(May 25, 2020). Something readers may not know about the blog is that I get songs to review (and in some cases preview) on a daily basis. At least three or four times a day, I receive emails asking me to post an article about a new song by artists from all parts of the world.
This past week, a young artist out of Nigeria named Kooki (pronounced “cookie”) contacted me via the blog’s Facebook page and asked me to post an article about a song he was releasing Friday, May 22. I gave it a listen and I dug it enough to help the young brother out.
The song is called “Gimme Love.” It is of the Afro pop or pop music genre that is very popular in Nigeria and has had some success here in America. “Gimme Love” is the debut single from Kooki who originally released it last year with a feature by rap artist Deniskg. Here’s an audiomack link to the new remix:
The version Kooki released on May 22 is a remix featuring an American female singer out of St. Louis, Missouri (the Fountain Park neighborhood). She goes by the name Johnny the Song Byrd.
But first, more about the artist Kooki:
Real name: Daniel Chukwuemeka
Origin: Lagos, Nigeria
Influences: Nigerians Davido and Fela; American Chris Brown; Canadian Justin Bieber
Kooki says his goal is to “push my career forward and bring home the Grammy to my country.”
While several Nigerian acts have been nominated for Grammys over the years, none have won an award for their original work. Only one Nigerian – percussionist Sikiru Adepoju – has won an award for his minor contributions to foreign work (Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project in 2009 and Hart’s Planet Drum in 1991 both won Best Contemporary World Music Album Grammys).
Legendary African artist Angélique Kidjo has won four Grammys and has Nigerian roots, but she was born in Benin and thus would not officially count as a native Grammy winner.
Thus, Kooki, who is yet to be signed to a label, would be the first Nigerian to win his own Grammy should he be so blessed.
Kooki is a very humble artist who dreams of collaborating with American-born Nigerian artist Davido and R&B superstar Chris Brown. Ironically, those two artists have collaborated previously, most recently on Davido’s 2019 release “Blow My Mind,” which bubbled under the American charts (Billboard Hot 100) last summer.
For now, like much of the rest of the world, Kooki is just trying to remain safe and take the proper precautions in light of the coronavirus pandemic. He says the virus has really affected his career because, for months, he has been unable to perform his shows and expand his brand.
Produced by Kezbeat and written by the singer himself, Kooki’s “Gimme Love” featuring Deniskg was already dope. But this remix is fire! It has a standard afro pop beat with a hauntingly catchy keyboard melody that would work very well on pop stations in America.
Featured singer Johnny adds a Rihanna-like vibe that makes it even more accessible to pop radio. Her solo verse comes second and is vocally layered to give the song great texture. Her call-and-response with Kooki is the kind of romantic interaction missing from music these days, even if she expresses doubt about his intentions with lyrics like “you say you want love but you don’t want none. You say you want love until it overflows and then you wanna run to the next one.” The best line in the remix: “how (did) I bust your brain, when I’m the one going insane?”
That these two young artists bring that kind of interactive swagger here is refreshing and bodes well for the future of Afro pop/R&B music, as well as for Kooki (and Johnny) in particular.
Give the song a listen (here’s the link again):
Let readers know what you think in the comments section below (or on the blog’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds) and spread the word! Hopefully, with this single (and an EP Kooki says he plans to release later this year) both he and Johnny will blow up.
After all, as the song says, “all they wanna do is grow.“
DJRob is an African-American freelance blogger from Chicago who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.
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