Olawale Ashimi, better known as Brymo, is a singer, songwriter and composer. He started recording music about two decades ago and has relentlessly kept up his game. Over the years, he has had hit tracks and a lot more. Brymo tells Tosin Clegg how the journey started in 1999, becoming Brymo, his projects and more
Pretty difficult to describe oneself
I think it’s pretty difficult to describe oneself, but I know that a lot of thought goes into doing what I do and being Brymo can be lonely, but that’s part of the deal. To blaze the trail usually includes doing it alone.
In 1999 Brymo was still an idea
Keeping ‘Brymo’ has seen me evolving from phase to phase. I can tell you a long story about how I did it, but the truth is all of this is only a product of continuous effort and grace. My musical influences have expanded a lot since 1999, from my R&B days till now, I make folk music. I think the greatest gift any artiste of the 21st century has is the abundance of musical works by great artistes of the past and present. I have particularly enjoyed immensely the creations of other songwriters and vocalists worldwide, and their efforts have greatly fuelled my own creativity.
My style of music is ‘alternative’
I have drawn influence from soul, traditional Yoruba music, rock, folk and even pop. Inspiration is from living, therefore very easy to find. I think the hard part is channeling one’s ever-changing truth and sharing it with the world.
I admire Asa’s music
I would like to work with Asa. What remains is to set it up. She is the one person I can collaborate with. What she talks about, such as love, social issues, everyday issues, are things that matter to me. I had important things to talk about. It is hard to bring someone who doesn’t know my thought process to collaborate on such a song. Many of my colleagues collaborate because of positioning. There is so much politics involved in collaboration so I chose to sing alone. I have collaborated in the past but I was not satisfied with the outcome.
What drove my controversial nude post
The loincloth costume was designed for the video of ‘Heya’, and the concept was basically around a bushman coming to the city. People had different reactions, and it’s the power of entertainment. You get different perspectives from different quarters.
The video is for people to see that we’re backward and need to change.
I was not happy that people said I did something wrong. It means people have forgotten where we came from. I am a bushman, still living in a world made possible by the West.
I, like other Africans, am just existing and not responsible for technological advancements and innovations. We have not contributed to the world. We don’t solve problems or create solutions.
About my recent concerts
We had one in the UK, and another in Lagos, a few days later. The London concert was my first in many years there, and I was pretty surprised people came out at all to see me, and we are looking to expand there and even tour more of Europe. Lagos was a blast, we had a greater turnout this year than the previous editions before it.
Currently, there are a few projects in the works for me, more information will be shared with the public as time passes. The team is working on concerts, albums, and even a few movie scores.
I have worked with ‘The Bail Entertainment’ for the last five years, it’s been one success story after another, and I hope we can continue to push the bar higher, and enjoy greater successes together. I want to continuously find success off the satisfaction of my followers and fans. To continue to be a part of the conversations that’ll bring lasting solutions, to take my industry and country to greater heights.
My latest album
My latest album is OSÓand it contains no collaborations. There are 11 tracks, and the project was a culmination of my experiences as a songwriter and performer. The songs are ‘a poetic pondering’, and some of them are about love. OSÓ was produced by Amarachukwu Joses, my producer since the last decade or so.
There have been a lot of greats Acts, especially when you mention the greats like Fela, without any doubt, who happens to be my number one mentor. But as it stands today, the present generation did not listen to Fela, so you cannot sell that to them. They will tell you ‘yeah! Fela was great, Fela was great,’ but what are they listening to now? Somebody needs to get their attention and tell them: ‘look over here, this will help your life more. This will help you find calm and help you find peace. And if that’s not what is greatest, then what is?’
Brymo is also a writer
I recently completed and published my first book as a bestselling author. My everyday life is pretty much around family and friends, I also like to meet people and get involved in important conversations and I love to travel. I travel as often as I can.
Because of the nature of my job, I get to move around a lot. I like to travel as a tourist as well; it exposes me to new cultures and places.
Life is a miracle, love is magic, and society, despite its great flaws is an entity worth protecting, for the sake of those coming after us at least.