Douye’: Quality Music Not Bound by Time, Era, But Reflection of Human Experience

Douye’: Quality Music Not Bound by Time, Era, But Reflection of Human Experience

Douye’ Youduba, known professionally as Douye’, emerges as a singular figure in Nigeria’s music landscape, particularly within the realm of jazz. Despite her significant talent and contributions to the genre, she remains somewhat overlooked and under-reported. She delves into her artistry unveiling the complexities of her public and private personas, providing insights into the essence of her enigmatic allure. With a blend of humility and confidence, she shares anecdotes from her musical journey, shedding light on the influences and experiences that have shaped her unique style. Through her storytelling and introspection, Douye’ invites listeners to explore the nuances of her personality and the passion that fuels her music. Her narration to Tosin Clegg, offers a glimpse into her multifaceted persona, revealing layers of depth and charisma that captivate audiences, her journey into Jazz and much more

What initially drew you to jazz music, and how has your relationship with the genre evolved over the years?

I was born and raised in Nigeria, where I was introduced to jazz music by my father at a young age. Ever since then, my ears have been titled towards that direction. Over the years, I started to develop my sound and later on went to the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood to study voice and that prepared me in my artistic journey. I began performing as a jazz singer in venues throughout California and later on released multiple albums which showcased her unique blend’s different genres. My music has been praised for its emotional depth and powerful storytelling, and I have been recognised for my contributions to the jazz genre. In addition to my music career, I founded my own record label, Groove Note Records, and have spoken out about the importance of supporting fellow musicians in the music industry. Overall, I am a highly respected and recognised artiste in the world of jazz music, known for my powerful vocals and innovative approach to the genre.

Jazz is known for its improvisational nature. How do you approach improvisation in your performances, and what role does spontaneity play in your creative process?

Jazz is about having your own identity and being true to the genre. The improvisation comes from being able to express yourself freely. You can only do that when you are in tune with yourself and your musical abilities. Being a Nigerian who is exposed to the western world, I am privileged to blend  the two together.

Collaboration is often a key aspect of jazz music. Can you share some memorable collaborations you’ve had with other musicians, and how they have influenced your own artistic journey?

I am grateful to have been able to work with jazz legends such as Ron Carter, Kenny Baron, Russell Malone, Buster Williams, Lionel Loueke, Sean Jones, and a plethora of others. It was an honor working with them and those experiences broadened my understanding and appreciation for the genre. That encouraged me to evolve as a jazz artist and continue to expand my artistry.

Compare present-day music and the oldies?

Quality music is not bound by time or era. It is a reflection of the human experience, and as long as there are artists who are passionate about their craft and committed to creating something meaningful, there will always be quality music for us to enjoy and be inspired by.

How do you engage and connect with your audience during live shows to ensure everyone has a memorable experience?

Jazz may be known to be diverse, however, it still demands authenticity. When performing it is important for me to connect with my audience through the music that I perform by being authentic with my emotions and the spirit of the music. When people come to watch one perform, what they are looking for is the artist’s presence in sound, style, and most of all, the trueness in the delivery of the music emotionally and spiritually by the artist, and these are the elements that I bring to the stage.

How do you incorporate elements of tradition and innovation into your music?

One of the beauties of Jazz is that it transcends all cultures. I was privileged to have had a father who loved the genre incredibly and grandly exposed me to it from when I was a child. That exposure broadened my love and awareness of the genre and how I could utilise this thing called jazz to blend cultures and remain authentic to the spirit of jazz. My recent album titled, The Golden Sèkèrè is a body of work that reflects the blend of my Nigerian heritage and my appreciation for the Western jazz sound. I utilised Nigerian instruments such as the talking drum, sekere, and more with the Western instruments blending both sounds in interpreting the Great American Songbook which is a rare and innovative form in the jazz world.

Can you walk us through your creative process when composing or arranging jazz pieces? How do you draw inspiration and translate it into music?

For me, music is not just a passion, it’s the very air I breathe. It’s my life. My creative process is drawn from life and the issues of the world and most importantly, being open to the spirit of music. Thus, the most critical aspect of the creative process is to be able to listen to what the spirit of music wants you to do because, when I listen, the arrangement, or composition becomes easy to handle.

Finally, what upcoming projects or performances do you have in store for your fans?

I have released over five albums but there are so many unreleased projects in my storage but the idea of a new project is always something in mind. My mind and spirit is open to determining what my next project would be like…I can tell you that whatever, it would be, would be a project that holds substance and quality and of course my sound and style. Being able to perform is something that I always look forward to because it allows me to connect with my fans and share beautiful musical experiences with them.

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