I leave my audience with a sense of peace, says Michael Oloyede

Michael Oloyede is confident about the aftereffect of his music on the audience. The same impact he’s set out to make through his latest album. With a demeanour that hardly gives his deep musical gifts away, Oloyede has continued to reiterate readiness for what the future has in store for his musical gifts and aspirations.

In August this year, the multi-instrumentalist and fast-rising Afrobeat star released a single, entitled “Gbamiloju” which has considerably gained public acclaim. Meaning: “defraud me”, “Gbamiloju” is timely at this period of intense electioneering campaigns. It’s as if the omen of an unpleasant past hovers in the air like a miasma, there is anxiety that past mistakes could be repeated. 

It is against this backdrop the theme of the song crystalizes. Taking into cognizance the need to re-orientate the electorate, “Gbamiloju” explores the constant failure of the ruling class in fulfilling their election promises to the Nigerian populace. According to Oloyede, “the song embodies funky horns, energetic beats, laced with harmonies over a hypnotising bass groove – a sound dear to Afropop lovers.”

In this interview with Terh Agbedeh, the “Ma Bragado Mi” crooner believes he has carved a niche for himself in the Lagos music scene with his blend of Afrobeat and funk/pop, built on highly rhythmic Yoruba sounds. Some of his earlier songs are instrumentals with improvisations and sparse vocals.  Do have an enjoyable read.

Oloyede, who describes himself as a drummer, producer, educator and singer, says he has been doing music as a session man for at least 15 years. 

“Session man, meaning playing the drums on other people’s recording and performance projects locally and abroad. I have been privileged to work on a one-time or long basis with artists such as Lagbaja, SOMI, Asa, Marcus Miller, Cobhams Asuquo, Bob Fitts, David Baroni, Kaline, Perpie, Tosin  and many others.

“I have spent the greater part of my music career as a session musician and as such played varying genres of music like jazz, funk, Christian contemporary music, juju, pop, highlife and many more. While I still work as a session musician, I am currently focusing on contemporary Nigerian music. Having explored and played western styles of music, I felt the need to look inward to our local music, exploring works of the likes of King Sunny Ade, Fela, Lagbaja and continue from where they left off, adding my own twist and sound to it”.

On what motivates him to sing, Oloyede says he believes there are emotions and messages that he wants to communicate that are impractical to express on the drums, hence the reason he picked up the vocal microphone. 

“I also got support and encouragement from some of my friends who advised me to take that step. I have been a drummer for the most part of my life and it still takes topmost priority as my first choice of instrument. Being a drummer influences the rhythmic character and interaction within the rhythm section (i.e drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, conga and shekere) of my music”.  

The drummer who says he wants to leave his audience with a sense of peace and happiness each time they listen to his music on record or whenever they watch him perform live, adds that While talking about issues that affect lives, he intends to inspire and awaken the minds of listeners to the very essence of  existence which is love.  

As a drummer and singer, he says that he is mostly inspired by social issues plaguing the country and hopes to inspire change through music. 

“My latest song, for instance, is quite clear on this. Taken from my maiden album set to be released in November 2022, “Gbamiloju” is a Yoruba word which means “defraud me”. It’s about the awakening of minds of the Nigeria populace to the deceit of the ruling elite. As the 2023 elections draw near, I feel it’s important to sensitise the electorate, to enlighten them on the need to make informed decision on who should be their next set of leaders. This is a social cause”.

The musician who has been a part of many projects in the past says the most recent are two headline shows he did with his band “Native Brains” at the Alliance Francaise, Mike Adenuga Center, Ikoyi, Lagos on January 23rd 2020 and November 6th, 2020, were magical!

“I am currently working on my maiden album of nine songs as a drummer/singer/artist. My last three single releases represent the sound of the kind of Afrocentric music I do, especially the recently released “Gbamiloju”. These songs are quite different, as I am doing lots of singing, and they are less jazzy and instrumental based”.

Oloyede believes that his fans love what he and his band have done so far. 

“I think our fans love what we bring to the music scene and it’s just a matter of time for more people to join our course and appreciate even more what we do. We just need to get the songs out to the ears of the millions of music lovers”. 

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