Nigerian artist Demola isn’t afraid to do things differently and to mix it up when it comes to his music. Although his usual style is Afrobeat, for his latest single, ‘Light Up’, the unmistakeable sound of a violin turns up mere seconds into the track. It shouldn’t work: the rhythm is a full on bounce, buoyant and packed full of sunshine; the violin is breezy, and cool – like a walk through a forest. It shouldn’t work – but somehow – it does.
Demola is a singer, songwriter, producer – and classically trained violinist. His love of music shines right through, and he has an ear for music which means he’s able to instinctively work out what will go with what. He also has a mischievous streak, so if he wants to experiment with cross-cultural sounds, nothing is going to stop him doing it.
On ‘Light Up’, Demola perfectly blends transcontinental pop, hip hop beats, African rhythms, RnB, and violin, in such a way as to make us wonder why we’ve never thought to do it before. The violin solo is absolutely to die for.
Quite apart from the instrumentals, there’s another star on the track. Wande Coal is one of the most daring artists in Nigerian Afrobeat. His 2015 set, ‘Wanted’, was a Pan-African feast, featuring artists from all over the continent. He brings his quiet, swaggering, even hedonistic verses to ‘Light Up’, and quite literally – lights up the track.
The video for ‘Light Up’ is a colourful celebration, which has already seen over 97 thousand YouTube streams. The clip is filled with flashes of light, beautiful women, beautiful cars, and a pool party. All this however is merely background for the real star of the show, the charismatic Demola, who strides into frame with all the confidence of the international superstar he’s surely about to become. He’s sometimes got his violin in hand, and sometimes he’s singing straight to camera, his wide smile charming all who see it. By the end, all who see and hear are lulled into submission by his sweet sweet music – a gorgeous daydream under colourful umbrellas.