Essentials: Tadé’s ‘Omo’ pays homage to Nigeria’s contemporary greats.

Referencing Asa and doing it decently is never not a good idea

TadeDoes it get any more ambitious that opening your debut EP with a cover of an impossibly successful Nigerian’s best loved song? Well that’s exactly what Toronto based Nigerian singer/songwriter Tadé does on his debut EP ‘Omo‘. He opens the album with a stretched out acoustic reinterpretation of Asa’s dearly beloved “So Beautiful”, and does it moderate justice, though his version nary holds a candle to Asa’s. But it does set the tone for the rest of the album which has a surprising amount of self awareness and little inside jokes and asides. This is how Tadé describes the album.

Conceptually, it is a 4-song project that touches on life, love, family and growth. Embedded within the EP is a story of a boy coming of age, from birth to discovering love, his idea of life and its meaning, and then building a family so he too can pass down the knowledge he has picked up on – both from the teachings of his mother and of life.

But “Beautiful” is where the World Music references end, the rest of the album is firmly contemporary, we’d even dare go as far calling it Afropop with strains of R&B, especially on the album’s second single “Motions”. He delivers a droning tale of love stuck in the rut of complacency, with uptempo guitar licks and an isolated piano loop that works like an adlib, adding flourish to the dips in the song’s melody. But the mix of Aubrey-esque confessional lyrics, monotonous delivery and the occasional electronic manipulation seems to work to make everything cohesive.

“Donor”, the EP’s strongest song has strong soul roots and Tadé tries his hand at Rap, evoking vibes of contemporary British soul that gained prominence on the 90’s. Guest vocals by Magalie are an unexpected boon to the song and the chemistry between the two is undeniable.

Omo is an interesting debut, with a lofty press packet and decent song, but it seems as though Tadé is still finding himself as an artist. Vocal classes and a little more focus will do wonders for his next project.

Listen to Omo Here.

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