If you have been a fan of Nigerian or Afrobeat
music for 4 or more years, then you are
definitely familiar with the name Brymo who
got critical acclaim for his feature on the
overwhelming hit single, Oleku.
He has been quiet music wise for obvious
reasons. The good news is that those reasons,
may have finally been resolved, and Brymo has
stepped into the new chapter in the journey of
his music career as he gets ready to release his
4th studio album TABULA RASA.
Here is an interview with him…
We all know Brymo is the stage name but
people really wanna know much more.
I am Olawale Ashimi, although recently I have
developed a fondness for my grandfather’s
name “Olofo’ro” and would prefer to be
addressed by it. I was raised in Okokomaiko,
Lagos where I lived at least the first 20 years of
my life. I ditched football for music and moved
to the city to chase my dreams.
How did the music start?
Music started in ’99 when I wrote my first song
and thought about joining a group or starting
one. I would listen to the radio most nights to
every melody of every song. I learnt song
writing by basically studying other singers.
Your biggest influences when coming up?
My biggest influence are my parents and the
numerous loads of musicians they listened to.
The likes of Ayinla Omowura, Barrister and K1.
Throw some KSA in there. I also had this
neighbour who was a bachelor and played lots
of Fela. As a teenager, I started with R. Kelly,
my first and only demo was influenced by his
“snake” song. I called it “I like ‘em girls”, it was
The first time I heard about you was on a
song by SLIM T titled “Die Representing”.
Was that the song that actually brought
Oh it was “Shawdy” in 2008, a lot of people still
tell me how surprised they were to find it was
me on the song, I also did a number of
collaborations in 2010. Slim T’s happened to
be one of those.
How did you make that BIG break? – The
Choc City deal.
I have not made that big break…… It was
Denrele, we met in ’07 or there about through
a lady that used to manage me. He also invited
me to the Sound City urban blast in ’09 and I
was also a nominee at the SMVA that year. So
in 2010 he was the one who hooked me up
with M.I and that set the ball rolling.
Oleku was at a time, the biggest song in
Nigeria and possibly Africa and you were
one of the major factors. What was the
inspiration behind that?
Oleku was a huge one…. It was for me a result
of practice. I had recorded with Jesse Jagz on
“l.ov.e u” and Slim T’s “die representing”. I was
picking up making music on ready-made beats.
I was thrilled and Oleku was the cusp of all
that. Also Jagz was a big fan of me singing in
Yoruba and after a while I was willing to try.
Oleku was the first time I sang in Yoruba
without caring about language barrier.
Did you expect Oleku to be as big as it was
then and why?
There was no telling how big it would have
been. I remember we had another version of
the song that was faster, intended to be the
dance version. I preferred the popular version
and was happy it was released instead.
Can we say that was the song that
actually brought you out?
Oleku was a great leap and a remarkable
achievement. It was the final piece, the last
building block of my career foundation. It
brought me out indeed.
Moving on right now – 3 albums under
your belt already. Tell us about them..
“Brymstone” was the first; I sold over five
hundred copies myself in my neighbourhood.
It didn’t get much attention till after Oleku was
released. It’s the album that has “Shawdy”.
“#TheSonOfaKapenta” was the second and was
released in 2012 with Chocolate City. Has
songs like “Ara” and “Good Morning”.
“M,D&S” was an eye opener. I learnt to be in
touch with myself to write it. This is the first
album I made and loved that I made it.
You were locked out of the Industry for a
certain period of time due to some certain
issues with Chocolate City. How did you
feel with all the inactivity?
I had no idea I was locked out of anything, I
was busy fighting for my right to work and
earn. I went and sat in the courtroom for
hours, sometimes twice a month, for months. I
constantly reminded myself to remember why
I was in it in the first place despite all the frenzy
in the media. I was never inactive at any point;
I was only busy doing other important stuff
You released the M,D&S album last year
out of the blue! Without any sort of
publicity at all. Were you hiding stuff from
some certain people?
There’s a myriad ways for artistes to put out
their work, for M,D&S I chose for it to be a
surprise. I figured after all the work that went
into it and the year was fast ending, to drop it
suddenly would have more effect, and it did.
The title “Merchants, Dealers &
Slaves” (M,D&S) seems to me like a jibe at
someone/something. I don’t want to
believe that I’m wrong. Laughs)
Not anyone or thing in particular but
everything, my emotions and thoughts. I wrote
the album in relations to events around me
and what I deduced about society. A fraction
really as words cannot be enough to describe
the phenomenal world we live in. I also had
African leadership in mind, we still think to
lead is to be king and call shots while everyone
else work their asses off.
Issues with Chocolate City has more or
less been resolved amicably. Right?
I believe so…..
Way forward for Brymo now?
More and more music, that’s the way forward.
There are tons of people waiting to hear and
enjoy what we have to give and we won’t stop
till it reaches every one of them.
I heard the 4th album is ready. What’s the
title and when is it dropping?
It’s called “TABULA RASA”. I was still thinking
about the title when one day in the courtroom
the judge used it in a speech. I immediately
decided I would use it. It refers to a theory that
we were born without built-in mental content
as in a child. The album was inspired by the
expectation of such good news.
Any major collaboration on the album?
The album features Sammy Sage Hasson.
And yeah, you seem to be shy of the
camera. You rarely shoot videos for your
songs. Why that?
I can be camera shy, but if the video is
required, I’ll shoot it.
Got anything to say to the fans who have
stuck through thick and thin?
To the fans I say ” you can make it through
Thanks for your time, BrymO.
Thanks for your time