The Return of Kayefi – Nigerian Music the World Needs to Hear + Interview
The first time I heard the name Kayefi in relation to music, was at the home of Alapomeji CEO. Most mornings, I would wake up to the sound of Oreske (her first single) blasting from one of the cars in the driveway. I couldn’t deny the fact that the voice I heard coming out of the speakers was intoxicating. I found her music interesting not because I heard it literally most mornings, but because her voice and style were very unique and I dare say spiritual. I believe the ability to do music well is a gift and she is one Nigerian singer that is fortunate enough to own this gift.
I did not know much about the lady behind the voice but I did know I liked what I heard and wanted to hear more. I was not sure if she was a fly by night with a good voice or someone who really took music seriously. I would find out months later when I finally got to meet Kayefi. We said casual “hi’s”, talked about music, I complimented hers and we casually went about our day. What stood out for me during our discussion was the passion she had for her craft.
Listen to Oreske !
A Beautiful Song
Fast forward to much later, I ran into Kayefi, again. She played me another one of her songs and this song absolutely resonated so well with me I asked for a copy and found myself playing it over and over again. This song stamped her in my mind as the real deal and a sound the world should hear. The song titled “Iya Mi Osi Ni ile Yi”, which loosely translates to “My mother in not in this land” is a soft melodious and very emotional song about being far from home while trying to attain success. Done in her native Yoruba, the song is nothing short of absolutely beautiful.
When you listen to Iya mi osi ni ile yi, Oreske and others, you cannot ignore her unique vocal abilities when coupled with the right sound. Her sound! If you listen to songs she has released or has featured in, you start to become very clear, what ‘her sound” is.
Listen to Iya Mi O Si Ni Ile Yi
The day Kayefi messaged me to let me know she plans on recording all her songs on analog, you can imagine the excitement I felt. With what Nigerian music has become today, and all the noise our ears are being accustomed to hearing, it is refreshing to see someone attempt to go back to the basics, with no autotune, no mass digital help, no beat alone carrying the song, just pure unadulterated music.
The World Awaits
Without comparing her directly to France Based Nigerian Songstress ASA, when I think about Kayefi and her music, I think about the likes of Asa and Erykah Badu. Soulful, pure, musical, whimsical! Sometimes I visualize adorning a well tailored Ankara gown and headdress on her and putting her on a world stage because I want the world to see what I see and hear what I hear.
Sometimes I visualize her adorning a well tailored Ankara gown and headdress while she hits that world stage because, in my mind, I want the world to see what I see and hear what I hear. I will say evergreen songs like Iya mi o si ni ile yi, easily puts her right up there with undeniable talents like ASA. Her vocal ability, style, and sound are what the world would coin Neo-Soul, but in her case Afro-Soul. Kayefi is that singer whose voice will give you goosebumps in a good way.
Kayefi is extremely talented and unique and her sound, to me, needs to be heard on a world stage. When that day comes, hopefully, it does, I will be watching, with that spiritual feeling I felt when I first heard her sing. Till then please enjoy this exclusive interview with Kayefi done by me for Nigerian Entertainment. In this interview, she gives an insight into her music journey, inspiration, the challenges of being a mother in a male-dominated industry and what we should expect from her. – Toni Payne
An interview with Kayefi
NE: Your music Journey, where did it all begin?
Kayefi: Music for me like most musicians started from the church. I joined the choir at a very tender age and then I went into theater arts ‘singing, whether acting and dancing’ I was also the leader of the school choir and cultural dance from primary to secondary school. You’d find me in any activity that had to do with whether at school, church, home, just name it as long as it had to do with music you’d find me there.
NE: Your deal with Alapomeji, where did it start and end?
Kayefi: I got signed under Alapomeji records in 2010. It was a two-year deal so it obviously expired in 2012. I recorded MASEMILESE and a few collabos during that time. It was a beautiful experience
NE: I absolutely love Oreske and Iya mi o si nile yi. What were the inspirations behind both songs?
Kayefi: Thank you.Oreske was my first single and it was released way back in 2008.I guess it’s the fun-loving part of me [ because I really do like having fun] that inspired me to write ORESKE which is about a young girl that sneaked out of the house just to have fun with her friends. IYA MI O SI NILE YI is a more serious song, I mean when one is miles and miles away from home a lot of things run through your mind and mostly the one feeling that dominates is the fear of failure. A lot of people leave the comfort of their homes and go to places they are not so familiar with just to make money. Those are the people that inspired that song.their pains, their joys, their struggles, and so on.
NE: Your verse on Safe Journey, did you write it yourself? What was the inspiration behind it?
Kayefi: Yes I wrote my verse on safe journey myself. When a relationship breaks up there are always two sides to the story since it involves two people. I’ve seen a lot of women give up dreams just for their man to shine but most of which they later regretted doing. It’s common all over the world. But like I said there are always two sides so it doesn’t mean the women don’t do it to the men too.
NE: What would you call your style of music?
Kayefi: I do mostly folk songs. Most of my songs were birthed from African tales which I love so so much and they are mostly soul music. so I can say that I do AFRO SOUL music.
NE: Do you write your own songs?
Kayefi: Yes. From the melody to the lyrics.
NE: When you are in the studio, what do you do to prepare before recording?
Kayefi: I drink a lot of water and fruit and I pray.
NE: How has being a musician affected your daily life?
Kayefi: hmmmmm! First of all, it’s a very challenging career, especially when combined with taking care of the family. But my husband is very understanding so he helps me out most times.
NE: There is something unique about your voice, did you take any formal lessons
Kayefi: None at all.But I always sing at church so it helps me check when I need to rest and all.but one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that a few extra hours of sleep and rest relaxes my voice and makes it sound better.
NE: You have a new single out titled Idowu Ogbo, What is the story behind the song?
Kayefi: Yes IDOWU OGBO is out.It’s a heartbreak song. and IDOWU is a name given to the child you have after a set of twins in the Yoruba land here in Africa. It’s plainly fictional.its not a true life drama.lol
NE: Who is your greatest influence in the Naija music industry and why?
Kayefi: There are so many of them o. But I like 9ICE. why? I think it should be obvious why I like is music. I like his command of the Yoruba language, all the proverbs and all but most especially his melody. oh! how I love 9ICE’s melodious voice too. And I pray God gives me TUFACE’s humility.
NE: Congrats on mommy and wifehood. As a female singer, how has motherhood changed you?
Kayefi: The first change I experienced was my figure which I’m seriously watching now. Then it has also thought me a lot of things like before I make any plans at all I have to first of all, consider them unlike when it was just me. But I’m very happy and proud to have them.
NE: What challenges do you think being a mom and a musician in a complex industry?
Kayefi: It’s not a big deal. I just need to manage my time well so that they don’t clash.
NE: How do you manage time with kids and days you have to travel for shows?
Kayefi: I miss them when they are not with me so much that I cry at times. But I just always make sure that they are well monitored and well catered for while I’m away and then rush home immediately I am done with whatever I’m doing.
NE: If you were not doing music, what would you be doing?
Kayefi: A lawyer or a presenter.
NE: What should we expect from Kayefi in the coming months?
Kayefi: More singles and then my album.
Kayefi Performs Iya Mi O Si Nile Yi o Live Performance by Kayefi
Watch more videos of Kayefi
Kayifi Idowu Ogbo
Wise ft. Kayefi – Otipe