Meet Gracey Mae, one of the many Gatekeepers of the Afrobeats movement.
While working 24/7 to get musicians music heard by the masses Gracey Mae is a well recognised brand within her self, we were lucky enough to catch up with Gracey to find out how she started in radio.
SK: When did you know you wanted to get into radio?
GM: I’ve always been a chatter box. If you look at my reports from primary school, I was the one distracting others by being talkative. I don’t think I had a defining moment when it hit me that radio was for me; I’ve just always loved being in entertainment and now I’ve got the privilege of using my voice to get other people heard.
SK: Who are some of the people who’ve influenced you?
GM: The list is endless but my mum is the most influential person to me. She’s the hardest worker I know, she moves with dignity and integrity, and she’s a boss b! Professionally, I have to honour the strong Black British female journalists that have come before me or walk along side me: Trisha, June Sarpong, Diane Louise Jordan, Angellica Bell, Afua Hirsch, Claudia-Liza Armah, Lukwesa Burak, Gillian Joseph, Afua Adom, Pandora Christie, plus, AJ Odudu, Amplify Dot, Yinka Bokinni, Shayna Marie, Bisi Akins, Henrie, Remi Burgz, Cindy Temi, Miss P, Ola Aweo, Esi, Linda E, Cynthia MVP and the list goes on.
SK: What’s your prediction for Afrobeats scene on radio in the near future?
GM: I believe our definition of what Afrobeats is will change and it will no longer be the umbrella term for all music from the motherland. Afro house will feature in house sets. Rappers like Nasty C will be played along side the “mainstream” stars like Stormzy, and the southern African vibe will be the new sound of popular African music.
SK: Tell us about your involvement with The Afronation Show?
GM: For our weekly broadcast I do a significant amount of work from booking guests, to running the social media pages, to editIng audio/footage/images, to radio production. Week on week, I analyse the broadcast and identify areas of improvement. I created the current branding on top of all the stuff you hear on the mic. I research for each guest and engage in highly stimulating conversations.
SK: Any advice for those just starting out in broadcasting?
GM: Your network is your net worth. Actively engage with people and form a genuine community. Who you know always trumps what you know.
SK: Can radio prepare you for any other professions?
GM: Of course, in radio you’re ultimately a sales person making music attractive to a new audience. The amount of talking you do could also lend itself to consultancy. Most importantly, by being in the system, you can easily provide PR services based on your network, and A&R services as you’ll be used to spotting a hit record
SK: How have you managed to succeed in so many areas of media?
GM: God’s grace and mercy, consistent content creation and selfless promotion.
SK: How do you select songs for your playlists?
GM: My only criteria to be featured on the NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: AFROBEATS EDITION playlist, is the song must have been released in the last 7 days. If I like, I’ll add it.
SK: What are three things you look for when you see an artist play live?
GM: Live arrangements of the song, un-auto tunes vocals and stage production
SK: Give us an insider tip on what artists are about to break?
GM: Look out for Victony (Nigeria), Camidoh (Ghana) and D’wante Navire (UK). These men are about to go far!
SK: What song do you currently have stuck in your head these days?
GM: Sound – Fireboy DML
SK: What is the best gift you have received from an artists?
GM: It’s not even material for me, though I love presents, it’s usually when they say thank you for believing in me. Like I’m literally a gateway – I’m making dreams come true!
SK: When can we catch you live, please share all your platforms!
GM: Please join me the @afronationshow every Wednesday from 9-11pm on @thisiswestside, I release weekly @frobeatspodcast on a Sunday via YouTube and all Podcast streaming Platforms, plus I host Unsigned 3 days a week on Instagram Live via @_graceymae; this is a talent show where we review emerging afrobeats artist in the hunt for a star!
EUGY RETURNS WITH NEW EP ‘4PLAY’
Eugy has been silently working away behind the scenes, to bring you 4 Play a musical experience he promises will keep you glued to your social feeds. He returns with 4 Play, his latest instalment a collection of sultry songs exploring the power of intimacy. This love tale takes the listener on a journey of emotional volatility. Across 4 songs Eugy’s weaves a narrative which explores the power of 4 Play, not just the physical but the psychological state of it too.
We caught up with Eugy to find out 10 interesting facts, you the fans may not know:
- He was born in Ghana
- He is the eldest of 5 siblings
- Our 6ft4 musician is super scared of heights
- Eugy plays the piano, drums and bass guitar
- His favourite food is a Ghanaian Dish Kenkey, accompanied with fried fish and pepper
- Eugy is terrified of Flying
- He previously went on X-Factor with his siblings
- His favourite drink is Super Malt
- Eugy can’t eat dinner/savoury food unless it’s spicy
- His new EP is out now
Eugy is amongst the key players at the forefront of the unstoppable new wave of African-inspired sonics that have infiltrated the UK scene and continues to flood the European airwaves. His breakthrough hit ‘Dance For Me’ alongside Nigerian singer-songwriter Mr Eazi, came in the summer of 2016 and went onto become a colossal hit. It racked up over 30 million views on YouTube and over 28 million streams on Spotify. Wherever he travels now, the reputation of the track precedes him including his second MOBO Award nomination in 2017.
Through live shows and a plethora of internet hits, Eugy has built a high fanbase stretching from the UK all thorough to the coasts of Africa and especially in Europe where he packed out shows in Amsterdam, Paris and Stockholm. He’s also done stadium shows in Japan and Ghana and supported Nigerian artist Wizkid at the sold out Afro Republik Festival at the O2 Arena in London.
Keep it locked to get the best in music, gaming, food, fashion and lifestyle from Eugy.
‘4 Play’ available on all major platforms – https://lnk.to/eugy4play
5 REASONS WE LOVE TOMI OWÓ
Meet Tomi Owó a dynamic songwriter with a distinct vocal tone, Tomi Owó incorporates reality with substance, to make for the musical output she is coming to be known for.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, she grew up in a musically inclined family, where music from all over the world was appreciated, and where making music was a way to express the many facets of life; and she dreamed of making her contributions through music one day. With the musical brilliance she’s shown so far, Tomi Owo is expected to rattle the Nigerian music industry this year.
We put together 5 reasons why we love Tomi Owó:
Her personality is likeable:
Tomi Owó has a personality that will make you fall in love. She is sweet, very down to earth and she shows love to everyone — no matter who they are. Tomi embraces her strength and coming into her confidence as a woman, a creator and a healer.
Tomi’s music hits our soul:
Her musical style is mellow, albeit rich with eclectic vocal dynamics. Her genre is unafraid, a musical palette splashed with urban soul, pop, and afro-inspired sounds. She has a soft but sultry voice that when she sings, it sounds like gentle bubbles of love.
Her music is relatable:
Tomi Owó believes music is a gift, and a channel through which we can tell our stories, support ideals, and inspire change.
Her lyrics are firmly based on everyday experiences – hers and those of others, as she explores relatable human themes: resilience and kindness, affection and courage with many women (and men) being able to relate also.
She’s a creative genius:
When it comes to visual arts Tomi is extremely creative in this area. Growing up, she was also drawn to other forms of art, expressing this through personal poetry and dance. She likes to partake in the artwork for her music, as well as the visuals behind her videos and live performances. She continues to amaze us with her creativity.
She’s an original:
There is no doubt, Tomi Owó is one of the most refreshing artists in today’s music scene.
Her lyrics and style of vocals are unlike your typical Nigerian artists, and that’s what makes her an original Gem!
Check out her latest song titled “Beautiful”
The song explores beauty in a way you may not expect. Painting both male and female scenarios, she wonders when they will take a step to answer the call to a new kind of life, to begin something life-changing.
“In many ways, “Beautiful” is the soundtrack to my life right now. And how funny, because I was not thinking about myself when I wrote it; I was thinking about everyone else-all the people searching for something, listening for a true voice, taking steps towards something they believe in-I was thinking about all of them.”
Stream and Download ‘Beautiful’ – https://instagram.com/tomiowo
Follow Tomi Owo – https://umgafrica.lnk.to/BeautifulTO
HOT SEAT: TRAYC SELASI
In the hot seat today we are joined by Trayc Selasi London based Ghanaian Afro Fusion singer, dancer and songwriter also known as the voice for Ghanaian music and culture in the UK. While creating a buzz amongst the Afropop scene here in the London, Trayc talks us through her new single “Somebody” taken from her critically acclaimed sophomore EP set to be released later on this year and much more.
SK: Talk us through the creative process for “Somebody”, what is the story behind this single?
TS: Somebody was created during my trip back home in Ghana. It was produced by the amazing Abochi. We created this beautiful song together using concepts I had, bouncing ideas and melodies back and forth. The song is about a dilemma in the mind of a woman and the dilemma being, she wants to out her feelings of being in love but hasn’t been easy to as she goes through the pressure internally. I believe a lot of women out there can relate and may have somewhat been in that same “situation-ship”. This concept stems from my own experience with love and not knowing how to express it. There are many women out there like myself who tend to hide their feelings and emotions to avoid being hurt, suppressing ourselves but there comes point where enough is enough and we have to start speaking out and expressing your love to that special ’SOMEBODY’ but also being in that okay space to accept him not having the same feelings with you knowing that your MAN! made for you is out there. Don’t give up on love.
SK: How would you describe your own development as an artists and the transition towards owning your sound?
TS: My development has been a beautiful journey, all the ups and downs has made me who I am today. I started as a dancer but music was always my ultimate goal. I toured and performed on big stages for Fuse ODG with my dance partner ‘Move With KB’ and it was an amazing journey as we were learning so much on the job. I was quite observant with everything music around me which kept me interested continuously. I learnt how to record and engineer in the studio, engineering for some great artists and Fuse ODG himself at times using different softwares etc. Everyday there was something new to learn although it wasn’t always easy but it was all worth it all thanks to the ODG team. I now have my own home studio set up where I’ve been able to record music of my own including finalising my upcoming E.P.
SK: Do you have a vision of Afro inspired music, what could it be beyond its current form?
TS: Everything about me is rooted back home in Africa. Being born in Ghana and living a part of my youth there before moving into London helped me keep in touch and my mother will always remind me of where I came from by the food we eat, speaking our language to us etc. I see Afro inspired music taking over and being able to merge with so many other genres to create beautiful sounds. I see Afro inspired music staying and never leaving. It’s just so infectious.
SK: What do you think of the AfroPop scene in London?
TS: The AfroPop scene in London is super interesting to me because we here a blend of different cultures between African and the western sound which I love so much. It takes African music to new heights we have never been before and it makes me proud to be part of the culture. I believe it’s only going to get better and higher from here and there is no going back as we are already exposed to many different experiences.
SK: Musically, what are your biggest influences and who are your favourite musicians?
TS: I have so many different influences when it comes to music but my biggest comes from Erykah Badu, Ciara, Mary J Blidge, Alicia Keys, Beyonce and from Africa I grew up listening to likes of Angelique Kujo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Daddy Lumba and many more greats. These are some of the great musicians that have influenced me as an artist now. My current favourite musicians right now are Chronixx, Koffee, Asa, H.E.R, Adekunle Gold to name a few. I’m the type of artist that is easily influenced by so many different things and people and try to fuse those influences in my music when creating.
SK: What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?
TS: My main inspiration stems from my past situations, experiences I’ve been through and I also look at my friends and family around me and sometimes take from their own experiences to help piece together my words and melodies. Sometimes it can just be words I hear, a feeling or a current emotion. When I write, I think about so many different words based on the topic I want to write about and most of the time I go off from my feelings and allow melodies and words to naturally flow out of me.
SK: What would be your dream venue in which to perform?
TS: My dream is to headline shows in Stadiums and Arenas but one one of my dream stages is the Super Bowl. After seeing Beyonce perform, I knew that I could also do it. To be absolutely honest even if it’s a small stage, or in a back garden of a house, the feeling of having my supporters singing my songs and me having the space and opportunity to showcase my talent to it’s full force is what I take from the most. Seeing the smiles of beautiful people no matter what stage is my ultimate dream.
SK: Who would you love to collaborate with?
TS: I would love to collaborate with Chronixx, Koffee, EFYA, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, Kuami Eugene, Amaarae and of course Beyonce. There are too many amazing talents out there I would love to work with and hope to tick them off my collab list very soon.
SK: How have you coped during lockdown?
TS: It wasn’t easy during lockdown. At first, I went through a stage of trying to get used to being home alone, working from home and not being able to see anyone and I thought I would be okay because I usually love being on my own in my own space, however after a little while, it did take some toll on me where I got a bit stuck with my creative process but with the help of my amazing team Coelle LDN, I was able to push through and finished writing and recording my EP project. I’m grateful for the lockdown because it taught me a lot about myself and also helped by giving me more time to connect with God.
SK: What advice would you give to other female artists in your genre?
TS: To every female out there in this industry, all I can say is Pray, Meditate and NEVER give up. I know for us as women, especially black women in this industry, it’s not easy and we have to work 10 times harder than everyone else so in order to make it through, NEVER give up and stay connected to God always. Another important thing is to never rush the process no matter what.
SK: Tell us 3 items you cannot live without?
TS: 3 items I can never live without are My phone or Laptop for Music, a good book to read and Food & Water. That might be 4 but Food & Water go together.
SK: What is currently on your playlist?
TS: On my current playlist is, Trayc Selasi – Somebody, Wizkid ft HER – Smile, Maleek Berry – Free Your Mind, Tiwa Savage – Koroba, Chronixx – Full Chronology album. I’m currently listening to Tiwa’s new album Celia and Adekunle’s Afropop vol 1 whilst I wait for Kuami Eugene’s new album and my very own EP to drop soon. So much new music has been released recently and I’m so excited.
SK: Whats next for Trayc?
TS: Trayc Selasi is taking on new heights and flights. Now that my new single ‘SOMEBODY’ is out, I’ll be releasing my full EP project soon and also get some visuals together for it and get some shows and performances going. I will also be going back to Ghana very soon to engage with my supporters there also. I want to link up with amazing producers and songwriters and start working on my next project. So many things I want right now but all in due time.