With a new project releasing later this year, chivirgo talks early music manifestations, Mowalola supremacy and her love of wrestling.
It took a while for chivirgo to take her music seriously. Since age 15, the uncompromising singer-songwriter envisioned her life in the fairytale world of fashion, walking runways and wearing clothes from the world’s most stylish brands. Rising through the cut-throat industry was never going to be easy, but she soon became the muse of Mowalola Ogunlesi; the designer bringing a ferociously youthful energy to Lagos, London and beyond. Regardless, chivirgo always knew her creativity could spread beyond the catwalk: musical propulsion brewed alongside fashion, and as of today, the artist sees it as more rewarding, experimenting constantly with the sounds that inspire her.
Over the past year, chivirgo’s dropped a streak of singles justifying her ambidexterity. “WOOHOO!”, featuring close friend and songwriter Moyoswrld, leans on ’00s slacker indie. Akin to early Santigold, the vocalist tackles the track with punkish yells and a playful urgency. On her latest single “And Just Like That”, the artist is more melancholy. “Do you ever listen? Or was it all for your entertainment” she sings in angelic tones, before breaking into an infectious hook. Cruel Santino, one of the stalwarts of Nigeria’s innovative Alté scene, matches the pain propelled by the model-cum-musician, embracing the beat’s ethereal jungle breaks. It’s cry in the club music, resonating with TikTok’s global network of fashion cool kids.
As for many rising musicians today, social media is where chivirgo’s managed to cultivate her crowd. Racking up over 600k likes on TikTok, the artist understands Gen Z’s obsession with connectivity and their addiction to the lives of those they idolise. Taking them behind the scenes at runway shows, fashion and video shoots, the thirty-second videos show off her lavish lifestyle and the moments of normality often taken for granted. Like her visuals, there’s a rawness we can all relate to, whether trying Aperol spritz’s for the first time or chilling at home with only a facemask for company.
With a new project in the vault, and more singles to come later this year, we got acquainted with chivirgo, talking about her connections between London and Lagos, how to curb labels and more.
Hi chivirgo! Taking it right back, what or who exposed you to art, fashion and music growing up? Was it something you sourced from friends and family or of your own accord?
And can you remember the first time you identified as a musician? Was there a particular moment that made you feel this way?
Your music covers a range of genres, from punk and indie to rap. Why is it important, at this stage of your career, to remain so experimental?
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Let’s talk about your single, “WOOHOO!”, with Moyoswrld. It’s filled with energy and verve. Can you tell us a bit about how it came about?
It comes alongside some great visuals, directed by yourself and Santi. Where did you pull inspiration from? It looked like a lot of fun to make…
I love this video so much. I watched WWE when I was younger, so I’ve always loved over-the-top wrestling. I kept seeing these vintage-y pictures on Tumblr of girls wrestling, then I watched the documentary on Netflix of this wrestler named Sally. I loved the way that the wrestling videos were shot. Santi was actually the one that put me onto the doc. The song feels a bit silly and high energy so I wanted the visuals to match. Obviously, I love sexy vibes and Lois is one of the sexiest girls I know so it was a no-brainer to ask her.
As well as music, you’ve built a name as a model, walking for brands like Mowalola. What is it about their work that speaks to you? The designer is absolutely killing it right now…
The brand is just iconic, I think it’s super innovative and ahead of the game. You don’t really see anyone else doing it like they do. Mowa also inspires me to just be the best version of myself, and there aren’t many people that do so. I’m always going to be a Mowalola stan, for real.
How else would you like to explore the intersection between music and fashion? Would you be open to soundtracking runways, hosting fashion week parties or anything else?
Honestly, I’m dying to do something like that. I always engage with music when I’m at fashion shows – it can really elevate the looks and you can tell when it’s been thought out a lot. Hosting parties? I think I’d be down for that, but I want a band first.
chivirgo rules the world for the day, what’s going down?
I’d probably make everyone go to therapy.
What’s next for you beyond the recent single releases? Can fans expect some shows? A longer project maybe?
I have a project coming out this year. It’s all finished, I just want to drop a few singles beforehand. The next single I’m dropping is actually coming out next week. I haven’t told anyone but it’s featuring Cruel Santino and it’s one of my faves!