Tuesday, 14 April 2015

This left handed guitar player will steal your heart with her voice

 She didn't fit the stereotype of the popular school musician (school musicians are said to have this air of, "we run this school" about them). She looked trimmed, dark, and appeared kind of shy.
I met Asikey at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus for the first time. Her love for guitar was what drew me to her. Who wouldn’t want to play with someone who plays the guitar well, especially,
if they are left handed and flip the guitar upside down when they play- just like the famed rocker Jimi Hendrix?

Born on November 23rd, in the year 1994 in Ogun state to Mr. Diepriye George from Rivers state and Mrs. Rakiya Yusuf from Adamawa, both in Nigeria (the combination is unusual). The birth of a child is expected to bring happiness to its owners, unfortunately, like most African homes, the lack of a male child/ children is taken seriously. As the fourth consecutive girl child, it was bad news to her relatives who wanted a male child. Who would have thought of a better response to those who won't mind their business- her parents named her Asikiya, it means “I don’t reject it”.

 Taught how to play the guitar by her younger brother’s music teacher in a one-day crash course, she also self-taught herself keyboard and music theory. “To me, the Acoustic guitar is such a beautiful instrument, although I am left-handed, I was taught by a right handed person who didn’t believe I could play guitar made for right-handers. But somehow, I learned anyway, after seeing Jimi Hendrix play, I got inspired, turned the guitar upside down and learned how to interpret the guitar tabs upside down too”.
 “I started writing songs at 15. It was not a big deal for me since I wasn't doing it for anyone but myself. I simply picked up the keyboard to guide me, locked myself in a room for hours and I always came up with something. My siblings were the first to like my songs, especially my younger brother. He was a big reason why I kept writing”

Photo: Connais. Costume: House of Ohlanna

The Asikey I knew evolved into something awesome! to catch up with her; I had this conversation with Asikey on What's app, I took a personal effort not to talk  about Guitars alone and what new song she's currently blasting her ears with. Below is my conversation with her.

Kacii Eleven:  studios are known to create tension, sometimes everything just sounds different, what was your experience like recording in the studio?

Asikey: usually I am part of the process of producing my songs. I always preconceive how it should turn out when I write. I have been fortunate to work with beat-makers that really appreciate and value my ideas in the production process.

Kacii Eleven: I do know that the process of writing is not always as easy as it seems, so, how do you get inspiration to write something different sounding each time?

Asikey: I am an easily inspired. I consciously try to stay inspired 24/7 even though that is impossible. I get inspiration from the books I read to movies I watch,  reading about my favorite musicians and celebrities, beautiful artworks and natural sceneries, listening to great songs, watching t.v. all adds up to invite my muse.

Kacii Eleven: Who are you currently into, what is your general impressions of the Nigerian music industry?

Asikey: I honestly think we have amazing artistes in Nigeria.  In my opinion; here in Nigeria, it's hard work over everything else and this makes climbing higher in the ladder of your career difficult. Talent is not enough and neither are hopes and wishes. When I think of the Nigerian music industry I cannot but think of my favorites; Asa, Brymo, and Jesse Jagz. I appreciate much more such as Niyola and Ice Prince. I like these people, not just for the good music they make; I think they also have great personalities which are extremely important for any artist. They are significantly cool to me. Nigerian music is definitely impressive.
"Special Song" is her latest single-- it is a departure from the regular noisy, ear drum piercing bangers. She goes soft; you can hear her in her elements in this song; it is calm, with an overall smooth texture. It is set to a 6/8 beat- a gentle kick and snare with hi-hats sprinkled at intervals. The rhythm guitar is serene. the synths remain in your head for hours even days. The text “find me the special song/ the one wey my heart fit sing, find me another song, the one wey resemble my heart” is emotion-laden you could feel it came from a deep place in her heart. The instrumentation and arrangement is fine as a popular standard, but Asikey’s voice is the main attraction. It is gentle, silky, a high-pitched alto with the depth only a female or a young boy can reproduce.

Another single you definitely should listen to is "So Far So Good" “  it evokes Bruno mars with some magic of Jason Mraz-- it's happy sounding, the reggae-like bass guitar sound does a great job giving it A head shaking vibe.

Her very first single titled  "Start To Dream" was borne out of the excitement of writing her first song for recording. “i had written a song titled “start to dream” and dedicated ten thousand Naira to pay for the recording. With the help of a friend, the song was recorded and uploaded online. Tens of people downloaded it within three days without any promotion from me. An on-air personality in school began playing my songs on radio out of goodwill, that was a big break for me”
"Start to Dream" is sincere, although you would expect the guitar chord progression to transport you to another realm, but I guess remaining where you are and listening more to what she is saying will just do! ;))

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