R&B singer, songwriter and record producer Jasën Blu made the smoothest re-appearance after a stretch between his last release with his latest drop, very fittingly named Otojometa, a term which commonly means “long time, no see” or “it has been a while” in his native tongue, Yoruba. Otojometa, essentially a greeting phrase with which the Yorubas salute friends, family and other cordial acquaintances who they are seeing after a remarkable stretch of time, also thoughtfully denotes Blu’s bit of absentia since his last release since 2021’s EndSARS Memorial (notably October 20th which marks the anniversary of the infamous EndSARS anti-police brutality protest in Nigeria’s major cities), on which Blu lent his voice to the people with his patriotic anthem, My Kontri.
Otojometa a sparse but soulfully crafted orchestration yet again, and now as usual, credited to Blu for his SoundQraft LLC production outfit, employs the laidback and hyper-smooth feel reminiscent of his previous single Already, and notably, in its writing, contains wordplays of his own song titles within the verse where Blu stylistically reminds the fans of his previously released songs including “Already” itself, Brown Shuga, When I Get Home, Love Or Nothin and the BigMaxx assisted Enough off his Road 2 Soulwave EP from late 2020. Very worthy of mention also, on the beautifully mellow layer of conga drums and Rhodes piano chord, is Blu‘s tribute to his late friend and veteran radio personality, Onome The BigTyme</em> Oyaide, a well-regarded media figure who passed away earlier in April to the dismay of many in the Nigerian music industry. Standout components of the record also include a funky bass, soft guitar licks that instantly take the mind to the soul classics, and a very lush, gospel-styled layer of background vocal overdubs gloriously topped by Blu‘s signature smooth, confident lead vocal performance that would have made the R&B great proud.
Accompanying the song is the official music video, directed by Femd Nsidibebong, featuring a silk-clad Blu seated in a soft-lit acoustic room surrounded by wired microphones and musical instruments, performing the song. The video reinforces Blu‘s image as the quintessential modern soulman, a vintage styled up-riser upholding what classic R&B has always stood for in 2022. And in an Afrobeats and pop dominated Nigerian music scene, nonetheless. This would be considered a remarkably bold showing for any artist if the music itself does not draw the listener in far enough to forget anything else but the overall smoothness of it.
When reached for comment, Blu reveals he had in fact, contrary to how fans might have felt about the stretch of time without a new release, been recording quite a lot of music. “My work at SoundQraft keeps me on my toes on a daily basis,” he commented. “Recently I’ve recorded a bunch of soundtracks for a number of Nollywood films, and composed the scores and sound designs for several others. And then there’s Soulwave, which I still keep working on pending its release. All these things eat into the time allotted to my own projects, but I’ve had to find balance as all these things are crucial to my progress as an artist and entrepreneur. It’s been quite awesome to be able to do all these things I’ve always aspired to do musically, and I appreciate the amount of progress I’ve made thus far in the business.”
Blu‘s debut album Soulwave is still expected to be released in 2022, as his reps confirms Otojometa as a buzz release towards the buildup. And if this latest offering is anything to go by, we are anxiously waiting for a whole body of work of its standard.
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