You might remember Efe Oraka, the talented guitarist who crunched a number of Jon Bellion songs into a viral video of under two minutes some years ago. She's also the voice behind producer, Speroach's producer tag. She has released her debut body of work and it's amazing.
When she announced the album on November 29, 2020, she wrote on her Instagram page that, "I’m so grateful to have been the vessel to bring this project to life, Super thankful to everyone who was involved in putting it all together! My Debut project ‘Magic’ is out on the 20th of December!"
When the album dropped, she also wrote that, "I was thinking about you when I wrote this. I hope it resonates with you. I hope you take these stories and live out your own experiences. I hope you find your Magic as you’ve helped me find mine... MAGIC! OUT NOW."
On Magic, Oraka is a wide-eyed dreamer, a chronicler of love, an examiner of life and a commentator on love. Sometimes she’s happy, sometimes her emotion is slightly shrouded in mystery as she reminisces and other times, she’s morose.
But regardless of her mood, Magic EP is deeply rooted in acceptance of all the sides to life. Even Oraka herself intimates that happiness isn’t automatic and no emotion is a waste of time. To her, happiness only comes upon experiencing all the sides to life - good, turbulent, bad and ugly.
Therefore, Magic EP is an examination of life from the gaze of an unfazed 21-year-old who aims to face life with an open mind. She doesn’t want to sound omniscient and neither is she narcissistic. At different points on the EP, she even references God, miracles, scriptures and ‘spiritual’ - a sign that she might be a theist who believes in providence.
All that she seems to be saying is that everything you feel is meant to be felt because nothing is certain. The EP sums up Elektra King’s [Played by Sophie Marceau] cliche in the 1999 Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, “There is no point in living if you can’t feel the life…”
The ‘Magic’ starts with a Sentimental Ballad, supported by a whistle-esque string. And from there, Oraka’s tone of acceptance is apparent. It almost feels like she sees every occurrence as a part of life, not good or bad.
She sings, “God bless our weaknesses and strengths, if we didn’t know just what they were, how the hell would we have learned. God bless the tears that brought resolve, God bless the love that we have lost, the emptiness that has been filled and all the truth that has been revealed…”
At the end of the song she sings, “God bless the Magic…”
For a second, one would be forgiven for thinking that ‘Magic’ is Oraka’s metaphor for ‘Life.’
From there, the EP is a rollercoaster of emotions.
On the album, you hear influences from John Bellion or Johnny Drille and her cadences are delivered like Chike.
Her songwriting on ‘Comfort Food,’ which sees her deftly use different types of consumables as a mood board and metaphor for different types of occurrences, is reminiscent of Bellion. The breakup song also finds great use for cliches like, ‘Couch potato’ and ‘Can of soda.’
Similarly on ‘Intercession,’ she uses Christian symbolisms like spiritual, tithes, prayer, confession, altar, choir and more to drive home points about the intensity of how she loves.
A beautiful moment comes when she sings, “Jerk the pews, mute the choir. Lеave your sins at the door ‘cause your body is thе sermon and I gotta say there's no weapon fashioned that’s gonna get in my way.”
She also uses space and astrological figures to discuss love on ‘Intergalactic’ featuring Tay Iwar.
But to Oraka’s credit, even though she’s a product of different factors like any human being, a listener never feels like they are listening to anybody else throughout the entire 24 minutes, but Oraka and Oraka alone. At 21, she’s produced a project with high replay value.
‘Wonderland’ is a guitar-based Alternative Rock song with Violins for support. It seems Oraka soar carelessly on the wings of love-filled ecstasy. She sings, “Your love takes me to wonderland,.. I come alive when I hold your hand, there’s magic in your soul…”
Smitten, she discusses the guy’s smile and shaggy hair. In the aftermath of an ill-fated love affair, Oraka seeks the help of MI Abaga to find ‘Zion.’ She feels rejected and broken by a man with a huge ego and a small head… ouch!
At the end of it all, ‘Dive’ is one of the best songs Nigeria has seen in 2020. Aside from the eclectic production and electric guitar solo, the song is topically astute. Oraka understands that you might have gone through a lot in life, but she inspires her listeners to rise up and live life - but not in fear.
She doesn’t make foolish promises either, she makes her listeners understand that it will be a bumpy road, but she makes you realize that fear of bumpy roads isn’t enough reason to refrain from living life.
Oraka delivers an amazing evidence of her heralded musical talent. Nonetheless, that talent isn’t fully formed yet. And at 21, that’s only fair.
The “Weaknesses and strengths” moment on ‘Magic’ shows that Oraka might still be coming to terms with the limitations and use of her vocals and that’s perfectly fine.
She is growing as a songwriter and she will be blossom into an amazing songwriter. But on ‘Magic EP,’ the way she gleans larger topics like Christianity, food and space gets a little excessive - even though it’s commendable.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Album Sequencing: 1.7/2
Songwriting and Themes: 1.7/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.9/2
8.8 - Victory