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Descend Into the Majestic Depths of Nirvanhai O'Raahikojo's Songwriting In, "On the Low"

Not to be confused with the American rock band of the same name, Nirvanhai's valor, panache, swagger, and avant-garde concepts of songwriting distinguish him as, artistic Afro-fusion innovation at its finest.

The multilingual singer with a genesis like many who started off in a Church Choir where he developed singing in his mother's tongue. Furthering his abilities, he often writes and sings music in Twi, Japanese, Korean, and is currently tackling Portuguese.

Exotic, diva-like, and soulful; Nirvanhai O'Raahikojo’s vocals dance in a sublime synthesis of Afro, R&B sounds.

Dipping into the acoustically powered rendition of his most recently released single “On The Low” takes listeners on a soothing journey of musical therapy. The sparse and welcoming guitar strums allow your mind to get lost in the silent spaces between Nirvanhai’s captivating vocal performance. With such delicate ease that brushes against your ears like a gust of wind, the brilliance that is captured in this intimate setting is truly one to make note of.

Showing you just how versatile the artist is, your mind is transported to a various state that leaves you filled with a reflective thought process. Sweeping you into a timid allure of anticipation, the backing harmonies that are performed in an angelic way leave you with a chilling falsetto so powerful, that you can’t deny the goosebumps forming down your spine.

With a breeze of lyrical motifs that reflect on the adoring themes such as, ‘I know you shy, but it’s cool when we’re making love,’ Nirvanhai O'Raahikojo has us wrapped around his finger and wanting more from his artistic capsule of originality. Be sure to lure your mind to a vulnerable state of love with “On the Low,” as you hear what all the hype is about for yourself.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Nirvanhai O'Raahikojo, and congratulations on the release of your beautifully, angelic single “On the Low.” With the genres that you explore often avoiding the acoustic route, what inspired you to apply this take towards this record?

Ay, thank you BuzzMusic, ‘preciate it! Well, when I heard the original by Burna Boy I was obsessed with the song, so I always knew I wanted to cover it. At first, I was going to do it more traditionally uptempo, but then I thought that the idea lacked originality, I mean, anyone can just sing “On The Low”. What really inspired me was the lack of ‘Afro ballads’ or ‘Acoustic’ type records within the Afro genre. They are amazing, I mean look at ‘Circle of Life, I would consider that one of the greatest songs of all time! A lot of the Afro vibes nowadays are dance-heavy, and summer turn-ups, or like island vibes, and though that is a big aspect of my music; I am a vocalist first. So I wanted to really recreate the feel of On The Low, turning it from a sunny club banger into more of a heart-aching sunset vibe, like an after-the-party hangover, and add to the legend and visionary himself, Burna Boy’s artistic interpretation.

Was “On the Low” written about anyone or anything in particular? How does it tie into yourself as an artist?

No, aha! This was during Summer in Quarantine 2020, and all I really did was recreate the arrangement, the song was already written by Burna Boy so you’d have to ask him that question. For me, I first heard this song in a pre-pandemic world summer where I was beginning to hone into my sound as an artist, so you could say it was one of the songs that really pushed me to go more in an Afro-fusion genre route, rather than my previous strictly R&B/Pop direction.

At what point did you know that this song was complete and ready to release? How did the process fit the vision that you had in store?

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t so straightforward as record, engineer, and done. The producer of the instrumental arrangement, Ariexile, lived in a different city than me, and I would correspond with her back and forth to get the tempo of the song and the atmosphere just right, and I’m a bit of an extreme perfectionist. Originally, I went to her spot hours away to shoot visuals for it, but that got scrapped. In the end, the vision was fine-tuned into the beauty of simplicity: A song that is loved by the Afrobeats community, transformed into an acoustic version that will stand the test of time. That’s all we wanted it to be; I think we achieved that.

What is your mission statement as an artist? How do you ensure to carry that out in everything that you do?

You know, a part of my mission statement is actually my next single called ‘Nothing but Culture’, but it’s a bit understated in that song, and only the tip of the iceberg. My name ‘Nirvanhai’ means ‘7 Islands of Paradise,’ and I guess the first island would be myself and the euphoria I feel when I open my mouth to sing. I want to evolve Afro music, revealing layers of my music through the lens of different cultures, sort of like a kaleidoscope. By fusing all my cultural experiences, I seek to create a nirvana or paradise of music that wasn’t possible before, because you couldn’t learn about different cultures via the internet as we can now. What happens when Afrobeats is sung authentically in Spanish? or in Arabic or Japanese? Some of the songs on my project that I’m currently working on are in more than one language, which is challenging at times, but exciting and personally rewarding. I want people from like South Korea to feeling what I felt when I was a kid listening to KPop, only, I want them (and other cultures) to access Afrobeats in a way that feels more personal to them and their cultural experience.


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