Femi Koya is an Afrobeat music composer and performer. He is also a saxophonist, dynamic vocalist with a rich blend of deep afrobeat and contemporary groove. He lived in South Africa for years and grew a brand and legacy which he has now brought back home. He talks to Tosin Clegg about his music, plans and more
Define your kind of music and what makes it special?
My Kind of music is Root African sound mixed with jazz, urban sound – traditional Afrobeat highlife. It’s special because I had the opportunity of having a crossover sound between the West and South Africa. Engaging in both cultures of Nigeria and South Africa has influenced my music.
What would you be doing differently, coming back home with your music?
I wouldn’t be doing things differently, as staying true to who I am makes the difference. I am willing to make meaningful collaborations that will enhance the perception of the music. Furthermore, I want to erase the fear that young people cannot play their original music or stay true to their culture.
How has your musical journey been so far?
My musical journey so far has enjoyed the strength of originality and embraces the Nigerian heritage. People find my music interesting because they have what I have, and I am not trying to be like them. Challenges have been language barrier and being seen as a foreigner on African soil. Moreover, the wrongdoings of fellow Nigerians outside there is pretty disturbing.
What’s your music to you and how do you think it impacts lives?
My music to me is the air that I breathe, it’s the food that I eat, it’s my entirety. When I perform and I see happiness on the faces of people and, sometimes, when the music’s message gets stronger and the people get thinking, I feel good that someone has been touched. In a couple of years from now, I see myself as an African ambassador who will bring to life the spirit of Africa and heritage of our land.