well. So many others…

Which musicians are you feeling in Nigeria at the moment?
I’ve always been a fan of 2face from his first album. I have huge respect for the Mo-Hits crew, they produce good music and Don Jazzy is phenomenal. I like 9ICE’s unique sound and his approach to his lyrics. I also like a Nigerian born, U.K based artist called NAYO, I think her music is excellent, hope to do a track with her sometime.

And where do you see yourself in five years?
Performing and producing internationally; have my own fully blown production label. Also, possibly delve into some music for movies and probably be a tool for the upgrade in our Home made movies’ sound production. Also, I should have like four albums and two mixtapes by then. Of course, with some good money to go with it.

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