A popular myth has it that the destiny of a child is determined at birth and will one day come to pass, no matter how long it takes. If this is a truism, then Chocolate City artiste, Brymo, was destined for limelight.
Out of the blue, his break-out single, Ara, tore the charts within a week of its release, earning the 26-year-old singer some 10 nominations and awards. These include Headies’ Recording of the Year Award and 2012 Channel O’s Most Gifted Afro Pop Video of the Year.
According to the singer whose real name is Ashimi Olawale, his album titled TheSonofaKapenta,released this week, chronicles the journey of his life. As the only son of a carpenter father and petty trader mother, the artiste had a humble upbringing.
‘’I was born and raised in Okokomaiko and have been there since the late 80s. I grew up in a mixture of backgrounds. I cannot tell you that I came from the ghetto. I had friends who lived opposite my house who I did not see more than thrice a year because they were in boarding schools and friends who I always saw brandishing the latest phones. I was living opposite them in a face-me-I-face-you. House,’’ he says.
Notwithstanding his upbringing and exposure while growing up, Brymo is considerably at home with the English Language. The boyish-looking singer says although his parents were not learned, they placed a premium on his education.
He adds, “Everything was available for me. From their meager resources I was sent to school. I went to Lagos State University for my tertiary education but I had to run away after two years. I was studying Zoology because I was unable to handle the rigours of the course. If I had decided that I wanted to be a mechanic or a carpenter like my father, I could have been that. If I decided that I just wanted to go to school, I could have done that. For a few years, my father taught me how to use the saw, how to mend chairs, but sincerely speaking I didn’t learn anything. My mind was elsewhere – in music.’’
In 2002, he alongside three other friends formed a group called Aliens. But the group was disbanded in 2005. Brymo went solo and released his debut album Brymstone in 2007. But his fortunes changed overnight after a surprise phone call.
“I had this Nokia phone I was using then and I remember I actually just finished charging the phone and an hour after, the phone call just came in. This was in 2010. I was like ‘Wow, thank God my phone was charged. It was Denrele, who I had met earlier, that called me one day to tell me that MI had seen me perform somewhere and was interested in meeting me and the rest was history as I got signed on to Chocolate City almost immediately.”
Brymo also discloses how the track, Ara, came about. “The chorus of Ara is actually an old folk song which I just reconstructed into the techno beat that I had and it sounded good and I was like okay, it works.
Some weeks later, after a very nice meal in the afternoon, I think it was Oha soup or Banga soup, the idea behind the title came to me. I was under pressure at that time and I needed to submit a single to Chocolate City and everybody had already agreed that my first single, which is Good Morning, should come first because it was recorded six months before Ara was written, but I guess God had other plans.”
Staying true to his Yoruba roots and love for Fuji music, Brymo’s Afrocentric sound is unmistakable and reflected in all his songs.
He says, “Music has no boundaries. I believe that people would rather listen to a sweet Yoruba song even if they don’t understand what the person is saying than listen to a horrible English song that they understand what the person is saying.”
As he looks forward to a positive reception from his sophomore album, the singer pledges to always reflect in his father’s advice, “that I should be careful with what I do because anything I do today would not go away. The day in itself would pass but your actions would be remembered.”