The last decade as a music industry professional has seen me become less keen to write about specifically about music projects. I was so uninspired in fact, that I changed medium to podcasting in 2020.
This was mainly because working with music to the point that I have; specifically as a music journalist, A&R executive, artiste manager as well as a press release writer in the last 11 years; made me tired of thinking deeply about each emotion within a body of work; like I would with a data within a Root Cause Analysis – especially since I’d worked in radio briefly and discovered that it was easier to influence listening culture via word of mouth as it was more direct.
Why then am I writing this review?
The music from Chukwuka Ekeani’s Boyfriend has become a delicious part of my memories and I’d love to share the joy of this with you.
First, lets go back to New Year’s day, 2020. I’d woken up from an eventful nap. I needed to head out so I showered, smiled at myself in the mirror as I got ready and looked over at my friend’s happy face when they asked to play me something beautiful.
As if by magic, a more amazing version of Ckay greeted me. I say more amazing because the Ckay music I knew and loved was different- with his easy, energetic rap infused pop lyrics and accompanying syncopated rhythms; that make you move as standard.
But this; which I discovered was the Nwantiti Remix (original was on the EP Ckay the First) with Joeboy and Kwami Eugene was so soothing and the beautiful embellished chords made me fall in love with his music anew. It woke me up and I waited for it to drop officially in February, with the fervour of a young new convert.
Later, at different times before global lockdowns were in full swing, I was blessed with first listens to what we now know as the Boyfriend EP. All I can say is that their airy, crisp melodies and memorable one-line choruses stayed with me through the ups and downs of 2020 and the pandemic, while the world had its gears ground to a halt.
Then on the 12th of February; nearly a year after Isabella’s Chorus became the source of a smile in my mind, Ckay gave us BOYFRIEND with his new label Warner Music South Africa.
I believe I have immersed myself in it enough to be able to share my thoughts and recommendations now, so here goes.
The EP has seven tracks on it and features Amaarae, Oxlade, Bianca Costa and KiDi, as well as production credits by Auxxie, BMH, Type A, Illeri and CKay. It is an Afro-Latin pop fusion EP.
Rather than do a track-by-track analysis, I will talk you through the story of the EP and give you a review of my favourite tracks.
The Boyfriend EP takes us on a journey that we have all been on. One of love, lust, loss and the faith that sometime soon we will see our love again and be at home in their embrace. My three favourite tracks are:
As one of two singles from the EP as well as the first track on the EP, it is only right that if I were to look at this record as an object it would be a crown- yes, I believe Felony is the musical manifestation of love as a crown of glory. This track gives me joy.
Violins, a keyboard, a bass guitar and an electric guitar use embellished syncopated chord progressions to paint the picture of a beautiful love story as Ckay tells it to us while the icing on the cake is its sync drums which essentially echo the chorus:
“I don fall Yakata”
This is the song about dreamy Island love.
Visualise picturesque beaches in Dinard, St Lunaire, Portmarnock; Rio de Janeiro, Lagos- (Waterside is lush when you’re in love please). Here, in the world this song creates; you can literally hear the dancing lovers and their love-struck laughter as Ckay essentially fuses High/hip life drums, the sekere/maracas and the Xylophone with the Spanish guitar style which is infused within the track in a way that feels almost like how a pashmina scarf feels comfortingly warm on your back when the tide comes in and it’s chilly; keeping everything together on the record.
Kiss me Like You Miss Me:
This song fuses South and East African rhythmic and music arrangement styles to create a “Welcome Home” song which is the perfect song for our present reality.
As the COVID 19 pandemic is still hampering global movement and flying in one weekend just to be with the love of your life for even for an hour is now almost impossible; this song fills me with joyful hope that someday soon, I too; will kiss the loves of my life like I have truly missed them.
In all, I believe Boyfriend is a beautiful offering.
On this, Ckay came out to the world as a master of his craft and the world has taken him at his word. He has come out with his musical truth on this first offering with his new label and I honestly cannot wait to hear what other gems he has in store.
I am however without a doubt that great music, like light is never hidden. Hence, when new releases come, we will be here like a lover after lockdown.
Peace and Love,
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Nathalie is a Nigerian/Irish IP and Aviation Lawyer. She has also worked with Jorie Magazine, Novateur NG and Rhythm 94.7 FM Abuja. She is a Voiceover Artist and currently, she is in her 10th year as a Music PR and Artiste/Brand Management and Development strategist. In the midst of this “Panorama”, she is also building: 730 Multimedia Consultancy. As a literary, news and pop culture editor and critic, she runs a music podcast "@artloveandvibes," on Soundcloud and Twitter. "I love that along with my day job, I am building a career in Tech Policy."