Obongjayar shares highly anticipated debut album, ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’

Building on his wondrous knack for making profoundly affecting music

To describe Obongjayar as a unique artist would be stating the obvious. The British-Nigerian singer and songwriter born Steven Umoh emerged in the mid-2010s with a pair of deeply stirring EPs—‘Home’ and ‘Bassey’—dealing with heady and intensely personal themes over a simultaneously imposing and gauzy soundscape, with intricately woven cues from Electronic music, Ambient, Jazz, Afrobeat, and Soul.

In early 2020, he shared ‘Which Way Is Forward?’, a meditative and sometimes joyful rumination being Black in a white man’s world. That project exposed to a wider pool of listeners, and Obongjayar has since done his part to build on the momentum. Last summer, he partnered with Afropop producer and savant Sarz for ‘Sweetness’, an inventive, addictive and breezy punch of Disco-influenced neo-funk. He’s also collaborated with Little Simz, Pa Salieu, BOJ and more, consistently bringing his distinct flavour and artistry into a mainstream spotlight without losing its outré essence.


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All of this has set the stage for ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’, his highly anticipated, newly released debut album. Initially scheduled for a January drop, Obongjayar had pushed back the LP a few times, before settling on its May 13th release date. The album was preceded by several singles, including the searing, socio-political screed, “Message in a Hammer,” the uplifting “Try,” and romantically-tilted “Tinko Tinko (Don’t Play Me for a Fool).” They’re a representation of the album’s expansive yet deeply personal thematic range, showing Obongjayar’s wondrous knack for making profoundly affecting music.

Inspired by the seminal basketball documentary, Hoop Dreams’, Obongjayar recently told The NATIVE that the ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’ came about by “thinking about the idea of what it means to dream for so long, and then it doesn’t work out in the end.” The album comprises twelve songs, with a sole feature from acclaimed British jazz saxophonist, composer and band leader, Nubya Garcia. Similar to his last project, ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’ is entirely produced by Barney Lister, except for “All the Difference,” which was co-produced with J Rick.

Listen to ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’ below and read our Obongjayar profile here.