African music is a giant that has been slept on, now on the global rise and spreading rapidly. Our musical genealogies offer cosmologies of mythology, remembrance, sonic archiving and avenues to be in communion and rhythmic celebration — with ourselves, each other, our histories and ancestors.
Omo, I don’t have a genre and I’m not going to put myself in a box just because people expect it. Anyone that wants to put me in a box is free to do so. As long as you are jamming and connecting to the gbedu, you can call it anything you want. If I do rock tomorrow, nobody should fight me.
Explains the calm confidence-oozing Lojay, speaking to NATAAL last year before hitting the stage for his performance at ART X Lagos Live. A statement, I dare say, that is reflective of African modalities of doing life across our dynamically distinct continent and thus of being in relationship with our creativity — rooted in the abundance of multiplicity.
Born Lekan Osifeso Junior in Lagos, Nigeria, the ‘Monalisa’ hit musician has collaborated with other African musical giants such as Wizkid, Sarz, Major League DJz, and if the success of his LV N ATTN EP is indicative of anything, it is that the young muso’s road ahead is sure to be a sweet one.
PITH Africa Co-Founder and Art Director, Adedayo Laketu sat down with Lojay talking early childhood memories, falling in love with music, influences and much more for Bubblegum Club.
Introduction by Bubblegum Club Editor: Lindi Mngxitama
Adedayo Laketu: What are some of your earliest childhood memories, what was growing up like for you?
Lojay: I grew up in Ikorodu. I’d say life there was very simple, very humble, not too much going on. It was just me and my family; my pops was away a lot and my mom was basically always around.
She was an incredibly God fearing woman, so I grew up listening to a lot of gospel music — I guess my first encounter with music was through the church and through my mom.
Adedayo Laketu: Can you remember when you fell in love with music, or began to fall in love with it?
Lojay: I was like 8 and I picked up a pair of drumsticks in the church and just started drumming. I always used to watch the drummer and would always want to sit in the front of the church so that I could see them while they played the drums. I just really like drums, I don’t know why.
Adedayo Laketu: So tell me about your journey from 2016 before ‘Monalisa’ — what has it felt like and how has your sound progressed?
Lojay: I mean, there were a lot of ups and downs and a lot of ins and outs, all the way to 2018.
I basically got back to Nigeria and started working with Telz. Telz is a producer — one of the producers who worked on Burna Boy’s album — he made about five songs on it. It was basically him and I in a small apartment just trying to make as much music we could.
That time, we had artists just popping by a lot; Buju would come around, Limerick would just come around, Tems would always come around, so it was basically like a ghost space with people just moving through it — an actual creative space for creating amazing music.
Then the pandemic happened and that was a major moment of clarity for me. I felt the need to just diversify and make more music with more intention. I spoke to one of my friends about it and he linked me up with Sarz, from there the rest is history.
Adedayo Laketu: One of the interesting elements about your sound is the lyricism and how you have this unique wordplay on songs, along with your range, which may be an influence of your upbringing.
How would you describe your process and what sets your music apart?
Lojay: I’m a very expressive person, I try to put as much truth as I can into my music.
My singing is just me. I don’t like to do anything “ordinary”, especially when I’m expressing myself, I always want to do it the most unique way possible.
My gusto with words ends up being like a cool play and I can be quite edgy. I’m not afraid of saying things as they are, I just have linguistic techniques I then apply. It’s just something that comes naturally in my process.
Adedayo Laketu: What are you working on now, what can we expect next?
Lojay: I’ve wrapped up my new EP with some amazing songs. Expect a lot of growth and a lot of evolution from the original Lojay sound. I’ve just been able to expand from LV N ATTN.
I feel like I’ve always had the mindset of, “if you fuck with what I did before, I’m sure you’ll fuck with what I’ll do after.”
I believe that whatever I do will be a step above whatever I did before. I believe in growth and the natural progression of things. In terms of performances, I really like to take my time to express my song artistically on stage.