Concocting a heady cocktail of gospel soul, afrobeat percussion and trap vocal cadences, the artist born Steven Umoh spans a number of genres and styles without quite belonging to any of them. Which is precisely what makes him so captivating. Born and raised in Nigeria, his ambition was to become a rapper in the US mold of Eminem or Nelly, until a move to the UK to study taught him to harness his identity to create his own style – a totally unique baritone that spans from a Tom Waits rasp to griot to soaring neo soul – often in the space of the same song.
Capturing the attention of XL Records Richard Russell early in his career, Obongjayar contributed vocals to the veteran producer and label boss’ 2017 EP ‘Close but Not Quite’. Since then a steady stream of ep’s have marked him as an essential, and totally unique voice in soul music – wherever it may hail from.