Photos

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

This Is What Rotimi's 'Walk With Me' EP Listening Party Looked Like

The Nigerian singer held an intimate listening party on the eve of the release of his new EP, 'Walk With Me,' at Brooklyn's Okay Space.

Walk With Me, Rotimi's new and highly anticipated EP, dropped Friday—giving us a seven-track peek into who the singer and actor truly is sonically.

The night before, the Nigerian-American crooner gathered over 100 tastemakers and day-one supporters to Brooklyn's Okay Space—the shared gallery space between Okayplayer and OkayAfrica—for an intimate listening party celebrating the release, as well as his music video for "Love Riddim" which also dropped this week.

The night was simply a vibe—folks enjoyed libations and bites from The Suya Guy, with sounds by DJ Tunez. Rotimi opened the gathering up with a thoughtful prayer, with the music video reveal to follow. The singer then walked the audience through each track from Walk With Me, opening up about the creative process of how each track came to life.

Following, Rotimi engaged in an even more in-depth Q+A session with OkayAfrica's arts and culture editor, Antoinette Isama, where he touched on his experience touring with Wizkid back in 2011, his thoughts on the continued rise in popularity afrobeats is having in mainstream music, his hopes for the future and more. Tunez then ran the EP back when the party ensued, as the project is full of tracks that are worthy of being on repeat.

Listen to Walk With Me below, and be sure to take a look at photos from the listening party by Nerdscarf Photography.



Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

Photo by Nerdscarf Photography.

ICYMI: Revisit Rotimi speak on growing up as a first-generation Nigerian immigrant and 'Walk With me' in our latest installment of 'Moments With' here.

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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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