Efezino… Messenger Of Love, Unity
Nurturing her music like a canvass, she constantly sketches vocal portraits of love using African languages as her pencils. In her usual storytelling style, Efezino Akpo travels through the familiar terrains of love expressions in her latest Afro-Pop record dubbed Totori.
It is the unique chemistry of profound storytelling woven with her rich tapestry of African languages that trademarks the 28-year-old Delta native as a vocal wonder in Nigeria’s music scene.
Backed by a music-loving family, Efezino’s stardom story began from her early teenage days where she sang in the church before progressing to concerts. With support from her family, she kept harnessing her talents at even bigger stages, until she won her very first competition at age 17, a Warri-based music contest titled, Who Sings Best.
“Music was a calling, for me. I went back to school to study Human Anatomy, which is something I am good at, but from a young age, I had known that music was a calling for me. It was my number one thing,” she heartily said while recalling her several attempts at music competitions when she started out.
For the singer, getting evicted twice from Nigerian Idols (2011 and 2013), despite qualifying to laudable levels, was more of a story about growth and perseverance, rather than one of disappointment.
“There was something I always learned. I would go for competitions and I would be told they couldn’t take me in, because I missed a note, or I would get to certain levels and I would be eliminated. It would be heartbreaking, but I would pick up myself because music makes me happy. I was also nurtured by these competitions. In Nigerian Idols, I had to learn a song in less than 30 minutes and performed it live. These things nurtured my voice, my craft, my writing and my discipline. It also helped me network with people in the industry like Waje, Timi Dakolo and all these people. They have all helped my sound, throughout all these years,” she remarked.
After her 2017 stint at The Voice Nigeria, Efezino released a song the following year, titled Amere. Typically translating as ‘Sweetness’, the song became an instant bestselling love narrative. It was crafted with heart-warming folk/Afro-soul melodies and sung in her native Isoko language. She later released a 7-track Extended Playlist (EP) in 2019, with the same title where she remixed the hit-song in Swahilli, French and Pidgin languages, as well as with Acapella variations.
And, these, she notes, were charged by her childhood cultural influences and her patriotic agenda to unify Nigeria.
“I grew up hearing Isoko, Itshekiri and Ijaw traditional music; I grew up in an area in Warri called Efurrun. My mum always played songs from Keffe, Ofano, and some other mixtapes I never got to know their titles. So, I believe so much in representing where I am from. I try as much as possible to show my culture, through my music, and also to unify the whole of Nigeria. That is why I have been doing a lot of folk songs.”
It is this same cultural appeal and direction that makes her retain her name, which translates as ‘Wealth’, in her music career.
As a music-lover, Efezino grew up with a flair for unique music, laden with storytelling and depth.
“I didn’t really listen to Beyonce much, because she was in everybody’s faces. I was more interested in those sounds that were far away – folk songs, country sounds, and pop sounds,” she notes, humbly. As a singer, I translate that appeal for a rarity to my songwriting, steadily creating music from a place of comfort, clarity and profoundness.
“Sometimes, I might just be washing dishes in the kitchen and looking through the window and the melodies just start to flood my brain; I would pick my guitar and start playing. Usually, the words don’t come; I work with melodies. It’s the melodies first and then the words after. Sometimes, I can see an emotional movie and the story inspires me and I would start writing. Other times, it’s stories from my friends or my own experiences. Even Totori too was a personal experience; I was crying when I was writing the song. I let the inspiration comes to me mostly, but sometimes, I hunt for it. However, I prefer making music from a space in my head – my comfort zone.”
Efezino’s vocal artistry is likely to magnet a number of multiple collaborations in the industry, as she builds continues her journey. She hopes to collaborate with the likes of “Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Asa, Fireboy, Simi, Chike, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Enya, The Weekend,” among others.
Meanwhile, the singer’s vocal texture has drawn large comparisons to Afro-soul/RnB Queen, Simi Gold.
Departing her label, Soltracker Music Group, barely three months ago, over amicable agreements, as she notes, the newbie indie artiste expresses confidence and hope in her music growth. Holding her territory down already, Efezino has started preparing for her sophomore EP release slated for the latter part of the year. She has just released her music video for Totori, which was directed by Nigeria-born Hollywood filmmaker, Ajiri Akpolo.
According to her, the visuals for the Ovonovo-produced song is a feast of romance, intrigue and excitement. As she continues her sojourn, all eyes are on the culture queen to continue to hold her fans spellbound in her subsequent releases.