Boadi is a 23-year old soul/R&B singer-songwriter originating from South London. Growing up his musical influences were legendary artists such as Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Marvin Gaye. Coming from a family of instrumentalists and singers, Boadi was instantly surrounded by music, he then developed his musical talents further when attending church, perhaps this is where his heavy use of gospel inspired backing vocals and harmonies stemmed from.
Heritage and identity seems to have great importance to Boadi and has played a part in the path his music has taken. His mother migrated from Ghana and he spent a year living there when he was a child, he tells Lex Amor on Mellowdic radio that when he was younger, he listened to a lot of traditional Ghanaian music which taught him about diﬀerent rhythms and harmonies.
Boadi’s first oﬃcial release was his Bwerdee EP released in September 2016. The EP introduces his jazz-influenced sound which is combined with a dash of hip-hop for authenticity. Since Bwerdee, there has been no significantly drastic change in Boadi’s musical style, however you could argue that his earlier music had a slightly more electronic and edited character for example the manipulated vocal sample in “X4” and the electronic drum pad lines in “Save My Soul”.
Boadi plays guitar, keys and bass and recorded several of the instrument parts for the first EP, yet following its release, he’s found his current band members who now record their own parts. He told Mellowdic radio that they create together successfully as a team because they vibe collectively and click as people.
One of my favourite tracks on this EP is the final song “True Friends”. Texturally the track begins quite basically with just an electric piano playing chords and finger clicks on the oﬀ beat, but this simplicity is a entirely positive trait as it allows for appreciation of Boadi’s soulful and emotive vocals. As the track progresses the angelic voice of Shaé is introduced and layers of her and Boadi’s vocals harmonise eﬀortlessly.
The most recent release of Boadi’s is the AwoMaa EP, it began blessing our ears in July of this year.
Despite only being one minute and twenty-five seconds long, I believe “Intro” to be one of the best tracks on the EP. It begins with a misleading opening few bars, including a quick bass line and a slightly hectic saxophone solo, this is then broken down into a properly chilled-out tune.
The track cleverly contrasts lengthy sliding vocal notes and sustained guitar chords with short backing vocal notes and fast guitar skanks, resulting in an addictively syncopated tune that makes your head jerk. The sax lines almost create a lazy sigh in the descending four note movement through use of diﬀerentiating dynamics. Boadi flirts in his silky voice with the lyrics “I know you feel the groove, I know you’re getting in the mood“, and he’s right.
The EP’s title track “Awomaa” gives an air of developed wisdom and maturity to Boadi, the track is about his mother, in summary to tell her how much he loves her and that everything he does is ultimately to make her proud – “Mother I will love you so“, “Mother I do this for you“.
Boadi tells Mellowdic Radio that he originally didn’t want to write about his (at the time) rocky relationship with his mother because it was too personal, he then decided to continue despite this as his aim is to create relatable music that makes people feel emotion. Again the track has a relaxed syncopated feel, achieved through broken guitar chords with accented fourth notes at the start, then by chordal triplets towards the end.
The jazziest tune on the EP is “Grow“, due to featured artist Jael’s contribution being purely improvised ad-libs, a walking bass line and Boadi’s usual use of jazz influenced instrumentation such as an organ and of course the familiar saxophones.
Jael’s scatted section is truly brilliant, her voice is fully controlled and beautiful and she sound’s like a female version of Boadi. Boadi’s backing vocals and harmonies are particularly cool in this track especially during the section where there is musical dialogue as several layers of his voice respond to Jael’s ad-libs with their own, almost as if in conversation.
Boadi is a multitalented creator and his music is clever, sophisticated and timeless. Though it’s still early days in terms of Boadi’s career it says nothing in regards to his standard of music, as it is distinct and polished, fitting perfectly in the musical league containing artists such as Moses Sumney and Nick Hakim. Keep an eye out for Boadi’s London shows as he’s on the climb to big things.
Words by Hannah Rodriguez