Life has been good to Maleek Berry, and much of it comes from this city, which rules music on the African continent.
Rounding off his “Last Daze Of Summer Tour,” buoyed by a fan base that have been his cheerleading army – the superfans who have followed him across numerous cities in the world, and filled out his venues – he could be any one of the greatest that Nigeria has seen and experienced. And that’s why he happily asks out on stage, “How many of you have got my EP, “Last Daze Of Summer”?” at the start of the concert.
That EP has been his pot of gold in 2017. “Last Daze Of Summer,” was released in September 2016, and it has done its work to elevate Maleek Berry’s sound. Singles off the records have become hits, increased his reach and grown his numbers on all platforms. In 2017, he has toured the US, playing sets across 12 states within the duration of five weeks. He also played a set at the Encore Tour in Amsterdam, and interestingly, JAY-Z’s annual prestigious Made in America concert.
Berry’s in Lagos for the final leg of his “Last Daze of Summer Tour”, and we are at the artistic Hard Rock Café, to watch him close out the year by bringing live music to the core of his followers. That’s why that smile is on his face. It’s a mark of gratitude for battles won, and money made.
His fan base was out in full force. There was a gender imbalance in the crowd. Some of the most beautiful women in Lagos ruled the crowd, their voices and emotion playing screaming backup as Maleek Berry let go two records, - ‘4Me’ and ‘On Fire’. He was backed by a band.
At end of the second record, he demanded water, to calm his voice and soothe his nerves. “Where’s my water?” he asked, as a bottle was handed to him. After taking throaty swigs off of it, he explained, part-apology, part-flirting. “I had to drink some water. The thirst is real.”
More screams. More women, More love. More energy.
Being a producer in Nigeria can be a thirsty work. When Maleek Berry scored ‘The Matter’, a Wizkid-assisted record in 2013, he might never have envisioned himself at the height of these powers. He’s a bonafide recording and performing artist now. Packing venues with fans, travelling across the globe, he’s back home in Lagos, at least until the end of December.
How does he perform? With plenty of energy.
Maleek knows how to work a crowd. His energy is infectious, his smile abundant and charming. He throws in some dancing, kissed the insistent outstretched hand of a lady, who giggles, hugs her chest and tweets about her fleeting brush with her crush. It is these little moments that win them over.
At some point, Nonso Amadi hits the stage, a pleasant surprise to everyone. They perform ‘Early’, and Nonso goes solo on his hit, ‘Tonight’. Ycee also does an appearance to re-enact on stage, the chemistry that gave Nigeria one of its best records, ‘Juice’.
In January 2018, Maleek will be releasing a new EP, “First Daze Of Winter.” To prep fans, he lets fly two songs – ‘Sisi maria’ and ‘Pon my mind’ – off the new project. And then ‘Flexin’, which he refers to as important because “I wrote this when I had no money in my pocket. I spoke it into existence.”
Finally it was time for his biggest record, ‘Kontrol’, a 2016 hit record which topped charts across the continent and beyond. Everyone joined hands, voices, waists and moves to the joyful climax of “You say you wan' make love to the bass line o.”
Life has been good to Maleek Berry, and much of it comes from this city, which rules music on the African continent. That’s why as he left the stage, he screamed out in gratitude “Lagos I love you, thank you so much.”
We love him too.