- Words Notion Staff
We spoke with Suté Iwar about his musical firsts, from seeing Drake in Dublin to meeting legendary legendary Nigerian musician M.I.
Music has always been a visceral part of Suté Iwar’s existence. Developing an interest at seven years old, when his father enrolled him for piano lessons, the artist later joined a high school band and started learning the saxophone. Nowadays, the Nigerian artist crafts sublime soundscapes with artists across the globe. “STAR PLAYER”, his latest single, is no different, as it features the unmistakable tones of Pimlico-hailing producer-rapper kadiata.
Making headway in Nigeria, Suté’s afro-fusion approach to music encourages us all to find our own paths in life. An uplifting amalgamation of rhythm and melody, his discography champions Africa’s growing diaspora, whilst staying true to Lagos’ alté roots. Despite his range of musical influence, soul remains that the heart of all his genre-fluid productions.
Seeking to spread positive vibes, “STAR PLAYER” is a buttery alté ballad which takes influence from the funkadelia of artists like Anderson. Paak. Featuring a range of voices from Britain, Nigeria and beyond, the single is taken off Suté’s forthcoming project ‘ULTRALIGHT’, which is set for release on April 21st.
To celebrate its release, we spoke with Suté about his musical firsts, from seeing Drake in Dublin to meeting legendary legendary Nigerian musician M.I.
First song you ever made?
Wow, I must have been 13 when I recorded my first song. It was a random experience. I had been writing for years at that point and I would make some beats in fruity loops at a friends house but I didn’t have a computer I could consistently make beats on. So the first time I recorded was in a friends house and I remember we were just hanging and he told us he had this software that we could record into. We pulled up a beat and recorded on that and it was amazing to hear our voices booming back at us. We took that to school the next week and everyone was gassed because we were the first in my secondary school recording music.
First bar you remember writing?
This one’s a bit difficult to remember. Before I wrote any of my music, my older brother and I were always writing down lyrics to R&B and rap songs and memorising them. I remember learning the entire first verse to Method Man & Redman’s “Da Rockwilder” and thinking ‘yeah, I can definitely write something like this’. I didn’t even understand what the verse meant. So I must have been 10 or 11 when I wrote my first but I really can’t remember the verse. I’ve written so much since then.
First CD or record you owned?
The first CD I owned was an album by Keane called ‘Under The Iron Sea’, gifted to me by a friend. It’s one of my favourite albums of all time. I’d highly recommend it!
First time you realised you wanted to be a rapper?
I don’t think I ever deeped it like that you know. I was playing instruments from early so I always felt like a musician and with rap, it came easy to me. The first time I knew I wanted a career in music was my first year in uni when I was working as a songwriter for a pop artist in Dublin called Gabriella Marsella. We were working out of Temple Lane Studios in Dublin and I was maybe 17/18 at the time. I remember having a conversation with the recording engineer for that session and he sent me home with some Bonobo to listen to. I knew from that moment this would be my life.
First gig you went to?
The first gig burnt in my memory my dad took me to, at Alliance Francaise in Lagos, and it was an artist called Asa. This was before she released her debut album and became a household name. She was the opening act for a musician called Peter King.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
I started singing a lot more in my music after my first mixtape and I noticed it took the industry a while to adjust to it because the business is based on placing artists in neat categories, and suddenly I wasn’t in one. I think that attitude towards multifaceted artists is changing more but it’s still there. For me it was just natural because even when I was singing less, I had been songwriting for other artists and writing my choruses for ages. I wasn’t confident in my voice and needed to strengthen it, but it felt natural to me.
First instrument you owned?
The first instrument I owned was a saxophone my dad got for me when I was 11. I played piano before that and there was a keyboard in the house, but it wasn’t really mine.
First time you felt like giving up?
I’ve never thought of giving up music. There were times I had to do other jobs to feed my music obsession, but giving up hasn’t ever been an option for me.
First time you felt starstruck?
I went for the Dublin leg of Drake’s ‘Take Care’ tour and that dude had a different aura on stage. I think that was peak Drake musically so it hit me different. I’m not usually starstruck though. Maybe if I got to meet Prince or something.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?
I remember getting to meet M.I for the first time. He invited my brother and I to his studio. He’s a legendary Nigerian musician and I like meeting musicians I like, so getting the invite to come around to his was really cool.