In 2013, when I decided to sort of evolve my sound, I knew it was going to be difficult to be accepted because at that point in time, everyone was leaning towards making contents that were commercially acceptable.’ Brymo told Culture Dairies when asked about the evolution of his sound which was markedly different from the party-starting music making mentality he caught during his stint at his former record label, Chocolate City Music. That pressure to make dance music is still there, and many artistes fall for it, but the Okokomaiko bred musician has stood his ground, distinguishing himself from the bunch. And contrary to misguided opinion, Brymo, according to his own testimony is still making money from record sales and concert.
Each of Brymo’s post-Chocolate City albums, Merchant, Dealers and Slaves (2013), Tabula Rasa (2014), and Klitoris (2016), has continued to improve in songwriting, vocal performance and artistic maturity.
In an industry where the primary drive for making music is instant financial gratification and living the fast life, Brymo’s ambition is to leave a concrete legacy; he wants to have an impeccable stage presence and play live, he wants to sell millions of records here in Nigeria – not by succumbing to the pressure to make dance music, but by producing great art.
Since his home audience are carried away by the mainstream musical trends, Brymo is not unaware that him dominating his industry, won’t happen overnight. He is acutely conscious that it will take patience, hence he seems to be willing to push through this process even as an indie artiste.
These are lofty artistic ambitions. With Oso, the album under review, Brymo experimented singing majorly on the piano, which he is currently learning to play, with blends of alternative sounds.
When Brymo emerged with this new artistic identity, there were doubts. Could he carry on with this new philosophical posturing? Would he not in the long run cower and succumb to do whatsoever the industry trend demanded if he must stay relevant? Would he be able to sustain himself in an industry that value party-banging music than music that is capable of inducing sober reflection and elevated thoughts? Brymo who is now rated in the caliber of musicians like Asa, Beautiful Nubia is not only selling out concerts, like Asa, the larger percentage of those who download his songs are listeners from Europe and America. And here in lies my anxiety, that, as a society, we might push him away to Europe the same way we have pushed Asa away.
Oso (The Wizard), this latest Brymo’s album obviously does not call the listeners to dance party, and if you understand the concept Wizardry in Yoruba cosmology, dance is a secondary ritual performance. A wizard demands the attention of the listener to hear the voice of wisdom, warning and admonition. And from one song to another, this persona of wizardry is what Brymo brings to bare on this body of work.
In the opening song No Be Me, it is difficult to pinpoint a specific theme he dealing with. He speak of a damsel who enjoins her lover to make haste in consummating their love while she is still in her prime, as in her world ‘ day dey quick dey dark.’ He also speaks of virtuous circle in life and forgiveness.
In the heavenly Juju inspired tune, Olumo, one is in doubt if the song is a tribute to two influential sons of Nigeria from Ogun State, the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and Olusegun Obasanjo.
In Olarenwaju, delivered in Yoruba language, Brymo advices Olarenwaju his son on the importance of core values like patience, courage, and persistent, how he must uphold honesty because which, at the end of the day, always pays. He went further to admonish him to eschew cutting corners.
Another song closely related to Olarenwaju is Patience and Goodluck. Before listening to the song, there is the temptation to assume the song has something to do with the former President and First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck and Patience Jonathan. But the song is just what it is, Patience and Goodluck.
Heya already has a visual to it and the song puts big question on our civilization and our major problem as country, and by extension continent, is ignorance in both its audio and audiovisual expressions.
If you want to breathe fresh air musically, go get Brymo’s Oso and receive instruction melodiously delivered by the Wizard.