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West African Rhythm and Blues with Funbi

What is life without a soundtrack? We all grew up listening to and loving RnB music; in fact it influenced our lifestyles in various ways. For the Lagos-based musician Funbi Emiola explains,  “The one song that kick-started my interest in music was All my life by Kci and Jojo.”   

Born and raised in Kwara state, Funbi is latest newbie on the block. You might have heard his song Halleluiah out and about in town, and on the radio. The singer talks about being inspired by “70s funk music, RnB and West African rhythms”, as well as drawing inspiration from his personal experiences and surroundings as a musician living in Lagos.

Guardian Life had a brief chat with the upcoming musician on his inspirations and some interesting facts about himself.Funbi

Q: How did you initially become interested in music? Was this the career path you have planned?

A: I started singing as a kid, but I wasn’t really interested in being a musician. I remember a friend in secondary school listening to me sing and saying that I had to take it seriously because he thought I had “something”. I only started recording music professionally in 2010 while I was getting a BSc in Architecture. So the plan has always been and still is to create the best I can in both worlds i.e. in the field as an architect and in the studio as well as on stage as a musician, but music is my first love.


Q: Give us a slight breakdown of your creative process? Are there any ups and downs for you?

A: Every song usually starts from a random melody in my head, followed by lyrics that express the feeling behind the melody and then I bounce ideas with a producer and we make it happen. I think the only tough part is linking words to fit the melodies I have in my head.

Q: Do your life experiences or background have anything to do with your work?

A: I think Lagos is a really intense city visually and energy wise, so a lot of the music I currently make is inspired by my experiences as a young guy living in Lagos as well as pulling ideas from experiences of others in the world around me.

Q: What makes your work different from other musicians?

A: Every human being is unique in their own way, I’m just trying to tell my own story in the best way that I can.

Q: What is your most unforgettable memory so far?

A: I remember when I was younger, I was at an amusement park. It was late, maybe about 7pm, so it was a bit dark. I had gotten on a Ferris wheel and next thing Nepa cut the lights. I was scared of the dark, so I took off the safety and jumped down. I hurt my scalp and had to get stitches done.

I think I got off easy, it could have been worse.

Q: Tell us about people you would like to work with in the future?

A: I’m a big Anderson Paak fan, so hopefully, we get to work together some day. I also want to work with Burnaboy and Simi.

Q: What are some interesting facts about yourself, especially relating to your work?

A: I’m obsessed with the perfect sound mix, I prefer late night studio sessions, I’m currently learning to play the guitar. You can check out my Instagram (@funbimusic) to see how I’m fairing and I do not share my Fried Plantain.

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