Kayode Wants To Tell Emotive Stories Through Music
the Lagos-based singer charts his ascendant journey
the Lagos-based singer charts his ascendant journey
In the early noughties, the music industry went digital. Spurred by the popularisation of mobile devices like phones and laptops, more artists and producers sprung around the country, contributing to its mosaic of sonic voices. The years since have been similarly productive, as self-reliant technologies have made it easier for people to pick up music. Kayode’s introduction to the art form was a mix of that and the traditional setting of the church, which influenced his love for instruments.
“My parents are Christians so they were always in church, and I was always in church,” he said to NATIVE Mag. “I was always drawn to instrumentals and I just grew a natural inclination for playing the piano and I started learning how to play the piano, mostly by myself. I had a teacher for a while but I just stopped going, then I basically developed the skill by myself. I learnt most of the stuff I knew on YouTube.”
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Before then, Kayode’s parents were avid lovers of music. His childhood was spent listening to Lagbaja and King Sunny Ade from his father’s playlist, and later in life, he grew up into the blog era which developed into influence from the likes of Lil Wayne, Wizkid, Burna Boy and Drake. “They just inspired me to move in my own direction,” he affirms. When Kayode turned eighteen, based in Ikorodu, he recorded his first single and though he didn’t want to share it with anyone, the reception he got from a friend and his brother, who urged him to continue making music, stuck with him; he wanted to become a musician.
Linked to Kayode’s ascendant star is the Lagos-based artist’s use of Instagram as a means of self-promotion. More than ever, young artists are showcasing their talent to the world, using the global mirror of social media. On the budding star’s IG account, there are several videos of him freestyles and doing covers of other artists’ songs, infusing his unique spin to their popular variations.
Around the period of 2019 and the following year, he moved from his home residence in Ikorodu to the Akoka axis of Yaba, where he attended the University of Lagos. It was a vibrant creative hub and that zeal to release music was an influence on Kayode, who was charting his own climb beyond scenic recognition. That won him the ears of a still-growing fanbase, following his music beyond the trail of content videos, and they have been rewarded, quite regularly, with good sound.
In 2020, he released the mixtape ‘Playtime is Over,’ a telling showcase of his zeal to grow using his art to plot his ascension. The records “On My Back” and “Look At You” utilised the floaty soundscape of cloud rap to pass important messages of living and love, while the Magicsticks-produced “Side Guy” nodded to audible Nigerian influences, from the colourful, quirky language to its bright percussions. Kayode has continued to release music, sharing ‘STILL FIGURING LIFE’ earlier this year, a collection of seven songs which explored the motions of young Nigerian existence.
“The project is basically as it is, still figuring life,” he says. “Like at a point in everybody’s life we’re into that realisation that we’re all still figuring life. This was just me at that point in my life where I’m still figuring out a lot of stuff. I like to make music about what I’m feeling and that was just how I was feeling at that certain point in my life and yeah, I made the music about it.”
Kayode’s amorphous creativity is revealed in songs like “All I Need” and “Chop This Life.” Whereas the former draws an evocative piano tune alongside the audible progressions of Drill, the latter belongs more in the Afropop territory, set on mellow drums. On “Blessings” the mercurial duo of Psycho YP and ODUMODUBLVCK-assisted feature, Kayode shares that everything came about seamless. He tells the NATIVE that he and Psycho (who delivered his verse in one take) sharing a mutual friend who set up the session.
Kayode’s sonic repertoire also includes his skills with mixing and mastering. “When I started writing music and I really needed to record music, studio sessions were very difficult to get,” he explains. These structural and financial hinderances delayed his plans for his dream. Eventually, Kayode was able to save up and purchase a laptop which he used to start recording his own original music. “The more I recorded, the more I understood what I was doing. Even at a point, I didn’t even know I was mixing and mastering; I just knew I was making my voice sound good,” he shares.
When asked about the audible influences in his work, Kayode is quick to cite his love for melodies. He wants to show the prospects of instrumentation, especially the piano, which is widely considered as the base of all music. Returning to his roots, Kayode traces where the sensibility comes from: “It just ties to my memory in church where—because most of the music we play in church were very melodious,” he says. “They spring out certain emotions in you and I feel like subconsciously, it has stuck with me where I listen to certain beats and I am just drawn to them.”
Like every goal-oriented artist, Kayode casts an ambitious gaze to the future. “Right now, I’m growing,” he says. “I’m not where I was last year; I’m certainly not where I was last two years. I’ve grown musically, the fan base is bigger, and yeah I’m hopeful for the future, I know there’s a lot more coming. I just want to keep putting out music for my fans. There’s endless opportunities coming and I’m just waiting and ready for everything that is about to come.”