During this quarantine, I have been using music as a release. I have explored many different genres and artists. Through this journey, I have found a few new artists and songs that I absolutely love. Of these artists, Tobe Nwigwe and D Smoke have to be my favorite thus far. Both wish to make music that can inspire others despite their backgrounds and lifestyles.
Tobe began making music at the recommendation of a friend. He never saw music as a career path for him, but as he grew to realize that his music can be used to influence others, he embraced it full-throttle. Coming from Nigerian parents, his mother was very disappointed with his career choice and expressed it to him frequently until he began getting recognition from other celebrities and she could see that he was making an impact. He tells the story of his mother’s initial disappointment and eventual acceptance in his song “I’m Dope”.
All of his songs are written to send a message or tell a story that his listeners can relate to or gain something from. In his songs “Ode to Fat” and “Ivory” he tells the story of how he met his wife, and how she and his first child changed his perspective of love and happiness. Tobe is very family orientated and it shows in all of his music. His wife, known as Fat, is in all of his music videos, makes an appearance in his live performances, and on occasion is featured on his songs. During the quarantine, he has released a series of songs called “The Quarantine Series,” accompanied by a live performance in his home featuring his entire family. All of the music for this project and his previous projects were produced by longtime friend Cornell Grant, who also makes an appearance in every video. With such a close circle, he ensures that he is hands-on with all of his projects and it makes his music that much more special for him and his listeners.
Another artist that should be on your radar is twenty-one-year-old singer UMI. She began making music in her college dorm room at the University of Southern California. At the beginning of her career, she struggled with stage fright, however, she would not let this fear stop her from achieving her goal. She borrowed library computers and looked up free beats online, using them to create music that meant something to her. Starting a YouTube channel, she began to face her fears and release her music for the world to hear. Growing up being African-American and Japanese, UMI had musical influences from different cultures and genres. She used these influences to create a sound that was unique to her with the goal of creating music that can inspire and heal her listeners.
In her song “Remember Me” she sings about an ex, reminiscing about the good times and qualities of each other. When listening to the words, there is a beautiful story being told. Even without the lyrics, the song is relaxing with a simple instrumental that can be listened to through the day on end. Tapping into her Japanese roots, she was featured on “That’s On You (Japanese Remix)” by Joyce Wrice. The song seamlessly combines both the English and Japanese languages to create a masterpiece. In writing the song, she took care to make sure that even without understanding the Japanese sections of the song listeners can receive the message that is written into the lyrics. UMI’s music is a great addition to any playlist. It provides listeners with something to unwind to. With simple-to-understand lyrics and a mellow beat, her songs appeal to a wide variety of listeners.