We Plug To You… Lánre

 

Talk of songs that tell a story… Of fresh unadulterated natural music from the roots… Of music that is organic, music that is unplugged, music that is fresh from the garden of Soul and inspiring from the garden of life and we can only be talking about the special and beautifully simple UK-based Nigerian singer/songwriter by the name of Lánre.

Lánre has spent the past eighteen months playing and showcasing her music in cafés, bars and various charity events all over London, including being selected as one of eleven singer/songwriters to take part in the Prezzo live UK tour – playing live at the Italian eatery chain’s numerous restaurants all over the country. She is also a regular host and curator at the Portobello Acoustic Sessions which is held weekly at London’s Metropolitan.

Her music can be best described as Acoustic Soul with influences from her Nigerian heritage of storytelling and Folk music along with her background in Gospel music which stems from her time as a member of award-winning contemporary Gospel music collective GK REAL. It was only after an extensive tour with the collective that Lánre decided to embark on her own personal musical journey with her acoustic guitar.

We decided to throw some questions her way that will give you all an insight to the inspiration behind her music but before you read on, let’s listen to the first song titled “Inspiration” from her 2011 independently released debut solo album Pen Voyage Chapter One: Singing for Change.

On “Inspiration“,  Lánre says “I was having a moment of blank periods with no ideas coming through and it got me thinking about how creativity and inspiration can sometimes hide itself from me and then some other times I have that rush of creativity moments and it reminded me of my relationship with God and spirituality. You know by faith that God is with you but sometimes He appears to be so far away”. The first part of the song talks about waiting for inspiration to show up and the second part talks about when inspiration decides to chase after you.  Lánre’s vocals undulates with some deep tones here and there over soft deliberate acoustic guitar plucking.

 

 

Before we delve into some more music, let’s see what our chat with Lánre unearthed…

WPGM – Tell us a little bit about your debut solo album Pen Voyage Chapter One: Singing for Change

LANRE – It’s my first solo project with ten songs that reflects my journey. It’s also inspired by other people’s stories. It was produced by UK based producer Goz-i-am and all the music was recorded using live instruments featuring amazing musicians like Femi Temowo, Pedro Segundo and Troy Miller.

WPGM – What’s the story behind that quite catchy title?

LANRE – It’s my attempt at showing the journey of my pen through songs that I hope would inspire change in me and others.

WPGM – Who are some of your influences?. Tell me who you would name as the top five artists who have inspired your sound.

LANRE – I am inspired by amazing story tellers like my grandfather, my dad, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Adichie and influenced by song writers like Foy Vance, Justin Nozuka, Asa, India Arie, Regina Spektor, Joni Mitchell. Creative story tellers amaze me.

WPGM – In an industry where image is everything, what do you do to stay true to who you are as an artist?

LANRE – I think the “image is everything” saying in relation to the music industry has become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Somehow we have come to believe that unless we look or sound a certain way we will not be acknowledged. What I do is remind myself of artists who aren’t dancing to the tune that everyone else is dancing to, to be great. Most of them you won’t find in the mainstream media but they are out there.

This answer brings us to the next song and the second single from Lánre’s debut album titled “Beautiful“. Lánre carries the song with her simple and well delivered vocals while the backups, bouncy guitar twangs and rhythm are reminiscent of 70’s music – slightly retro. She says of this song, “Beautiful is my story and the story of many like me. One day “I woke up” to finally appreciating my hair that’s soft as wool, my brown eyes. From looking for love and appreciation in all the wrong places to finally finding the light and knowing that I AM BEAUTIFUL”.

 

 
No doubt Lanre’s music is unique and as she confirms below, her target audience is a wide mix.

WPGM -Bearing in mind the uniqueness of your sound, how would you describe your target audience?

LANRE – I have heard that a few times. With regards to target audience and following. I don’t know if I am able to articulate who my target audience is as such. I have had my music played in cafes, hair dressing salon, chocolate shop, and art galleries. Some of the people that connect with what I do are young and some are old. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I enjoy sharing my songs with anyone who’d care to listen.

Last but not least on our feature is a song titled “Má Gbàgbé” which means ‘Don’t Forget’ in Yoruba ( Nigeria, West African). This is one of my favorites on the album – the unhurried guitar movement and the natural percussion beats are very well done, they came close enough to tickle my eardrums and the message of the song sure pulled my heart strings.  Lánre says “Má Gbàgbé was inspired by my grandfather. It is what I call a traveller’s song. We all as young people have ideas of seeking greener pastures and wanting to live independently and freely. My grandfather used to say to us in Yoruba; one of the languages spoken in Nigeria. “Alo ada abo a sun won, ma gbagbe omo eni ton se o” and that is loosely translated “Have a safe trip, don’t forget who you are” I will always remember that. Má Gbàgbé” has been just been selected to be on Lufthansa Airline’s playlist Sounds of Africa Show in 2012. Listen below and you’ll see why.

 

 

A few more questions for  Lánre…

WPGM -Who would you most like to collaborate with if given the chance?

LANRE To write with someone like Foy Vance would be an amazing experience.

WPGM -What should we expect from  Lánre, musically, in the near future?

LANRE I hope to continue to grow as a song writer and artist, influence change and continue to inspire.

WPGM -Finally, is there anything that you’d like to tell our readers about yourself/your music that you haven’t shared yet?

LANRE Check out my music on www.lanreworld.com and if you like what you hear, buy my album “Pen Voyage Chapter 1: Singing for Change from the site or get a digital copy on iTunes. Thanks!

Lánre’s music is a real experience, her songs are emotionally connective and her essence is pure. It may be tagged anything from cafe music to Acoustic Soul to Folk music, but one thing remains, it is a soothing sound of musical poetry that is simply amazing. WPGM wishes Lánre all the best in her musical career and we implore you to download her debut album below…

 
Keep Tabs on  Lánre: Website // Facebook // Twitter

 
Tosinger

About the author:

Tosinger is a Writer, Singer/Songwriter, A&R/Brand Consultant and a Music Promoter originally from Nigeria, via UK, now based in the USA. Her genres of interest include Soul, AfroSoul, NeoSoul, AfroFusion, Jazz, Folk, World and Inspirational music. Her other interests include Art, Nature, Fashion, Film, Poetry and Travel. More about Tosinger at http://about.me/tosinger.. Follow him on Twitter / Facebook.

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