International Music Review – Forever by Bemyoda (Nigeria)
Born Bem Iordaah, Bemyoda came on the musical scene with a distinctive sound and feel in 2012 with the beautiful ‘Shima Yam’ brought to life by softly plucked acoustic guitar strings. The song had a concert vibe or made-for-concert texture about it. That was the start of a journey! Mimi inspired his breakout song; and if one was to thank exes, girlfriends or love interests for every ballad in music, we would have a bloated songwriters’ guild. Regardless, every Picasso needs a muse for every painting; so, we thank Mimi, for saying a ‘No’ (speculative). He followed up brilliantly- showing he wasn’t a flash in the pan- with the Sketch EP. The Neo-soul project mirrored his debut, songs like Always and Broken Pieces didn’t sway from expectation. With creativity displayed on previously released tracks it’s no surprise that he lists Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Tracy Chapman, Jill Scott and Nneka as his musical influences.
Listening to Bemyoda it’s hard to shake off similarities to fellow Nigerian Neo-soul singer Bez—this doesn’t rubbish his mastery, time after time rookies get compared to established acts. Days passed, weeks ate into weeks, months faded… Bemyoda was AWOL. Radio silence (pun intended). Out of the blues… ‘Forever’ appeared, a picture of two lovers in her grasp. The piece opens with an Asa-sample (No One Knows) then the guitar twangs in a percussion cocktail hits you. “Two heads, two hearts/So magical/Lay back, relax/Enjoy the jokes…” words stream out of your speakers while you stare into your lovers eyes (imagined or real—who cares?). Huffington Post, Vogue, Vice, or any urban magazine may post numbered-posts on “How to Show Your Lover You Love Her (Him)”…they sure don’t know there are 22 ways to lov(e)-ing. Problem solved. Thanks, Bemyoda! Lost in emotions; found in love. This song is cool; a laid-back rendition to go makes it easy like Sunday! He makes-up for his hiatus on his first single off his soon-to-be-released debut album, ‘Stark’. Forever will leave a mark on you- if the lyrics don’t, the smooth basslines will; and if you escape that, the sonorous horns will get you. The Alternative record characterized by Nashville Folk, Neo-Soul and Jazz sounds warms hearts, touching places unknown to lovers on a sunny morning or under the moon’s blanket.
Review by Udochukwu Ikwuagwu