What’s up, PGM fam? We’re excited about the weekend. In line with giving, you the very best music content, we deliver this special exclusive with talented Soul singer-songwriters who used to go by Preyé Itams. She’s now Preyé, and she joins us to give us the story of the new Preyé, her journey, how finding God is shaping her as a better artist, and her latest single, Red Wine, a call to rediscovering your sexy in this month of love. Of course, the conversation swerves into wine tasting and everything sweet as she hooks us up with some very intriguing music.
Hi Preyé, it’s nice chatting with you again. It’s been a while. In 2019 we had you for the first time on the PGM Radio to discuss your song Love Fumes with us. Can you tell us what has changed between that time to now?
From Love Fumes to now? There’s been a lot of self-evolution and a lot of letting go of the trauma and things I felt were holding me back. I’ve been growing into newer versions of myself, who I was as an artist in 2019 and where I am now are two opposite ends of the same spectrum of Preyé. Last year I found God, and it was one of the best feelings ever. I feel like I’m where I’m meant to be; I’m on my path to full recovery and getting to know more of myself.
So, re-introduce yourself: as Preyé as the musician, how would you describe yourself?
I am someone who writes and sings songs that are the soundtrack to people’s lives. I am a female singer who makes songs that inspire, entertain, and make space for women. I’m more expressive now, in the past I wasn’t as comfortable sharing more intimate parts of myself. Now that I understand myself better as a person and as an artist, I can share her with the world.
If I’m getting you right, you’re saying Preyé is evolving into a more vulnerable artist, right?
Yeah, more vulnerable! Yes! Because there is power in vulnerability, there is strength in vulnerability. It takes a lot to be vulnerable, you know, and I think I am at a place where I understand that now, for myself, my younger self, and others.
So, the journey of finding God kind of engineered this change. What was that like?
It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. It’s better than… It’s something I can’t describe. But it’s so pure, and it comes with so much love. You feel loved, the kind that will make you tear up. It wasn’t like I didn’t know God. I knew God, but I didn’t know him for myself; as they say, it’s a personal journey. Before, it felt like God was outside the room but still with me, but now it feels like God is inside the room.
What would you say was that spark or event that brought you to this realization?
For the longest time, I’ve had this mentality that I had to be there for myself and do all these things by myself. It got to a point where I was overwhelmed, it felt like I was spreading myself too thin but now I put God at the center of my life. I used to have so much anxiety but now I fully surrender to God, and I let him just use me and it’s been like, wow so this is what I’ve been missing?
Walk us through your childhood, what it was like? What did you grow up listening to?
I was born in Lagos but moved around a lot. My family eventually just settled in Benin. I had a very controlled, chaperoned childhood because Benin can be a crazy place. I remember going to school and seeing the head of a beheaded girl just by my gate, just to give you a glimpse of how crazy Benin was. After Benin, I went to Covenant University, and then I left for Canada.
My parents have great taste in music. Growing up I listened to a wide range of genres of music like Jazz – Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong. I listened to Soul, like Yani, Enya, Kenny G, you know (laughs) just so many. I listened to so much music growing up. I was also a very creative kid and I’m still a creative person till now. I studied Engineering at Covenant though, because of Nigeria, but since then I’ve been getting my creative juices back, reaching back to my inner child; I’m painting more, I’m drawing more, I create so many things, not just music. I’m fully hands-on like I was when I was growing up (laughs)
What’s your ritual when you want to create?
Mine is more of a lifestyle I have tried to maintain over the years. First, eating healthy helps me a lot with singing. Working out, I work out a lot. I make my own tea. I use lemon and pineapples. I do my vocal warm-ups every morning. I also steam. I can’t have food in my system before recording, only like water or tea because If I eat, it’s like a different spirit takes over (laughs). Sometimes I just listen to sounds like rain or the forest to try to calm my mind and see what comes out because, at the end of the day, everything you’re looking for is pretty much inside you. It’s a process but you just must trust yourself.
At what point in your life did you decide to do music?
First, I didn’t even know that I could sing. It was my friends in secondary school that’ll sing and I’ll join in any random song they’re singing, and they’ll be like “yo, you can actually sing” and “I’m like, oh, mad!” So, it took me a while to start hearing myself. I wasn’t even quite comfortable with calling myself an artist until 2018. From 2015, I was pretty much-making music. I was like, let me see what this thing is. I made my first song with Tay Iwar in 2014 and I remember when I was recording it and I was so nervous and was shaking. The recording was not that great initially because my anxiety was so bad. That was in 2018 and I was like ok, this is what I want to do. But it was like when I said that the universe was like yeah, let’s see if you’re really about this and everything that could go wrong, went wrong!
I was always angry, always on edge. Like God, what are you tryna tell me? What is the universe trying to tell me? That was the period I was in Canada as well, so it was so cold. I was depressed. I was trying to busk at train stations and stuff (laughs) and it was just so bad. There was a time when I almost died in the cold.
Slowly though things started coming back. It started making sense, like ok, you had to do this in order to understand this, you had to experience this in order to experience that. I’m just so grateful. It was in 2018, I was like yes! I am an artist, for myself. Prior to that people were calling me a singer, songwriter. People were already calling me so many things and I was like yo, I don’t know o but ok. That self-realization of being an artist was like in 2018 for sure.
The only way to deal with all of that was only go through it? There’s no other way?
You must go through it, you can’t go around it, you can’t go underneath. You must go through it.
How did you eventually settle for your style of music? Would you say you’re a Jazz or Soul singer?
My style is a fusion of so many things because I grew up listening to so many people. I am an R&B, Soul singer Afrofusionist. I like jazz, I like soul, I like Afrobeat. My voice is very melodic. I’m in a phase where I am exploring the softness of my voice. I’m trying to fuse this with Alternative or Contemporary R&B or Soft Rock. I don’t wanna put myself in a box, but I’ll say I am an Afrofusion R&B singer.
Do you consider yourself experimental enough to try some obscure genre or sound?
Yes, I am adventurous. It’s crazy that you asked because I love trying new things. There’s also something I’ve noticed about myself. I’m very spontaneous. You don’t really know what I’m going to give you guys. When I dropped Love Fumes people were like huh? What’s going on? And the previous song that I released prior to that was more like an intense African song with Davina Oriakhi. I do have some electronic songs that I’ve worked on with my friend and producer Major Distraction. There’s no limit to what I can do and what God can do through me. So yeah, for sure.
Could you tell us some of the artists you’d like to work with both locally and internationally?
Locally. I’d love to collaborate with Asa, that’s somebody I’ve always listened to. She was one of the first Soul Alternative acts to push the boundaries in Nigeria. I feel like she’s a pioneer and legend in her own right. So, I’d really love to do a song with Asa. I’ll also really love to work with Tomi Owó. I have something in the works with her. I want to work with more female artists. I’d also love to do a song with ShowDemCamp eventually.
But you’ve kinda featured on a project with them
I have. I was on The Collective.
Yes, The Collective. I remember because we premiered that project
Yes, you did. Shout out to you guys at PGM (laughs)
I mean shoutout to you guys. You guys create the magic. Shoutout to y’all
Thank you! Internationally, I would really love to do a song with Jacob Collier, because our vocal production styles are very similar and I learned so much about vocal stacking watching his stuff on YouTube and I think he’s just so cool and he’s such a mastermind, and such a great instrumentalist. I’ll also love to work with Robert Glasper, Pharrell Williams, Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande because I love her so much. I’d love to do a song with Amber Mark.
My favorite potential collab though would be Frank Ocean. If he ever wants to collaborate with anyone from this part of the world (laughs) I’m forever down. Even if the record doesn’t come out, I just want to be in the studio with him and see how he works, his process, because I think he’s also a legend of his time. Then there’s Janelle Monae. I’d also love to write with Stacy Barthe and Sia. I’m also not only interested in artists, but I also want to work with songwriters, instrumentalists, pianists, whoever! I’d really like to delve into that world, like Fatouma from Mali for example.
Some of the names you’ve mentioned are quite intriguing. Robert Glasper?
Robert Glasper is a Drummer. He plays the piano as well. He’s worked with Lalah Hathaway, he’s worked with Erykah Badu, he’s worked with lots of the great artists in America. Jill Scott, you name it. He’s worked with the best vocalists we have right now.
I’d also love to work with Kaytranada who I think is an amazing producer.
Yeh, Katran did an amazing job on the record ‘Girl’ of the ‘The Internet’s Ego Death album. His strum of electric bass layered over by a spectral synth and dreamy keys gave the record a transcending hypnotic feel. It was off the chain!
The Internet is so amazing. I saw them once in Canada. They are so great live. Lacy is a beast on the Guitar, Syd is so great with the crowd, and she winked at me which is crazy (laughs).
What inspires your music, you did say you make music that are soundtracks to people’s lives.
So many things inspire my music because we are such complex beings. There are so many things I try to draw from and investigate for inspiration. First, God and then nature is also great source of inspiration. Listening to people’s experiences that are close to me. Their love lives, their failures, their wins. Learning from my mother directly, learning from my sister, my father. Learning from what’s going on in society right now, just trying to really look deep into the essence of things and just sort of learning from that and adding that to my own experience. I am always learning and unlearning, and I use that process to create something memorable and beautiful.
Based on the lessons you have also learned doing music professionally, what advice will you give to other young women who want to start out their own music career?
Trust the process.
You’re really about this process. What does it really mean to be about it?
Yes, because there really are a lot of ups and downs. Life is filled with so much uncertainty. It’s like yeah, you wanna do music and you start tryna put yourself out there and trust me, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s like, will you continue? Would you still have the passion?
There were a lot of times I was like music is starting to get the best of me. I don’t think I want to be around this for now. But something about me that I figured was that I always came back.
When it comes to the industry, you can’t come with an entitled mindset. You must put in the work. You must be patient; you must trust the process. A lot of people are not going to come through, but you must keep pushing yourself. I have so much respect for creatives because it takes so much to wake up, and it takes a lot to create something and put it out there open for people to criticize it.
I say trust the process because nobody gives a shit. The process is where you either quit or you keep ongoing. I believe in myself so much to the point that even if all these “experts” are telling me it’s not going to work or this is what it’s supposed to be, I’m not going to be easily swayed. I’m not going to give in. I’m not going to change my art to a point where it’s going to be “more palatable” to other people.
You must build yourself; you must build your character; you must build a community. In my process, I realized that people are looking for R&B, Soul artists to listen to. They are looking for those guys doing different music, the diamond in the rough. So, I just have to keep pushing harder and trust that eventually, it will do well.
What would you lend your voice to? A social cause. Do you consider yourself a feminist for example?
We should all be feminists.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism is equal rights. It’s treating people like human beings and not refusing them their rights for any reason. It’s really about equity and fair play for everyone.
Tell us about your latest single
My latest single, Red Wine is about me embracing my sensuality and owning the power that comes with expressing it unapologetically. I want people to feel sexy when listening to it because sexiness is a strong mix of confidence, self-expression, and self-awareness.
It’s for the lovers, it’s for the girls. It’s a sip of what’s to come. I’m very excited about it. I wanted to align it with the month of love because it’s all about love, not just lovemaking. It’s about love for myself; about me being a deep pleasure, me being the je ne sais quoi, me being that powerful and just owning that attribute and just wanting everybody to feel the same way when you listen to it.
Why did you call the new single Red Wine?
Because I wrote it on Red Wine(laughs) I love red wine and I drink it. I’m also very intrigued by the process of making wine. Time is the essence in wine, like the saying goes, ‘ages like fine wine’. We should all drink Wine, even Jesus’ back in the day was out here turning water into wine (laughs).
Do you prefer sweet wine when you’re romantically involved? Does the taste or type of wine particularly influence anything around you or your life?
It doesn’t really matter to me. I just like the taste whether it’s sweet or not sweet. I do prefer sweet however because sometimes you just want that sweet accent at the back of your throat.
So, your single is coming out on the 11th of February, which is 3 days from Valentine’s Day?
A little birdie told us you have a video coming out.
Yeah, and it’s looking nice. I am very pleased with how it’s coming along, and I can’t wait for it to be finished and out.
Can you tell us when that will be out?
I want it to be a surprise.
Ok, is it still going to drop in the month of love?
Yeah, it is going to drop in the month of love.
What were your top 3 songs from 2021?
That’s a very hard question because there were so many songs that came out that I loved. I would say one is Please Don’t Make Me Cry by Lianne La Havas. I feel like she’s probably me in another lifetime. I listen to that song on repeat. I also listened to Madison Ryann Ward; she released this song called Wanda. It’s an inspirational song, so amazing, I put it on repeat. Then the last one Sua Alma, I can’t remember the name of the artist but it’s an Italian artist and it’s an amazing song as well.
Well, thank you Preyé. You’ve put us onto some nice songs. We’ll check them out. Who are you currently listening to now?
I am listening to Amber Mark, she dropped an album of 12, 13 songs. She’s so good. I’m listening to Men I Trust or something. It’s the name of a band but they dropped this album, and the songs on there are so good. I’m also listening to Adele’s album and some songs on there are also good.
Red wine drops this month. Are we looking to get other projects from Preyé? You mentioned you’re going to be more consistent now
Yes, I am. I’ll be dropping a new project later this year. I’m excited to finally do it because it’s basically like a new beginning. Before then though expect two singles soon!
Just to let you know we’re excited that you’re back in the game and you’re putting out new music!
One final question I want to ask. Now, that you’ve been in Nigeria for at least two years. How can you sum your return from Canada? Just give us one sentence on how you would sum that whole experience from coming back.
I would say turbulent, bold, and life-changing. I’m more rooted. I was moving a lot but now I feel more in tune with my right soul here. I can finally feel the sand under my feet. I’m excited.
Preyé, thank you for making out time to come hang with us.
Thank You, PGM for having me!
Dear Good Music Lovers, you listen to Preye’s latest single Red Wine here and let us know what you think.