Neo-Soul, Naija Style
Neo-soul newcomer Bez Idakula is the latest Nigerian to make a splash on the international stage. Earlier this year, the singer-songwriter became the first African artist to debut a song on BET’s popular 106 & Park, and he nabbed a recent shout-out in Vogue Italia. It’s no wonder Bez is getting all the attention – he’s got a golden voice, nerd-chic swagger, and some impressive guitar skills to boot.
Bez’s overall vibe falls in line with fellow alternative Naija artists like Nneka and Asa, but his music might best be described as the sonic lovechild of John Mayer and Janelle Monae. That vintage-soul sound is dialed up high on “That Stupid Song,” the tune that premiered on BET (see video below). Over a crunchy piano lick, sweet-as-pie background vocals and vinyl scratches, Bez sings American and Nigerian nursery rhymes in a Motown-era croon. It’s super-wholesome, and maybe even just a little bit corny, but somehow he totally gets away with it. And it doesn’t hurt that the beat is undeniably red-hot.
If you like what you hear, peep his debut album Super Sun, listed by the Boston Globe as one of the top international albums of 2012.