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Barzini is ready to take on the world

Published by The Nation on Sat, 23 May 2020


Onyeka NwelueWhen Barzini was featured in the New Yorker Magazine in 2018 as one of the Nigerian musicians changing the sound of global pop, he didnt care too much until he saw the joy on his fathers face. If he harboured any thoughts of dropping out of the music scene, that joy vanquished it. This year, Barzini, born David Amechi Nwobodo, has released his debut full-length album titled Beloved, Vol. 1. The body of work contains songs like Rush, alternative rock ballad Mirror, a collaboration with Arewa rap artiste, Khenngz, on Aisha, and a gospel track, Ulo Npam.The songs in the album, eight in total, differ in tone, style and delivery, testifying to Barzinis claims that he produces genre-defying music. He wants to uplift the spirits of my listeners, by harnessing the power of raw emotion.Barzini started to make music since he was a child, but only experienced his first professional music production in 2010.He is driven by curiosity, a desire to learn, understand and apply the knowledge I acquire in this world. Its a lot easier and more rewarding to be curious these days, with the advent of the internet. Sometimes I think to myself, What a time to be alive!Before choosing to build a career in music, Barzini spent the bulk of his time in the four walls of a classroom. And the decision to go full-throttle on music was made without recourse to the fear of failure.Growing up, I watched members of the older generation spend their time working jobs and doing things they didnt really want to do but had to because of the economic situation they found themselves in, he says. The second-order effect of this was them pushing (with good intentions of course) the younger generation to tow the same safe line, leading to a life with little or no impact as opposed to a life of uncertainty but with the possibility of unprecedented change and revolution.My decision to pursue my curiosity in the arts may have been fueled by a primal need for man to understand, define and dominate his environment. However, Im particularly glad for the times I find myself in because the rise of technology has proven that uncertainty is an inherent part of life. Things change too quickly these days. You find that its the people with a sense of curiosity and wonder that are better suited for the times.Perhaps his lack of fear has also been helped by the support he receives from his parents. They didnt take him seriously in the beginning, but they soon came around.I wouldnt be here without them, he says. I also started a couple of small businesses along the way, in school and out of school, to support myself and my music. Its been a tough journey but one filled with lessons and experiences thats made me better poised for the music business today and life in general. I wont trade them for anything.In music, Barzini is inspired by the self-acclaimed African giant, Burna Boy. In business, he draws motivation from the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia.Though from different worlds, he explains his fascination for the duo, these people have helped strengthen my conviction that problems/setbacks are opportunities for truly curious people to learn and adapt their knowledge to the world around them; towards spurring rapid growth and providing inspiration for generations to come.Barzini is cosmopolitan. He sees the world in different shades an attitude shaped by his many travels outside Nigeria.Traveling outside Nigeria has taught me humility in a deeper context, he notes. Its pretty easy to have a fascist world view about any topic when youre confined within a particular environment. But when you travel and see other human beings living totally different lives from the one youre used to, you start to develop a wider perspective and become more accommodating and humble with your opinions of reality. Travelling for me is a very educational experience.I have also learnt that nationalism has little to do with the superior quality of Nigerian Jollof.Cosmopolitanism is also how he wants to be remembered in Nigeria, as someone whose life circled around love, accommodation and humility.I envision a country thats more interested in understanding, respecting and supporting comrades, than bullying each other with our relative opinions, he says.After the New Yorker feature, Barzini decided to take a break and return to school. The interlude gave him more time to reflect and improve his self-confidence.An important lesson I learned is that sometimes, new opportunities lie on the other side of your comfort zone, he says. The ability to trust yourself and your process well enough to consider the opinions of your loved ones in times of uncertainty may be the difference between obscurity and taking advantage of new opportunities.He continues: In recent times Ive come to understand and accept the transient nature of all things, so I recognize the futility in attempting to define/fix myself. I am a person whos learning, growing and evolving, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly. This is what I try to portray with the art I create. I hope people can see it and are inspired to go beyond their own boundaries. If not, I guess Ill keep trying.With the release of his album, Barzini wants to tour Nigeria and Africa. He wants more people to feel the power of his music. Growing up, thats what the old musicians did for me, he says, I want to do that for my people.
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