Mr Eazi: From Accra, to Lagos, to London
14 Sep 2017
It’s ya boy Eazi, but not just with his self-established banku music releases (a music fusion he describes as “Ghanaian bounces, Ghanaian highlife, Nigerian chord progressions, and Nigerian patterns”) we have come to love and admire. London’s Camden Roundhouse will soon be transformed into an immersive Afrobeats festival, in the form of Life Is Eazi Culture Fest on Saturday 23 September. From Accra, to Lagos, to London… we are all invited. Life is Eazi Culture Fest is designed to showcase some of the original elements of the afrobeats sound – art, fashion, dance and music – this one night afrobeats extravaganza, is a must for any African music lover.
With such huge success in his home countries, of both Nigeria and Ghana, the London audience does seem too in pale in comparison, so why a London location for the first ever Life Is Eazi Fest? Mr. Eazi (aka Uncle London) explains, “When it comes to the diaspora, London has been very key to my music.” He says. “I mean, it’s my biggest stream market on some of the streaming platforms. Plus I moved here in October and I think the city is crucial to the genre and by far the most receptive.”
“With the success of my mixtape and the growing attention for afrobeats globally, I thought why not do an event that can be annual? Where I show my fans the different elements that body up the genre from dance, to fashion, to the DJs and music etc…”
Mr Eazi is the first artist, certainly of this generation, to conquer both Nigeria and Ghana sonically, infusing both styles successfully, is totally unprecedented. The energy of Nigeria mixed with the easy going vibes from Ghanaian life and their combined feel-good approach to music, comes together perfectly in his catalogue, both countries under one sound.
Music isn’t Eazi’s only way of putting Africa on the map, Nigeria and Ghana specifically. His style is very unapologetically African, with the most eye-catching and arresting, statement pieces ever seen. For example, I am sure Mr Eazi is the only person with a custom suit made entirely from “Ghana Must Go” bags – a large, woven, plastic bag, used when the Nigerian government asked all of the Ghanaian settlers to leave the country. The mix of contemporary streetwear and traditional African pieces, such as his signature straw hat (from the Ashanti region of Ghana) makes Mr Eazi somewhat of a style icon, already landing him in Vogue magazine. His Ukrainian fans seem to also love his style and have somehow adopted the straw hats, worn in great numbers to his show there. “It’s new. It’s a vibe. I’ve only been able to do Ukraine, because I have been swamped doing everywhere else, but it was crazy!” Eazi said, when asked about his time there.
The emergence of afrobeats and its popularity, especially in the UK, is very refreshing to see. Especially as being African hasn’t always been “cool” here. Thus, seeing African music, fashion and food celebrated at the Life is Eazi festival, is a very important and progressive step in the right direction. Eazi promises an authentic African musical experience at his festival – expect to “detty yasef” whilst absorbing all the origins of the afrobeats sound. “I will have the DJs playing specific sets to enlighten people on the evolution of afrobeats. Dance has been very crucial in propagating afrobeats and as such, I will be hosting an afrobeats dance competition at the festival as well as a mini fashion showcase it should be exciting.”
Speaking on one of the main attraction full west African experience, Mr Eazi refused to answer my question about Nigerian jollof vs Ghanaian jollof and instead just laughed. However, his points on the unification of Africa and the diaspora, in terms of recent infighting over terms like, “afro-bashment”/ dancehall infused afrobeats were very succinct. “I think music is music. No one really owns anything, because we all borrow influences at the end of the day. Let’s just make music that is cultural to us and spread it worldwide like reggae.” With reggae music being very popular in Ghana, this is also noticeable in Eazi’s style and sound. From the red, yellow and green accents on his clothing to ‘Skin Tight’ being warmly embraced by the reggae and dancehall communities, Mr Eazi continues to unite different fractions of the globe one step at a time.
For such an accomplished artist, with what seems like a very entrepreneurial and creative streak. What is next in the life of Eazi? “I want to try pushing my present songs on a more global scale [i.e. radio and PR across the world] before I put out my next single. Also I’m working on a few tech products back home that will change the African music scene. Towards the end of the year I’d love to focus on my charity and complete the 10 wells I vowed to build at the beginning of the year. It is all very exciting stuff and hopefully I can launch my label next year too.”
Tickets for Life is Eazi are available to purchase here.