Our NEXT UP series is a music discovery initiative which showcases the next big things in Afro-influenced music from across Africa and beyond! In this edition, we speak to promising Nigerian Afropop/Afrofusion artiste Ojayy Wright.
Ojayy Wright happens to be one of Africa’s most promising musicians. Like many musicians, Ojayy discovered his passion for music at a young age, a time when most of his peers hadn’t yet figured out their dreams. The songwriter who began his musical pursuit over a decade ago got his first taste of mainstream glory in 2016 with his song ‘MOFO’. He later dropped his debut album ‘37 Degrees in Lagos‘ in 2020.
Ojayy Wright’s music can be described as a fusion of versatility and cohesion, qualities that have earned him a cult following and fanbase as well as endorsements from African music heavyweights. The gifted musician is out with his latest body of work, a 7-track extended play that features Teni and Bad Boy Timz titled ‘Commander In Chief‘. As the title suggests, Ojayy is making raising awareness of his musical prowess in a bid to showcase his superiority in the music industry.
We caught up with him to get to know more about his musical influences, career aspirations, and his peculiar experiences as a young act on the come up in Africa’s most vibrant music industry.
1. Hello Ojayy Wright. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and how your musical journey began?
Well, my first name is Olugbenga, my last name is Amu-Wright. My Father is from Edo state and my mother is Yoruba. I started making music professionally in the studio in 2009 and my first mixtape dropped in 2010 called “Foreign Affairs.” The truth is I have been writing music since I was about 7 years old where I would play a ringtone of a Nokia phone and then record a freestyle to it on another phone.
2. How would you describe your genre of music?
I would say Afropop/Afrofusion.
3. What inspired your EP, Commander In Chief?
Definitely, a series of events because I get inspired by every little thing really but I would say a major source of inspiration was from a heartbreak I went through.
4. Who are your biggest musical influences in Africa and beyond?
In Africa, I grew up listening to 2Face Idibia (now known as 2Baba), D banj and P- Square of course. However, Davido, WizKid, Burna Boy and Olamide have done a lot for the culture. Outside of Nigeria, I love Michael Jackson and Lil Wayne.
5. What’s your philosophy in life that influences your creative work?
Nothing is Impossible.
6. What makes you the happiest: writing music, recording or performing on stage?
The actual process of writing the music makes me happy. I love to see the excitement on people’s faces when they hear something sweet that they haven’t heard before.
7. Would you like to change anything about the music industry in Nigeria?
I would say the financial structure as well as the unnecessary boycotting that goes on really. The financial structure is definitely getting better in terms of royalties from streams and digital sales but we can still improve when it comes to the media such as radio and TV. However, the whole segregation amongst artistes that should be unified to me makes no sense when the goal should be all about promoting Afrobeats/Afropop from Nigeria to the rest of the world.
8. What makes you stand out as an artiste?
My message and style and my mode of delivery.
9. What do you feel is the most pertinent issue in your society and what in your opinion is a musician’s role for being a force for societal change?
The lives of our youths are at stake. I think artistes have the voice to influence direct change in society but the truth is our government makes it difficult to be a force without the fear of losing one’s life/livelihood. Artistes are gifted with the voice, some more than others but, we have the basic responsibility of making the fans aware. It could either be about our personal lives, our friends or relatives, our emotions, environment, or society but the truth is when we sing and e sweet, people listen. So why not channel that energy into improving the lives of others. To me, that’s my duty to the human race.
10. What’s next for Ojayy Wright?
My next project is pretty much ready. Duro video is in the works but for now, you all should enjoy Commander in Chief the EP. Thank you for the interview.
Stream ‘Fuji Pop’ by Ojayy Wright ft Teni below: