Femi Koya… Homeboy Returns With Heavy Beats
Koya, younger brother to renowned Gbedu Master, Kola Ogunkoya, is popularly known as the new face of African renaissance, combining West African highlife and jazz, South African Sofiatown with nostalgic Afrobeat root sounds and contemporary groove.
Femi’s life journey is a story of migration from the West to the South, which resonates in music while his debut album Just in Newtown, released over five years ago, is evidence of his rich melodies, dexterity and versatility on the saxophone.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos on plans for participation in the Nigerian music scene, the talented saxophonist said the industry is rated high globally, adding that Nigeria has enough culture and heritage to showcase to the world.
“Nigeria music is rated high and not too many people do my kind of music at the moment. I believed in the culture and heritage of Nigeria, that Nigeria is the future of the world and so it’s necessary that I should come home whether I am accepted or not. I play Nigerian music and represent authentic Africa and there is future in Music in Nigeria.
“Nigeria has enough of culture to show to the world but there are few people in the space to showcase our heritage. No enough young people in the space to take Nigeria music to the next level”, he said.
According to the artiste, who is very popular in the South African music space, with diverse of people that make up the country, not everyone wants to follow certain trend like shaku-shaku and others, hence, he believes that a niche would be created for his brand to thrive in Nigerian music market.
“In south Africa, if you play jazz, hip-hop and other genre, there’s a market for the kind of music you play. I believe that if people in South Africa could accept my music, how much more my own people,” he said.
Koya in his musical career has performed alongside the popular names in the industry including, king Sunny Ade at the Glo launch in the Republic of Benin and other colourful festivals with established international icons like, Angeliquo Kidjo, Wynton Marsalis, Oliver Mtukudzi, Habib Koite, Salif Keita and others.
In a separate chat with Guardian Music, he said, “Staying original as an artiste is the major inroad to surviving amid multifaceted competitions both locally and internationally,” adding, “it was the principle that aid the acceptance of my musical genre in South Africa.”
For him, what inspires his kind of music are the people and communities lifestyle around.
“When I moved to South Africa, then I realized that music is not just fun, but a spirit and weapon. I said to myself, the only means by which I can actually pass my message across is through music because in itself, music is a spirit. Most times in South Africa when people come for my show, they know that its exclusively Nigeria sound and so staying original and true helped me to survive”.
He said one of the ways through which he intends to promote socio-cultural development and good vices among young person in the country is the production of quality music and use of artiste collaboration as well as trying hard in ensuring that his genre encourage the society to change for good.
“I will make sure that my products meet the best international standard of what a good and quality music should be. My target audience would be everybody irrespective of classification”, Koya concluded.
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