Muyiwa Akhigbe

Muyiwa Akhigbe And BankyOnDBeatz Release Joint EP, “Hard Guy”

Muyiwa Akhigbe and BankyOnDBeatz have taken their singer-producer bond to another level as they release a joint body of work titled “Hard Guy.” This EP is the product of a journey that began about a year ago, which we first had a taste of with ‘Bamilo’ – a soothing love number in which Muyiwa appeals to his love interest join him in slipping away.

This is a journey that led them to new sonic frontiers, one that led them to the creation of their own sound which they call AfroFuturist. And ever since, they have gone on to dish this genre-bending sound to us in different shades across their subsequent releases, ‘Outta My System’, ‘Better’ and ‘Hold You Down’ featuring Boom General.

But this new EP, “Hard Guy” is just another voyage that sees us being softly transported from a place of emotional toxicity to purity. Across the six tracks on the EP, Muyiwa and BankyOnDBeatz tell a story that slowly morphs from heartbreak to rediscovery. The entire project guests no one but a spoken word artist, Oreoluwa Macaulay. It would also come as a surprise to many that the EP features no pre-released single save for ‘Bamilo’.

Hard Guy Cover 2

Tracklist for “Hard Guy” (photography by Dennis Onunwa)

This project comes about a year after Muyiwa teamed up with Rhye Ali to released a thematic collaborative project titled “Conversations.”

Enjoy the project above and let us know what you think.

Muyiwa Akhigbe is on an unending artistic journey

In an oversaturated music industry teeming with young and vibrant acts, Muyiwa Akhigbe is part of a cadre of acts bent on standing out. He appears to be playing the long game, constantly exploring the road less travelled sonically rather than hopping on radio-friendly and club-ready formulas.

After experimenting with several other genres, Muyiwa seems to have found an anchor in what he describes as Afro-futurist sound. This is a fresh genre he stumbled upon while working in the studio with friend and frequent collaborator, BankyOnDBeatz. This new sound is a refreshing potpourri of Afrocentric and western futurist sounds spiced with elements of funk, afro-jazz and EDM.

In his words, “Afro-Futurist is a blend of Western Futuristic sound and also Afrocentric sound. When I mean Western, we are taking elements from EDM, House, and a little bit of their contemporary Pop and fusing it with the Afrocentric theme music that we have.”

Muyiwa and BankyOnDBeatz have now gone on to release four successive joint records that have been received with open arms. And what started as just an exploration of new musical complexities is now slowly building up into a project. Muyiwa even promises it could morph into something way bigger.

For their last 2019 release, ‘Better’, they both caught many off-guard with their promo run. They made customized cover arts for fans, industry go-to-guys as well as music influencers which were used as Twitter avatars and headers.  This simple but brilliant promo move sent ripples around Nigeria’s Music-Twitter community. People got curious. Everyone was trying to make sense of what was going on, thereby spiking anticipation for the coming single.

For ‘Better’ things were different. That song is already one of my best-performing songs of all time. The whole album art thing reduced the stress for me. It made people want to listen to the song,” Muiywa tells me over the phone. 

The 25-year-old singer is also a strong believer of collaborations. Just before the string of releases with BankyOnDBeatz, he released a joint project. Teaming up with rising lyricist, Rhye Ali, Muyiwa dropped a thematic rap mixtape titled “Conversations.”

“Art is just a journey that we pass through every day of our lives and we don’t know where it would end. So it is me just wanting to experiment with things and the idea of collaborations is one of them,” he says

PGM:  Why are you big on collaborations?

Muyiwa: Art is a form of expression and I like the idea of shared expressions. The whole concept of ‘let’s bring our expressions together and see what comes out of it’. Just because it’s art and it’s supposed to be unique. Art is just a journey that we pass through every day of our lives and we don’t know where it would end. So it is me just wanting to experiment with things and the idea of collaborations is one of them. 

PGM:  So how do you choose the people that you work with? Is there a process or method to it?

Muyiwa: I trust my instincts a lot. I don’t put too much thought into it. If I wake up tomorrow and tell myself I want to do a joint project with someone, shortly after that time the person would just come to my mind and I’d know that yes, this is the person.

PGM: Over your past few releases, you’ve been working solely on your new Afro-futurist sound with BankyOnDBeatz. Why did you decide to get involved with that?

Muyiwa: I am a non-conformist. I like to travel the road less used. In most cases, I’m just unconventional in my approach. I just thought to myself that the way sounds have evolved over the years, I want to be part of the people who have contributed to the advancement of sound as a whole. So threading a new part, trying to mix different sounds to create a new one is also part of that journey. Afro-Futurist music is something that in a couple of years, people would see why there is a need for it. It’s just good for someone to start so that others can continue.

PGM: How did this sound come together?

Muyiwa: At first it was like a coincidence. And then it happened again and I was like, there is a pattern here and this cannot just be some coincidence. So we went back and started doing stuff. Afro-Futurist is a blend of Western Futuristic sound and also Afrocentric sound. When I mean Western, we are taking elements from EDM, House, and a little bit of their contemporary Pop and fusing it with the Afrocentric theme music that we have. The percussion and everything it represents. The Africanness and the chords, the progressions are not normal. Everything that we have laid down has tried to bring this sound out as very intentional.

PGM: Is this all building up to a project?

Muyiwa:  This is building up to so many things if I’m being honest. As I said, art is a journey and you just have to keep going through it, experiencing it. Whatever it throws at you, you just see it as a challenge or as a good thing and just keep going. So in this case also, it is not only going to lead to a project. It’s going to lead to other projects and as long as we keep creating and as long as we keep staying true to what we are here for then the sky is the starting point. 

PGM: So given this climate whereby streaming has affected the way we consume music. Albums are slowly losing their relevance and sanctity. Do you believe in the sanctity of albums?

Muyiwa: As an artist, you don’t just wake up, or say you just started singing a year before and say you want to release an album. An album for me is that you’ve fully understood your sound. You’ve also understood your audience and you’ve found a way of making your sound and your audience meet at a middle ground. So that when it’s being released, they catch it the way you want them to catch it. If you’ve been able to figure out these three things then you can now say you are ready to work on an album. So it’s a thing of going through the process. That’s why we have stuff like EPs and mixtapes to see what works for you and what does not work for you. 

Like I told you it’s just a journey. And even when you do the album, it might not be efficient in those three areas. But then it’s just part of the journey so that the next one can be greater. So yes, I think albums are very necessary. Even mixtapes and EPs are winning “Album of the Year” at the Grammys. It’s part of your digital resume as an artist. It’s your legacy. You’d be known by those things that you put out.

PGM: On your imminent project do you have any persons you’re working with?

Muyiwa – The project is very dynamic. In terms of artists, we only featured one person and she’s a spoken word artist. But there are other features from artists but not like singing and all of that. We kind of picked off some of the elements on “Conversations” into this one that we are working on. 

PGM: What and who are your biggest influences? 

Muyiwa:  I’d start with what. I’m influenced by life itself. Life experiences, the things we see every day, that’s like my first source of inspiration. Abstract phenomenon also. I could sing about clouds just because I feel good looking at them. I’m also inspired by moods. When it comes to what, it’s daily happenings, abstract happenings and my mood. 

But when it comes to who, I try to consume a lot. I could get inspired by anyone and any type of music. It could just be the way the drums go on this and I’d be like this is mad, I need to adopt this. But without any argument, everybody knows that Brymo is the one whose music has been influential to my kind of music. There are two songs in my first project “Dear Music” that sounded like Brymo. Basically, alternative music in Nigeria. It’s from the alternative sound and also the alte sound. I try to listen to many of these people and they influence me even sometimes without knowing. Just because I have been exposed to their content, the influence could just pop up. 

PGM: So what is Muyiwa doing when he’s not doing music?

Muyiwa:  I’m doing 9 to 5 (laughs). I am an art director at an advertising agency so that’s what I’m on when I’m not doing music. 

PGM: Are you independent? How has it been navigating this industry as an independent act?

Muyiwa – Yes, I am independent. I am not signed to any imprint but I have mine which I started two years back – OLMA Records. And for navigating, na as the gbas gbos dey come daily na so we dey fight am. Every day, you’d just experience one new challenge that you didn’t expect. But because we love what we do, we’d find a to colter. And once we are done with that, we move to the next challenge. As we keep meeting them, we continue giving them gbas gbos with God on our side and hard work. It has been an adventurous journey and it will still be. 

This interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity. 

BankyOnDBeatz & Muyiwa Akhigbe drop ‘Hold You Down’ with Boom General

Still in the season of love, BankyOnDBeatz and Muyiwa Akhigbe are back with their third Afro-futurist team up titled ‘Hold You Down’. And on this record they bring along a guest, Boom General as they expand their freshly crafted sound to new frontiers.

Last year, the pair joined forces to craft a new sound which they introduced us to with ‘Outta My System’. They took it a step further with the well-received ‘Better’ and now they introduce us to another facet of the nascent and mutating sound.

Over the scintillating BankyOnDBeatz’ production, Muyiwa reassures his lover of his affection, letting her know he’s always got her back.

Boom General in the closing verse comes through with a scene-stealing feature coming through with his patios-laced verse wrapped in an airtight delivery. He finds a home in this dancehall influenced sound and he takes it home leaving a solid impression on first-time listeners.

The pair has made a promise of an adventurous sonic experience and with this new release, ‘Hold You Down’ they are making good on that promise.

Listen to the record here.

Listen To Muyiwa Akhigbe And BankyOnDBeatz’s New Record, ‘Better’

After introducing their Afro-futurist sound with ‘Outta My System‘, the sweet-singing Muyiwa Akhigbe and super genre-bending producer, BankyOnDBeatz are taking the newly pioneered sound to another level with their new single, ‘Better‘. This is just a peek into what they’ve been working on for a while now and it’s already promising to be an adventurous sonic experience. 

Their Afro-futurist creation is a refreshing potpourri of Afrocentric and futurist sounds with funk, afro-jazz and EDM as its core elements.

‘Better’ is a soothing reaffirmation of love. Across the record, Muyiwa sings with a soulful realness that drives this heartfelt love manifesto right home. He recognises that romantic relationships aren’t just sunshine and rainbows and things get rough and ugly sometimes. But when this happens, he is ready to tough it out with her. “In times of trouble, I wan dey by your side” Muyiwa sings.

Listen to the single here.

Muyiwa Akhigbe Introduces His Afro-Futurist Sound On ‘Outta My System’ With BankyOnDBeatz

Three months after their initial team-up on their soothing love record,’Bamilo‘, Muyiwa Akhigbe and BankyOnDBeatz have joined forces on a new number titled ‘Outta My System’. Earlier this year, he also dropped a stellar joint EP with Rhye Ali titled “Conversations.”

With this new record, Muyiwa Akhigbe attempts to introduce his branded afro-futurist sound. Produced by BankOnDBeatz, ‘Outta My System‘ is reminiscent of Daft Punk’s futurist sonic aesthetic prevalent on ‘Motherboard‘.

This is a sad tale of a love turned sour. The romance has run its course and an exhausted Muyiwa is done having it. He calls it quits as all he wants now is to move and get over his jilted lover.

Listen to the record above and let us know what you think.

Bankyondbeatz Teams Up With Muyiwa Akhigbe On ‘Bamilo’

Just last week, Afro-soul sensation, Muyiwa Akhigbe shared photos of himself cooking something up in a makeshift studio with Bankyondbeatz –one of the prolific producers championing the new wave – and the result of that session is here already. Having worked with the likes of Ninola, Reminisce, BOJ and a cross-section of new-gen acts, Bankyondbeatz taps Muyiwa for his latest release titled ‘Bamilo‘, which directly translates to ‘come with me’.

On this soothing love number, a besotted Muyiwa appeals to his love interest to yield to his advances and go with him. As smooth as ever, the sweet-voiced singer details exactly how she makes him feel and admits his desperation to be with her.

As expected, Bankyondbeatz came through on the production end of the record, lacing the instrumental with strutting guitar riffs and soft but scintillating talking drum rhythms in the background.

Enjoy this new afro-pop single above.

Uzikwendu & Muyiwa Akhigbe premiere new projects on the PGM Radio Show

Uzikwendu premieres most anticipated single ‘Rappers’ and Muyiwa Akhigbe plays new EP ‘Conversations’ to the Push Good Music Club

Muyiwa Akhigbe And Rhye Ali Release Joint “Conversations” EP

Muyiwa Akhigbe, a gifted soul singer who now doubles as a rapper has teamed up with rising lyricist, Rhye Ali and producer, Trill Xoe to create and release a new joint EP titled “Conversations“. This project which is actually Muyiwa’s sophomore EP is a highly experimental one for the act as he leaves his comfort zone to create a thematic hip-hop project with a skilled rapper.

True to its name, the 9-track EP opens with a recorded phone conversation in which Muyiwa reaches out to his partner-in-crime Rhye and convinces him to work with him on this project. This, however, is just the first of five conversations in the project, each one recorded over the instrumental of the following record. Through these conversations and records, these artists present a soulful realness and detailing to their realities as youths and young creatives in this country.

Tracklist for “Conversations” EP (Twitter/MuyiwaAkhigbe)

This is, therefore, a highly relatable project as the pair rap and discusses topics and themes that every twenty-something in this city should familiar with.  As mentioned earlier, this EP is solely produced by Trill Xoe and engineered by David Rotimi. Enjoy.

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