Genre conventions are as fluid as ever in today’s marketplace. Artists continue to crossover and have even manifested sub-genres as a result of their experimentation. Take Afro-swing for example; defined as a collision of Afrobeats, Dancehall (in places), Rap and Trap (as defined by platforms such as LinkUp), the sub-genre continues to gain traction and sprout success in the UK. Zarion Uti is an artist of this generation of blurred lines. Currently residing in Georgia, the Nigerian is ready to take over the globe with his unique palette of sounds. Boasting hundreds of thousands of streams to date, the artist is beginning to gain traction in the digital space. As he releases his latest single ‘YOU’, L Ø S T C U L T U R E briefly caught up with the act to discuss his career to date.
Tell us about which soundscapes/genres your music to date conveys?
This is probably the common question people ask… it’s still one the most difficult. My music is a careful blend of Afrobeat and R&B. A genre that I fully associate myself with. It’s called Afrosoul
Have your always lived in Georgia?
Oh no, I moved here last year.
How has America influenced your sound?
It has influenced me in such a major way. I find my inspiration everyday by my surroundings. I randomly take trips downtown just to write music sometimes, it’s just positive energy that affects you in ways you can’t really explain.
Your recent single ‘Aye’ is trap different, does that reflect your new sound going forward?
Haha, facts. It’s honestly only different to the listeners based on my previous projects. I’ve always been influenced by trap music so the whole idea was to show people that though I’m local, I’m international. Also, coming down to Atlanta, it’s definitely become my most popular song. I have Spanish, Arab and even Asian friends who say they constantly have it on repeat so that gives me a good feeling because in all honestly I was skeptical about putting it out at first.
Tell us the name and influence(s) behind your latest single?
It’s titled ‘YOU’ and it was mainly influenced by Afroblues. I’m talking about sounds you can relate to artists like Maleek Berry, Mr. Eazi and Dotman.
Is a project in the works?
Yes definitely. I feel like dropping it this year would have been too sudden even though I had most of my material already recorded. I’m currently trying to learn more and explore different genres and styles.
Do you seek to move out of Georgia to advance your career
Yes definitely. I have my eyes on either the UK or Canada. I should decide once I finish my degree over here
Do you think the internet can garner you the attention you need?
Definitely! The internet is home in every sense
How do you juggle school and music?
It’s honestly the most difficult thing ever, but I feel like I’ve found a balance. During hectic school work, I do mostly writing and recording but when things are less busy at school I do promotions and events.
Where are you from in Africa?
West Africa, I’m Nigerian.
What made you turn to music?
That’s a good one. I honestly feel like it was more like destiny than me turning to it. I was 15 when I made my first ever studio record. It started off in high school and it gradually became my career path.
Do you have any other struggles as an artist beyond the balance?
Constantly engaging the audience. By that, I mean keeping the ball rolling from not time to time but every time. as artists we tend to undergo certain things that make us less active on social media or just generally put out less music. The fact that we have to constantly engage the listeners to keep the numbers up is the most annoying to me personally because sometimes I just want to take a break.
When did you start to gain traction on the likes of Spotify, and how do you maintain momentum in the streaming era?
I mainly started last year after the release of my debut single ‘The Way’. I plan to work with promoters and promotion companies to keep the numbers rising because that’s honestly what it’s all about. I have certain goals in place and I won’t stop until they are all realized.
Name two artists off the top of your head that inspires or influence your music currently?
MØ and this very underground Canadian artist called Mansa.
Lastly, do you have any goals for the new year?
I want 10 million streams. That’s all that I would say for now. Thank you so much for having me Nic.