NATIVE Premiere: Curtis J preaches on a “Sweeter Love”

"Love should never fail, and if it fails then it was never love."

Signed to DJing sensation, Tiffany Calver’s No Request label earlier this year, Curtis J is a UK-bred self-defined “Afro artist,” whose Yoruba heritage and South London upbringing meld together in a familiarly tantalising way. Beginning his music career during sixth form, between the ages of 16 and 18, the 23-year-old, born Curtis Oyemade, released his debut EP ‘The Ride’ in 2018 and has since got acknowledging looks from Tion Wayne, a collaboration with Darkoo and studio time with the likes of King Promise.

Whilst his previous releases this year – “Check Your Balance” and “The Man” – have been confident, boastful and fit to spark up the party, Curtis J’s newest single, “Sweeter Love” is a mellow notch in the singer’s belt. Though “Sweeter Love” is the latest addition to Curtis J’s catalogue, it’s a fresh showing for the UK-based Afropop newbie. He trades out witty jabs and self-aggrandisement for heartfelt professions of love, and, in doing so, proves his versatility and willingness to tap into different pockets.

The “love” bag is one every Pop artist gets into at one point, and Curtis J is making sure he’s doing it sweeter, with the expert help of MRMTMMG, who directs the song’s indispensable music video. Opening with a wedding banquet, set to the sound of a delectable sax, “The Man”’s follow-up is a celebration of Black love in all its glory; particularly resonant with Black British couples and individuals. From flirtatious beginnings on the red benches of a London bus shelter to grand ceremonies in picturesque castles, “Sweeter Love” portrays a coveted romance that provides security, fun and genuine companionship.

With an Afro-swing inclination, as ever, Curtis J makes known his Yoruba identity throughout the record, shuttling between Yoruba and English with the same chic with which he dons traditional attire from Yorubaland. Short but indeed sweet, Curtis J’s newest record is a promising offering for the UK Afrobeats newcomer, who is doing his bit to ensure the long-lasting future of the sound.

Ahead of the official release of Curtis J’s “Sweeter Love”, for our exclusive premiere of the single, The NATIVE chopped it up with the artist. We learn about the budding act’s musical inspirations, how his cultural background defines him, his ideal wedding and what he wants the fans to know about “Sweeter Love”.

What inspired you to tap into the love song pocket for this track

I made this song a couple of months back in the studio with OluwaJBeats, it was a pretty late night, and I was, more or less, in the mood to make a love song. He made the beat and automatically I knew that this was a song that was going to be about love. So, I went in, started recording and haven’t looked back since. Big shoutout to OluwaJBeats for making that beat, honestly.

What role has your Yoruba heritage played in your music-making? 

I’ve always looked up to the likes of Wizkid, Davido, and many more; seeing how they use their language in the music has led me to use it in my own sound. It’s always something I feel I’ve been talented at, but I just needed some inspiration to kick start it.

If you were to remix this song, who would you want to be on it?

Oooooo interesting question! If I was to remix ‘Sweeter Love’, I believe Wizkid and Tems would be the perfect fit! I can just imagine them dropping the sweetest verses on the song, that would be so perfect, so those are my two options because choosing one person is so hard!

UK Afrobeats is now a mainstay genre in the mainstream, how has the growth of Afropop worldwide inspired you as an artist in the diaspora?

Being an Afrobeats artist in the diaspora is great, I imagine that’s the same for artists worldwide – it’s become a loved genre, and I’m very appreciative to be a part of this. I get to embrace my African heritage daily in my art. It’s who I am, and what influences me to continue making the music I am making.

Where would your dream wedding be? 

My dream wedding would be somewhere in New York City, or Hollywood where the sun shines bright, and weather is hot. Maybe in front of a few thousand people for the party, but I would keep the ceremony intimate with just family. That would be the vision one day, if granted.

When people listen to “Sweeter Love”, what do you want them to take away from the song most? 

I would love for people to watch the visuals alongside the sound so that they can feel the emotions that are flowing through the project as a whole. But what I really would like them to take away from this is that love is sweet, when you find your love it is very sweet #SweeterLove.

What is your definition of “Sweeter Love”?

My definition of Sweeter Love is a love that never fails. Love should never fail, and if it fails then it was never love – that’s how I see it, but again, that’s my personal definition. I would like to hear other people’s definition of that and see what they think about it. Tag me in your answers on Twitter, @officialcurtisj and on IG too, @officialcurtisj!

Get an exclusive first listen of “Sweeter Love” below:

Image Credits/DFR