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PAUSE MEETS:

Asake

Chats influences, faith & awakening his spirit. 

Photographer: Callum High // @callumhigh95
Stylist: Raya Khaled // @morethanraya 
Assistant Stylists: Linda Calixte // @lindaacalixte
Elizabeth Agboola // @elizabethaagboola
Production: PAUSE Magazine Team
Interviewer: Amal AlTauqi // @altxuqi
Location: London, UK

“How I remain here is on me.”

When it comes to music, the quality of authenticity often carries more emotional resonance above all else. For Asake, this is instinctual.

Having been exposed to a rich tapestry of sounds and genres growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, the hot- shot maestro has synthesized the many elements of his upbringing and culture into his own unique approach. In the short time Asake has reached such heights, it is not only his music that reflects this philosophy but also the passion and integrity embodied in his beliefs that transcend everything he does.

“I say this all the time… [but] God loves me so much”.

In PAUSE’s exclusive feature, we delve into the rise of Asake – exploring his journey in the music industry and the wider influences that have shaped his artistry.

Music is more than a source of solace or inspiration; it reminds us that our shared humanity is also our greatest strength.

  Full Look: Mowalola, Shoes: Mowalola x Timberland, Hat: New Era, Eyewear: TD Kent

Among the vast expanses of the Nigerian music industry, the last year or so has been a whirlwind of success for you. As one of Nigeria’s most prominent musicians, when you take a moment to sit down and reflect on your journey, how does it feel? 

Taking a moment to think about my journey is something I do regularly because it helps me stay grateful, focused, and inspires me to do even more and never give up. How I got here, I can’t explain because God did that through the help of Olamide. But how I remain here, is on me. 

We are closely approaching the anniversary of the release of your record-breaking debut album, Mr Money with the Vibe (2022), the highest charting Nigerian debut in history. In light of its impact on society, what role do you feel your music plays? 

Music, they say, is food for the soul. The role my music plays is simple, I talk about my faith in God, encourage people to stay on their grind and of course, make people dance. Mr Money with the Vibe album is dear to my heart, [there] are a lot of emotions, happy moments, and vibes. The major role it plays is to remind people that their dreams are valid – they can be anything they want to be as long as they don’t give up. 

Your distinctive style of music is a result of such diverse musical influences, particularly the way you blend native Yoruba music Fuji with Pidgin slang and contemporary sounds. In what ways has your music evolved or changed since you first started, and what do you attribute this evolution to? 

My music hasn’t changed, and it will not change. My local dialect, which is Yoruba, is very important to me and I am not going to lose it. It is what has brought me this far and I continue to keep it that way. I see completely different races sing my songs, word for word, and that gladdens my heart. That feeling right there is priceless. 

In your music, you express clarity. Passion, perseverance, and artistic growth are hallmarks of your journey too. Which song of yours holds the most personal meaning to you and why?

All my songs are dear to me, I write all of them with passion and concentration. I barely rush my music; I always like to take my time on it. [Even] after recording, I listen carefully, amend what needs to be amended before submitting to management. If you listen to my songs, you will feel my energy and that is why it is easy for people to connect even when they don’t understand what I am saying in the song. 

  Full Look: Lu’u Dan, Shoes: Vetements x New Rock, Earrings: Y/project, Eyewear: TD Kent

Along with sold-out shows and media appearances, you followed up with the release of your sophomore album, Work of Art (2023), which embraces a more introspective and celebratory side to your artistic debut. Tell us more about this latest album and how it has been received.

Work of Art is a piece of me that I shared with the world. God is very artistic, everything He created was formed and designed and that is why they are still standing here until this date. I wanted people to see the artistic side of me, and I feel blessed that people were able to see it from my point of view and accepted it. I feel blessed. 

Is there anything about being a musician that challenges you the most?

The fact that I want to be better than I was yesterday is a challenge. I am my own competition; I force myself to be better at my craft. I study, I rehearse, I listen, I pray and stay passionate. All these things are my challenges. 

We cannot forget your experience at Fashion Week, a time when individuality, self-identity and expression are fully celebrated. During your experience, what stood out the most? 

Fashion week was phenomenal. The glitz and glamour were sensational. I love to look good and wear good clothes and Fashion Week made me meet people who loved clothes as much as me. It was an amazing experience and I look forward to it next year. 

Full Look: John Lawrence Sullivan, Shoes: Adidas, Necklaces: Vitaly, Eyewear: TD Kent

With your attendance, you opted for a futuristic approach. In similar fashion, your music too evokes otherworldliness. In what ways do you use fashion to enhance your creativity?

My creativity in music and my style in fashion are both elements of who I am. They both can independently stand on their own but it’s lucky me who gets to rock both worlds that I love at the same time. I say this all the time… God loves me so much.

Who or what has been your biggest fashion inspiration?

My biggest fashion inspiration is my imagination to create looks in my head and have them come alive. I may not know how to put it out, but I sure do have the ideas in my head. I recognise it when a stylist or fashion designer brings it to life [too].

As a stylistic lover of many brands, what is one thing that helps to define Asake’s ‘signature look’?

Asake’s signature look would be the fitted top and extra baggy pants. Daring looks that spin the necks around (laughs).

 Jacket: Mowalola, Jeans: B1 Archive, Shoes: John Lawrence Sullivan, Eyewear: Arena Goggles

So, what kind of things awaken your spirit and passions?

My spirit and passion are awakened at all times because I am on my grind and on-guard. I don’t snooze unless I really have to. I have only been here for about 2 years, and I intend to stay for a very long time. So yes, I am steadily passionate and high-spirited.

I mean, you resourcefully studied Theatre Arts at University. In what ways are you able to translate your academic experience into your musical performance – particularly at shows?

Yes, I studied theatre arts and that has helped in my performances. [For instance], I know how to cheer the crowd, control the mood, and make use of the total stage. As I perform on different stages, it keeps getting better and I keep upgrading my server.

It takes a truly unique artist to capture the attention of both critics and fans alike. When people listen to your music or see you perform, what do you hope they take away from it?

When they watch me or listen to me, I want them to believe that anything is possible. They can be great too and can champion a cause, they can be able to live the life of their dreams and be successful at it.

Follow Asake on Instagram

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