Nigerian born and New York-based, Olu Bliss creates a seamless blend of soulful rock, R&B, and pop music. With an upbringing in Nigeria and extensive travels to his name, Olu incorporates an eclectic set of influences to his globally tuned tracks.
Ahead of his performance at Elsewhere with quickly, quickly on 12/13, the songwriter took the time to compile a playlist of his favorite Nigerian artists and answer a few of our questions.
Tell us a bit about the tracks you’ve selected here. Are these new discoveries or tracks that you’ve been going to for a while?
This is a collection of young artists of Nigerian decent , that i recently discovered who are carving their own paths towards a new future of diaspora vibes. Dope creatives doing their own thing. Most of these artists I’ve heard about and have been watching for at least the past year, so I wanted to expose more people to their greatness.
Does Nigerian music, and more broadly African music, make up a large part of your daily listening habits? How do you go about discovering new Nigerian artists and music to listen to?
I’m a huge fan of Nigerian music and have been widely influenced by it in life. I am however more interested in taking my unique cultural experiences and creating something that isn’t explicitly traditional Nigerian music, hence the “New Naija flex”. To discover new nigerian artists & music, Spotify is probably my largest tool, though it lends itself to finding artists with a more “traditional” sound.
When channeling influences in your own music, do you always make an effort to combine them into something completely unique to you, or are you OK with more explicit nods to particularly influential art/artists?
It’s a mixture of both. I try to create music that has my unique footprint on it but i’m also very conscious of my influences and what made me fall in love with their artistry. I take pieces of what I like about those influences and blend it with my own musical identity and if all goes well, we got a bop!
Interview by Shane Stroup