俯瞰尼日利亞拉各斯風景如畫的海洋背景，Afrobeats 音樂家 Oxlade 在他最具代表性的元素中採取了一種強大但有點脆弱的立場，即水。與 Oxlade 的亮粉色、醒目印花和超大剪裁牛仔布並置，最後是他眾多紋身和大雪珍珠項鍊的前衛特寫，證明了他目前為自己建立的生活。性格開朗，性格古怪，性格平靜，神秘。
他以 Ikuforiji Abdulrahman Olaitan 的身份出生，是他將自己的創造力或現實生活經驗注入的每一個項目的見證，他的觀眾對此讚歎不已。他發行了許多肯定會出現在您或您鄰居的播放列表中的單曲，包括“AWAY”、“DKT”，以及最近電台最受歡迎的 Dolapo 的“Interest”，其中包括班克斯女士和他本人。
Words by Ben Broyd
Creative Direction: Derrick Odafi
Photography Mariana Pires
Styling Margaret Zawedde
Styling Asst. Owen Smith
Photography Asst. Zubayr Hossain
MUA Natalie Messino
Production Assistant Danai Tsuro
Studio Frame Perfect
NW: Hey, man. How's it going?
WurlD: Bless. I’m bless. It's moody out here and it's raining, but my spirit and energy is consistent. That’s the most important thing. How are you?
NW: I'm good, I'm good. How are you enjoying your time over here?
WurlD: I came in last night from Lagos, where the humidity makes it so hot. I'm just trying to make sure I don’t fall sick and stay really protected, it's been a very quick change of temperature and weather, you know.
NW: Yeah, I can imagine. Yeah. What’s life like back in Lagos?
WurlD: You know what Lagos is a lot of madness, but very beautiful. I call it beautiful madness. It gets addictive in a way as well; it brings out the fire in you. I spend a lot of time with my family when I’m in Lagos, because the past 20 years, I've only spent like three or four years there, 2000 to 2017 I was in the US. So, from the end of 2017 till now, I’ve spent a lot more time in Nigeria. It was a long gap, so it just feels good to be reconnecting with home. I'd love to spend a lot more time here because for 17 years, I only saw my mom like once a year. Just being with my family now, it's just beautiful, and creating music at home in Nigeria, I can’t trade it for nothing else, you know?
NW: Yeah, I completely understand. And so, your artist name is very original. What does it represent to you?
WurlD: So, world is my world with you, which is the title of my new album. How do I explain it, so world the U is you, so it's my world with you. So, for me, I feel like I'm an instrument of everything that I've seen and experienced, places that I've been, just everybody else around me, everything you've seen and experienced shapes who you are, and WurlD is my world with you and everything around me. That's why I titled the new album ‘My World With U’. I've had it for so long, I didn't reveal it until I was ready to make this particular album. I started off creating this album in a very commercial mindset where I felt like I had a lot to prove. I wanted to create commercial music that would shut up some critics and do something that I felt like I'd done before that was successful. And after over a year of creating, I realised that I didn't have the depth that I wanted. I didn't have the authenticity; I didn't have the realness that I wanted. I went back in the studio and started creating a lot more conversations that was more personal of my struggle. So, the balance of this album, you hear a lot of my thoughts on things that I've been to, how I see things, how I see everything, some of my ideas and what I want out of life, and what I want for the people around me, and just I kind of went more in depth into those conversations.
NW: So, you were born in Lagos, but moved to Atlanta to pursue your education. Did you feel like you had to do this move for you to chase your dreams?
WurlD: You know what, just like every African, our parents when they pay for you to go overseas, it's a lot of money. My mum paid for my tuition to Atlanta to study and music was my thing. That's what I really wanted to do. So, I had to juggle between college and music and try to find myself in the music scene, daytime in a school, night-time in studios trying to pay, using my pocket money to pay for studio sessions and just to get my ideas down. It was important for me to finish college because I was learning so much. I knew it was important for my parents, as well. I wanted to make my mum proud. I went ahead and got a master's degree, but sometimes I wish I actually got my Master’s degree in music because I went and did my undergrad in Computer Science, and Master's in Information Technology, it was easy for me to get the Master's done, because if I had taken another discipline, I would have probably had to start over and make my Master’s longer. So, I wanted to be done with school and get my masters so I could focus solely on music. But while I was in college, the entire time I was building myself up, I was learning how to create music. I was writing songs for other artists in Atlanta, I was working with B.O.B, I was writing for Mario, I was working with country musicians, I was working with a lot of hip-hop, down south hip hop, and working with a lot of trap musicians, I found myself in different rooms, and it really made me who I am today because I look back it was all a learning process. This particular album has elements of hip hop, r&b and Afrobeats, which is really like my journey; I was born in Nigeria with Afrobeats, learning how to create music in Atlanta, r&b, hip hop and all that. In this album really this is really who I am, is my true story. I really don't create music with a genre. My goal is just to create heartfelt music that motivates and inspires people. Different feels, I think you can definitely find different feels in my music.
NW: And with that in mind, who were your musical influences growing up, and how have they impacted your musical style in your solo career?
WurlD: All the way from Michael Jackson to Kanye West to Boyz 2 Men, Coldplay I listened to all types of music. I think I've also been influenced by a lot of African musicians like Fela Kuti, Shina Peters, King Sunny Ade, just so many. I listen to music and I've been inspired by so many, even new artists like the Futures, I listen to a lot of hip-hop music, and I just been influenced by just so many different artists in different genres of music. I just love music in general. I don't listen to music naturally, I listen to music, listen to details. I'm a creative mind and my ears are hearing different things. A lot of people probably won't pay attention to it, most people listen and dance and enjoy music. I'm listening to the backgrounds, the percussion and the cadence, why this person's song sounds better than this, and finding myself in the process, I’m a student of the art in general.
NW: And so, how important is heritage to you and how do you try to convey this within your music?
WurlD: You know what, it's everything. Good story, right - When I was living in Atlanta, I was working with B.O.B, Mario and all these artists that were local, and bear in mind I was born in Nigeria. And I had a placement on this album, and people loved the record. This was an album called ‘Ether’. And I had a song called ‘I Know’ it was B.O.B featuring me, and I remember working with Trinidad James as well. I would go to these artists or go to their hometown because it was closer while they're doing videos, and I would see and feel that love that they get in their hometown. For me, despite the fact that I was on that album, there was still a certain level of disconnection. Because that's not my original home, right? I wanted that for myself. I knew the importance of being loved by your own heritage and people where you're from, because what happens is when you make it you become a good gauge, you inspire people, and it was important to have that connection. And I'm so blessed today, fast forward, here I am, like I've been in Nigeria with so many fans and so many people that really appreciate and support me and it means the world to me. I know I can be anywhere in the world knowing that where I'm from they appreciate what I do and they love me, and that’s the best feeling.
Full jacket, Noemie Wilson
Jacket, Tamar Levy
Trousers, Tamar Levy
Blue jumper, Delores
NW: So obviously with that in mind, how proud are you of the music coming out of Africa and in particular Nigeria, with the likes of yourself, Burna Boy, and Wizkid as some examples? It really is an amazing time for African music right now.
WurlD: Absolutely. It's an amazing time, it's only going to get better because this is kind of, not the first phase, because there were great artists before us, and it's going to get better with the ones that come after us. Because we're breaking new boundaries, we know the range is increasing every day. But now you have got the next generation that are watching us know, you're gonna have the newer Wizkid, you're going to have the new Burna boys, you're going to have the artists that were inspired by Davido, inspired by Tiwa Savage, and artists that are inspired by me and the new generation, and they're going to come with different range, different conversations, so much more pride and in just energy, and it's only going to get better.
NW: Do you feel that it might be perhaps a sort of a new wave of African artists perhaps in the past, they wanted more acceptance in the Western world, to be big in America. Whereas now they’re prouder to represent their African heritage?
WurlD: Absolutely, it's happening now. It's happening as we speak. And you know what, I'm curious to see how far it goes. I know it's gonna be beautiful, it's gonna be special, because we have a lot to give. There are so many parts in Africa, you still have the South Africans, the East African, you have North Africa, but you see the Amapiano sounds from South Africa emerging as well now, and people go crazy for this sound. So, what's gonna happen over the years, and in the years to come is different sounds from different parts of Africa, beyond just Afrobeat’s, you're gonna have Amapiano now, something new is gonna start. So, it's beyond just Nigeria it's going to spread, and the world is going to start experiencing different colours of Africa. It's just not one thing. It's just different colours. So now the western world is going to have a lot more to choose from, than just XYZ, you have A to Z Now, whatever your vibe is, that you relate to, and it's going to be beautiful.
NW: It really will be. So before thriving as an artist, you worked as a songwriter, how do you feel this experience helped you to become the artist that you are today?
WurlD: It was everything. Once upon a time, I remember when I was in college, I would go lobby around studios in Atlanta, and they wouldn’t let me into the studio because I was really nobody, just the African kid. And there's this perception of you’re African, we’re doing r&b here, we're doing Hip Hop here, like what do you know about that? Perception wise? You know, I'm not fit to be in that room. I had to work 3,4,5 times harder than the rest. I remember one day, an amazing producer, one of my mentors, Kenny Smooth. He's created some amazing chart records in America. He saw me sitting in the lobby, and he walked up to me like ‘what do you do?’ I was like, ‘I write songs’, and I only had maybe two demos. I played it for him, and he was like ‘Oh, you kind of cool, kind of nice’. And he was the first person to really let me into the studio. And everything changed for me then, you know, from there, I started working with artists that he was working with. He believed in me, like different people walk into the studio, like yo, this African kid is nice. From there I started working with Timbaland, then I had a placement with him and Timbaland. Then I met Mario and Trinidad James, I met B.O.B and was also working with country musicians and female pop artists, and it just kept going. And all this was a learning process for me. And when I started taking my artistic careers more seriously, it made it easier for me to communicate my music, because I worked behind the scenes trying to help all the artists craft their sounds and their songs in their melodies. So, it helped me with a lot of my range.