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WPGM Commentary: ITUA Is At One With Himself On New EP ‘Transition’

Hi, my name is Lloyd Itua Usidame. I’m from a small city in the south of The Netherlands called Eindhoven. My mother is Dutch and my father is from Edo-state, Nigeria.

Me and my older brother Elvin have been exposed to a wide range of music growing up. My father listened to a lot of music from Africa such as Fela Kuti (obviously), Awilo Longomba, 2 Face and D’banj. My mother was a big fan of 80’s/90’s Pop and R&B such as Madonna, Tina Turner and R. Kelly.

My older brother Elvin made us to be very dedicated in making music. He was always searching for new music and pushed me to be the best in everything I do. At the age of 9 I was already playing drums in our Pentecostal communion church and making hip-hop beats on Fruity Loops. We were very inspired by the MTV stars at the time such as Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Timbaland.

At the age of twelve, I replaced my brother as the drummer for his school band. He became the singer/frontman of the band. From this point we named ourselves ‘Hunting The Robot’. We made alternative indie-rock with a lot of Afro-beat influences.

Bands such as Radiohead, Menomena, The Killers and TV on The Radio were big inspirations for us at the time. Being surrounded by more disciplined and older people has made me to grow fast as a performer/live drummer. The band stopped in 2017 as we all needed to go our own ways.

From this point, at the age of 19, I started to play live drums for different artists such as Thomas Azier, Klyne and BEA1991. My first international experience was a European arena support tour for Years&Years. Later on I did various international tours with Thomas Azier.

These tours really inspired me to create my own music and do my own shows. During this time, I rented a music space in my hometown and started to experiment with vocals, African rhythms and synths to produce my own unique sound.

As a drummer, my process in creating new songs is often very rhythm-based. I try to implement different styles, sounds and genres to create a whole new world with Afrofusion at the center. Next to drumming I play bass and guitar.

Being able to play everything myself is a huge contribution in the development of my sound. My first EP Nice To meet was released in July 2022. For me, this was an introduction to my sound and the starting point of me being a solo artist.

The songs on my sophomore EP Transition were all created after a dark period in my life in which I was dealing with a lot of suppressed insecurities surrounding my identity. This resulted in a very deep depression. I got forced to seek professional help and was hospitalized for about two months. During this journey, I’ve gained a lot of transformative insights about myself, humans and the world in general.

It gave me a new understanding of life and has fueled me and my music ever since. It made me trust and enjoy my process in making music again. The EP marks a turning point in which I am more at one with myself, my sound and the vision behind the music.

The artworks of the EP display pictures of my late father Timothy Omo Iluobe Usidame, who left Nigeria in the late ’80s to start a life in The Netherlands. My father took his own life in October 2022.

To create understanding for this tragedy, I started to deeply examine the challenges, pains and influences that he had to face during his lifetime. This helped me to look past the tragedy and create a more insightful and empowering perspective of his life journey; the good and the bad.

This EP marks a period of transition. A transition in which I continue to grow into adulthood while keeping my father’s spirit and family heritage closer than ever before.

Listen to my Transition EP below, and stream it everywhere else here.

Words by ITUA // Follow him on Instagram

Photo Credit: Nkeiru Ofor

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