Sayo Popoola is a UK-based Nigerian singer who went to Secondary School in Kaduna State at Zamani College and graduated from Newcastle University UK with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences in 2016. She moved to the UK in 2011 at the age of 16.
Here is a chat she had with Pulse Nigeria;
How did you discover music?
I started making my own music when I was 23, but I was already singing song covers to Afrobeats and Hip-Hop when I was 19/20 on YouTube. I have been singing for as long as i remember.
When was the first time you were in a studio?
When I was in university recording for a song cover. I was 20 at the time
What was it about music that made you realize it could be a career?
Music makes me happy. I thought to myself, 'Why not make it a career as I have always been so passionate about it. This is why I decided to start vocal lessons when I was 21 for two years to increase my vocal range. I also learned how to write songs.
As a Nigerian who is currently based outside the country, does the multicultural lifestyle influence your music?
Not necessarily. I am very Nigerian in my ways and I have always loved our music - that inspires me to create my own.
Artists often talk about artistic conflict whenever they try to merge two cultures into one. Did you experience that as a Nigerian in the UK?
I would rather say I have adapted to the ways of another culture whilst still embracing mine.
Would you say the dense first/second generation African immigrant demography in the UK helps foster your 'Afrobeats' sound?
My sound comes from listening to our great music artists in Africa. I get a lot of inspiration from others and also what i see around me
How about the Caribbean demography?
I haven’t really mixed with the Caribbean demographic in the UK, but a lot of their music is played in the clubs as well. As I get inspiration from what is around me, you can say it has had some sort of an impact on my sound.
In an interview, you described your sound as 'Afrobeats.' Do you think that sufficiently captures your music?
Yes it does. I mostly create music from Afrobeats sounds.
'Confused' had a lot of traction on Instagram and has good numbers on SoundCloud. How personal was the experience that inspired the music?
'Confused' was my debut single. It is not from personal experience actually. I sometimes create music from others' experiences and Confused was one of them. The song boosted greatly. I was actively reaching out to people and stations to talk about my song.
How much does personal experience inspire your music?
Some aspects of my personal experience inspires my music and I can say I expressed this in some of the songs from the upcoming album.
What's your creative process?
I create music ideas anywhere. I don’t have a structured process. The structure only comes in when i already have the idea and then i work on it with my team. I record in the studio every other week and at home most days in the week.
How hard is it for new acts to convert social media traction into a real fan base?
It is really hard but what I can say is being consistent and resilient is key. Reaching out to people and believing in your craft can go a long way in achieving this.
Do you think sensuality/sexuality will be a part of your music going forward?
I write music based on how i feel and what i see as I said previously. I can;t rule it out because I can't say what the future holds. However as of now, no.
Who is Sayo away from the music?
I am a young professional who works a 9-5 in London aside doing music. I love spending time with family and friends. I love cooking and eating food.
Who do you make music for?
For the world. I want my music to be loved all over.
Any upcoming new releases?
Yes and yes. New music is coming out sooner than you think.