Interview – Ọlá

Alberta-based Nigerian-Canadian artist, Ọlá has been creating music professionally since 2018 under different monikers (past lives), but has chosen to reclaim his true name, Ọláwálé, Ọlá for short. His first release as Ọlá is the brand new single, “Back To Harmony”.

Ọlá wrote, performed, and produced his new single “Back To Harmony” and the track was mixed and mastered by DOPE ROAD (Kaye Fox & Marvin Hollie), who have credits and/or experience working with the likes of Kanye West, J Cole, Nas, and more.

The song carries the message of addressing the current inequalities in building generational care for one another and for the planet, but it’s also about Ọlá’s personal journey leading to the reclamation of his name.

“I had to grow up too fast, constantly expected to take care of everyone else first while socially rejected, so there was a lot of grief there,” says Ọlá. “My Blackness was trauma, and although there has been some pushback, ‘Back To Harmony’ is me choosing to be more than that and make myself a priority. I have become hyper-independent, which I am working on healing.” 

Check out “Back To Harmony” below, and find out more about Ọlá via our mini-interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, I’m Ọlá, a Nigerian-Canadian singer, writer, and music producer living in Alberta.

You have recently released your single, “Back To Harmony” what can you tell us about the track?

The demo was made during the holiday season, which was not jolly for me. I had to disconnect from toxic spaces and could not escape the loneliness that came after. Before I made the demo, I was planning on quitting music again, so I’m glad I didn’t and allowed myself to explore my inner depths. I longed to write my story and take back control of my life, then Back To Harmony was born.

You worked with DOPE ROAD on the release, what was that like?

It was a life-changing experience. I had creative freedom, which was exciting. DOPE ROAD helped me see myself clearer and recognize how far I had come from when I started writing pop songs at fourteen on the piano. I’m twenty-one now, so time has been doing its thing.

Where would you say you tend to pull influences from when writing?

Virginia Woolf has a strong influence on my writing style. The way she uses imagery and the stream-of-consciousness writing technique is delicious. And Maya Angelou continues to add flavour to my writing. She shows how powerful it is to write exactly how you feel. Laura Nyro is another social inventor whose work I love listening to and have learned a lot from. She made what she desired, and I have learned to do the same.

What’s next for you in 2022?

The main goal is to not quit and release my first EP, Black Elements From Above; One. I continue to learn more about myself and other artists whose work I continue to grow with, so I am excited to be on this journey. I have also been working on a poetry collection called Society Kills and I plan to continue releasing pieces throughout the year.

Connect with Ọlá:

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