The unusual artistry of Orliam

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The unusual artistry of Orliam

The unusual artistry of Orliam
March 09
11:24 2016
  • Famous Nigerian Jazz musician who is taking Europe by storm

There’s something fascinating about a smart artiste who defies stereotype. That’s what makes Orliam, a Nigerian singer and songwriter — so interesting.

Orliam is hardly your run of the mill artiste. His imaginative genius manifests in his feral creativity and articulateness, his mastery of form, and his profound and hardnosed attachment to a self-made aesthetic that he expresses through means that are entirely of the moment: contemporary jazz, digital downloads, fashion, Twitter, blogs, live streaming video.

Orliam is a creative genius of the iPhone era, an enthusiast of contemporary Nigerian music, intent on using his creative and expressive gifts to articulate the yearnings and fantasies of his audience.

Not a few contemporary artistes of his ilk would kill to possess his kind of artistic quality and have it on rampant display; Orliam’s creative talent is rare to the point of being eccentric. It is not so often that you would find so many astounding variables in one artiste, including features which ought to be incompatible: vulnerability, a sense of menace, sterling and comprehensible intellect, candour, audacity — and a rather startling energy.

When you talk to Orliam, his bright, sparkly demeanor always makes it look like he has just chanced on his “Eureka!” moment, whether you’re talking about Nigerian politics, music or simply sharing war stories. He is that infectious with his persona. That’s why he exudes such great vitality — he is never one to shy away from challenge or unfamiliar territory. He is always open to the whole experience that is music. Friends and associates attest that he would glean a good idea from anyone. “He’s always willing to try anything and oftentimes times succeed in making everyone around him feel so special,” exudes a close friend and associate of the artiste.

Despite his fame and celebrity status, Orliam moves in public with unusual candour and humility. He relates honestly, with total sincerity and integrity with his fans and acquaintances, and doesn’t hesitate to sign a child’s autograph or compliment an attractive girl or woman whatever the social divide the latter belongs to.

As a young man, a large part of his appeal probably comes from his playfulness, towering modesty and nonthreatening appearance. His broad features have a squashy, soothing quality, the character of someone easily taken advantage of and yet streetwise. Even in hyped hip-hop era poses, when he’s sticking it up to the camera, he flaunts that rare ability to win over even the most disinterested fan with his infectious, daring features.

Trained by Peter King, a renowned master of the art, Orliam draws from a broad range of influences to express himself through music as a global citizen in search of a befitting place in the strive for world peace and harmony. His sizzling music genre is a cryptic marriage of ageless forms with contemporary flavours. Known simply as Orlly Fusion, the structure of this intriguing style is enchantingly iconoclastic. It respects basic rules and impressively alters convention.

Orliam was born in Benue State of Nigeria some decades ago. The taste of life in the ‘modest bedroom‘modest bedroom’ through which he entered a world defined more by strife, pain and tragedy than love, grace and unity, inspired him at an early age to seek a place among men of selfless courage and genuine conscience. Music came in handy for the accomplishment of his big dream.

Today, Orliam, through the facilitation of his amazing blend of old and current music forms, speaks to the heart and soul of persons who exercise high temporal influence on the heart-breaking nuances of modern human existence.

In an exclusive interview with TheCapital Magazine, Orliam took us into his world consisting of his personality and his music; he talked about his humble beginning from the scenic city of Jos to the bustling city of Lagos; he talks about his music and life and how his music is redefining the meaning of music in an age where every tom, dick and harry parades themselves as musicians with their cacophony. Orliam is not an accidental musician; he was born rapped in it.

Like most African parents, his wanted him to become an Engineer which he obliged albeit unwillingly. He had a short stint as an engineering student at University of Makurdi and University of Benin before he went to Paris to study his heart desire which is music.

There, he encountered the best scholars in the music world and their influences on him remain indelible.

He sees himself as a concert or performing artiste. To Orliam, music is like a piece of drama that until enacted on stage, its value may not really be felt, thus, performing at concert and events is what brings music close to the people.

He believes his music style is a fusion of many genres, He said, “A lot of people have tried to describe my kind of music; some have called it “Alternative Everything” Others have told me “You are the alternative” But what I think about my music is a fusion, an urban fusion, it is a modern day music style, it is a combination of different genres to produce one single ideal groovy music.”

Orliam draws his inspiration from God through the sweet Spirit, (the Holy Spirit). He looks up to such people as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Abby Hancock and other great musicians whose music have changed the world for good as his role models.

His music has been criticized for only appealing to the rich in the society but he has this to say: “So many people have asked me: ‘Why is your music for the rich?’ I told them that for you to really appreciate my music, you must be rich at heart. I am not talking about material wealth. The kind of music that I do, you need every part of your being to be in tune before you can enjoy it. My music is groovy; everyone wants to feel the groove, so I tend to bring the groovy kind of music into the industry.”

On him being a concert musician, he said, “As a concert artiste or touring musician, you cannot settle down at a spot, you have to keep moving from one place to another, travelling from one country to the next. But Nigeria is my home, wherever I may be anywhere in the world performing with my band, I will always come home to rest before the next tour comes on.”

Orliam is well known in Europe and he has toured cities like Brussels, Paris, London, Oslo, Frankfurt and the rest.

He is relatively unknown in his homeland. But he said he has come to establish his music in Nigeria and build his fan base at home. He returned home mid last years and he has been attending concerts in different cities in the country, his recent being a concert organized by the Canadian Embassy in Abuja

Also, radio stations across the nation have been airing his songs but most people don’t know that those songs are by a Nigerian. When all the work is done, Orliam is the type of artiste that can step onto a stage and draw every single person in the audience into an intimate, star-struck experience. Few artistes are capable of possessing such artistry and star appeal that is at the same time alluring and replete with surprises. He keeps growing and evolving in ways that defies the bounds and strictures that have turned very many artistes into flash-in-the-pan, one-hit-wonder, few months after they enjoyed their moments in the spotlight.

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  1. P.Vic
    P.Vic March 09, 21:41

    Real Music are scarce, Music should soothen the soul and positively appeal to all. Life is beautiful is really appealing to the soul of all. We need more of good music in Nigeria than nosensical noise all over the place.

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