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The story behind Richard J’s cross-genre music


Richard J

Of the many parts of a music creator, the ability to find the intrinsic elements that make him or her unique is a quest that all creatives need to undertake. Richard J has always been comfortable with taking chances as they come. His penchant for creative exploration has been a hallmark of his musical journey.


His first stint with music was with a boy band called, ‘J-Ice’, a partnership that helped him explore his evolving musicality, but would end years later as both members of the group decided to find their own paths in a bid to create individual magic.

Music, for the 26-year-old Afro-fusion artiste has always been a passionate pursuit with musical roots that are deep and family-inspired. Christened Richard Idehen, his stage name which is simply the letter ‘J’ added to his first name ‘Richard’, comes with a unique story; one that honours family.

“The ‘J’ in my stage name, Richard J, stands for Juliet which is my Mother’s name. She has shown so much support for my craft that I decided that wherever my story is told, she will be a part of it.”, he explained.


With a deeply authentic, African-themed soundscape and a penchant for retrospective lyrics, it is no surprise that Richard J comes from a rich heritage of music creators. His Father was a multi-talented instrumentalist and bandleader of a local music collective called ‘Oromuza dance band.’ The creatively-layered four-man ensemble which was Richard J’s first introduction to the world of performance art was a staple at community events like weddings and burials.

So, as a kid, Richard J was thrown into the wonders of live African music as he watched his Father perform whenever he was opportune to travel with the band. Those trips became mental mementoes that moulded the young Richard J into the artiste he is today.

As Richard J built a signature style, drawn from the sights and sounds of the music environment he grew up in, he had further help from family. His elder brother, a talented music producer, known in music circles as ‘Mic 2 Productions’ was the one who put together Richard J’s first few songs, ushering him into the optimistic, upbeat world of Afropop.


Four years later and with a few recordings under his belt, Richard J has evolved, coming to terms with his style; a unique brand of afro-fusion, laced with a narrative flow. His recordings have shown considerable promise with songs like, ‘Aye’, ‘Do for me’ and ‘Good loving’ and to further introduce his brand of music to the world, Richard J created the imposing visuals for the viral track, ‘Aye,’ a move that scored him some well-deserved brownie points, and established him as a mainstay in the Nigerian music industry.

So, as the industry positions for a new crop of music creatives, cross-genre talents like Richard J are sure to be at the forefront of the revolution.


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Richard J
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