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You could say Sadé Awele was born to make music—in fact, she says it herself. “My parents are both from Nigeria, and we say the music is in our blood,” says the singer. Her parents’ two tribes (Ibo and Yoruba) are known for their drum patterns, and both have heavily influenced Awele’s signature sound. And just as her heritage shapes and guides her work, so does her current home: East Vancouver.
“Vancouver has really helped me in finding my voice,” says Awele. After moving here from Calgary (your loss, cowtown), her music made a very intentional shift. “I’ve found that a lot of Vancouverites are very vocal in expressing their view of life and their struggles in their music,” she says, “and that’s really helped in making me feel comfortable and confident to write about my own stuff.”
Her EP, releasing this Friday, October 23, is a fusion of genres that have inspired her throughout the years (think hip hop, R and B, soul, funk and afrobeats). The five highly reflective songs are summed up in the title: Time, Love, Journey. “The concept of time is something that’s always been big to me, in feeling like I don’t have enough time to achieve my goals or my dreams,” says Awele. That may sound pretty meta, but the songs themselves are down-to-earth: for example, “Rebound” is hip hop-synthesizer-trap kind of tune about (you guessed it) being someone’s rebound. “Take It Easy” urges listeners to slow down, and is full of rich base and horn sounds. “Peak” narrates a feeling of achievement that’s shortly followed by another mountain to climb.
All songs are rooted in that heavy drum influence, and all encourage listeners to look back on their own struggles and successes—after all that thinking about time, Awele’s concluded that it’s really not such a big deal. “Time is just a concept, it’s all relative, and when it comes down our purpose, it doesn’t matter,” she says, “what matters is our legacy and what we leave behind.”
You can listen to Time, Love, Journey on October 23 via links on her website, sadeawele.com, and predownload the album here.