London-based Nigerian singer, Tomi Agape dropped her long-awaited debut project last December, following years of sporadic single drops and several memorable guest appearances, from Santi’s “Rapid Fire” to SDC’s “Love on Weekends”. The 8-track project, ‘Never Gunna Be the Same’, came in just a few weeks after she initially announced the tape with the release of the lead single, “Lovers Rock”, featuring BOJ and Amaarae. The single built anticipation for the tape and hinted at the passionate intent behind it with all three artists declaring their affection for their respective love interests and audaciously asking them to accept their advances. She remains hopelessly in love through most of the tape as she explores different romantic situations while showing off her R&B vocals and ability to make music that can get listeners to think, feel, and move.
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Though she made the songs on the EP during what she described on her Instagram as “one of the most difficult and uncertain years of her life”, you wouldn’t guess it from the charming lyrics and soothing harmonies she crafted with her team of producers, Despecialist, C Biggz, Le Mav, Whoelse, N2thea and Juls. Right from the opening track, “One Call Away”, we hear Tomi singing over a smooth jazz production as she encourages her muse to reignite their passion; “You don’t have to be alone, I’m in your zone/ won’t you pick up the phone?” Reminiscing about happy moments from past relationships is now at an all time high with the pandemic limiting our social interaction and Tomi served up a nostalgic jazz number to soundtrack the mood.
Her passionate reminiscing continued on “Those Days”, produced by N2thea. However, here she’s more aware of her lover’s shortcoming and sounds ready to move on despite still acknowledging the attraction she feels for him; “there’s no more fight inside us/ we’ll let go of what’s inside us”. It’d be heart-breaking if the instrumentals weren’t so upbeat as she attempts to walk the delicate line between R&B and dancehall. On the 5Yffe-assisted track, “Seasons”, she’s able to teeter more convincingly between dancehall, rap, and R&B as the two exchange affectionate lyrics over the catchy Afropop beat produced by Le Mav.
She reworks Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey’s “I Know What You Want” into a sultry Afropop bop on “Give it To Me”, one of the dancefloor-driven tracks from the tape and it showcases the potency of Tomi Agape’s seductive pen game; “Baby if give it to me, I’d give it to you/ get rid of your friends, I’d let go of me crew”. And though she remains inspired by romance on “This Way”, she’s examining her relationship with surgical precision, singing “Love has made me this way/ take time with my emotions/ time by my lonesome” as she ultimately recognises that romance isn’t always a bed of roses. Her introspection gets even heavier on the next track, “London”, a pre-released single where she narrates how uses music as her escape from the struggles of living in London.
Tomi’s captivating voice and her brilliant songwriting allow her music to penetrate to the soul whether she’s singing about smoothly sailing romantic relationships or dysfunctional ones. While we’re struggling to make the most of these uncertain times we’re in today, Tomi Agape’s debut is quite the soothing affair, putting words to emotions that many of us are feeling today.
Stream Tomi Agape’s ‘Never Gunna Be The Same’ below.
Featured Image Credits: Instagram/tomiagape
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