Ọlawale Ọlọfọrọ (born Olawale Ashimi; 9 May 1986), better known as Brymo, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, composer and author. He started recording music in 1999 while in secondary school. He signed a record deal with Chocolate City in 2010 but was accused of breaching his contract with the label in 2013.
Brymo performing "Let Us Be Great" for Ndani Sessions in November 2018
|Birth name||Olawale Ashimi|
|Born||9 May 1986|
Okokomaiko, Ojo, Lagos State, Nigeria
Brymo released his debut studio album Brymstone, in 2007. His second studio album TheSonOfaKapenta was released in 2012; it was supported by two singles; "Ara" and "Good Morning". His third studio album Merchants, Dealers & Slaves was released on 20 October 2013; it received generally positive reviews from music critics and was preceded by two singles; "Down" and "Eko". Tabula Rasa was released as the singer's fourth studio album on 30 October 2014; its lead single "Fe Mi" was described as a "soft traditional ballad". On 8 December 2015, Brymo released an eight-track compilation album titled Trance. He signed an international distribution deal with Tate Music Group in 2015. Brymo released his fifth studio album Klĭtôrĭs on 9 May 2016. It comprises 11 tracks and was preceded by the lead single "Happy Memories". In March 2018, Brymo released his critically acclaimed sixth studio album Oṣó. Six months later, he released the self-referential fictional novel, Oriri's Plight.
Early life and career beginningsEdit
Olawale Ashimi was born and raised in Okokomaiko, Ojo, Lagos State; his father is an Awori carpenter and his mother is an Egun petty trader; he is the only child of his parents. Brymo grew up in a multi-faith household and learned to recite the entire Qur'an after being enrolled into an Islamic School. He went to Aganju Aka Primary School and later enrolled at Japual Primary School.
Brymo was quite a troublesome child who got into numerous fights with other children from his neighbourhood. He was initially interested in playing football after graduating from secondary school. In 1999, he recorded his first song while in secondary school and titled it "Future". In 2002, Brymo and some of his friends formed a group called The Aliens. Between 2004 and 2005, the group had problems and disbanded in 2005. Brymo was inspired to create music after listening to his mother singing fuji songs. Brymo gained admission to Lagos State University (LASU), where he studied zoology, but after his second year he left LASU to pursue a career in music.
2007–2012: Brymstone, "Oleku" collaboration, and TheSonOfaKapentaEdit
Brymo released his debut studio album Brymstone in 2007. He told Damiete Braide of The Sun he chose R&B after being influenced by the work of R. Kelly and the Backstreet Boys. He also told Braide he sold more than 2,000 copies of the album within six months of its release. In a 2013 interview with The Sun, Brymo said management problems prevented him from getting a marketing deal for the album and that he had a one-million naira offer that did not work out because of technical issues.
Brymo was featured on the hit single "Oleku", which was released as the lead single from Ice Prince's debut studio album Everybody Loves Ice Prince (2011). Brymo told Tony Erhariefe of The Sun that his inspiration for recording the hook of "Oleku" came from the passion and energy around him, and from hunger and desperation. He also said that although the song did not necessarily generate money, it gave him exposure. In 2010, Denrele Edun, whom he met few years earlier, asked Brymo if he knew the rapper M.I, who was interested in talking with him. In 2010, Brymo signed to the label Chocolate City after talking with M.I. Prior to his record deal with Chocolate City, he collaborated with Jesse Jagz on the song "Love You", which appeared on the rapper's debut studio album Jag of All Tradez (2011).
Brymo released his second studio album TheSonOfaKapenta on 23 November 2012; it was initially slated for release on 15 November. The album features guest appearances from Jesse Jagz, Pryse, M.I and Ice Prince. It was recorded in English and Yoruba. On 18 September 2011, Brymo released the Legendury Beatz-produced "Ara" as the album's lead single. Its music video was directed by AJE films and was released on 31 December 2011. Brymo told Damiete Braide of The Sun that "Ara" is a slang term that loosely translates to "wonder". In a July 2012 interview with Adeola Adeyemo of BellaNaija Brymo said he recorded the song while being under pressure from Chocolate City to submit a single. He also revealed that "Ara" was written six months after he recorded "Good Morning".
On 16 April 2012, Brymo released "Good Morning" as the album's second single. Its music video was directed by AJE films and released on 30 July 2012. In a 2012 interview with The Punch newspaper, Brymo said his father's carpentry profession inspired the album's title and described TheSonOfaKapenta as a summary of his life and said each song is a reflection of his energy. Brymo also said he recorded the album to be identified by his body of work as a lead artist rather than as a featured artist. In January 2013, The Nation newspaper included TheSonOfaKapenta on its list of the "Albums that failed commercially in 2012".
2013–2015: Merchants, Dealers & Slaves, Tabula Rasa and TranceEdit
Brymo released his third studio album Merchants, Dealers & Slaves on 20 October 2013. The album was produced by Mikky Me and features a guest appearance from David. Hard copies of the album were released on 26 March 2014. On 18 October 2013, Brymo revealed the track list of the album on Instagram. The album's lead single "Down" was officially released on 1 October 2013; its music video was uploaded to YouTube on 30 September 2013. Brymo dedicated the song to his family and country. In May 2014, Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that undergraduate students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale deconstructed the lyrics of "Down" as part of a case study project. Brymo was invited to the school to attend the case study presentation. On 21 October 2013, "Eko" was released as the album's second single. Critical reception to Merchants, Dealers & Slaves was generally positive. Ayomide Tayo of Nigeria Entertainment Today described the album as a "soulful masterpiece that is emotionally charged with amazing production".
On 14 October 2014, Brymo was announced as an ambassador for the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He released his fourth studio album Tabula Rasa on 30 October 2014; his manager Lanre Lawal announced plans for the release during an interview with The Punch in October 2014. Lawal also told The Sun the album would be a fusion of African folk and popular music. Brymo told The Nation newspaper he recorded the album to move on from his controversial split with Chocolate City. Brymo decided to name the album Tabula Rasa after hearing the judge used it in a speech. "Fe Mi" was released as the album's lead single on 18 September 2014. Ayo Onikoyi of Vanguard describes the song as "a soft traditional ballad". On 6 March 2015, Brymo released a documentary about the song "1 Pound", which was directed by St. Immaculate; a teaser of the documentary was released on 2 March 2015. On 30 March 2015, he released the music video for the song "Ję Lé O Sinmi"; the video was directed by Godson KC Uma of MaadKreativity Inc and runs for 3 minutes and 59 seconds.
On 8 December 2015, Brymo released an eight-track compilation album titled Trance. It was released by American record label and publishing firm Tate Music Group and was originally scheduled for a September 2015 release. It was primarily targeted at audiences in the U.S., and contains songs from the albums Merchants, Dealers & Slaves and Tabula Rasa. Brymo described the album as a medley of thoughts based on his experiences. The album contains elements of African folk, soul, pop, and afrobeat.
Chocolate City departureEdit
In May 2013, Brymo announced via Twitter that he had left Chocolate City. Audu Maikori, who was the CEO of Chocolate City at the time, refuted Brymo's claims during a press conference at the label's office in Lekki. Maikori said Brymo still had three years left on his contract and still needed to record two albums.Vanguard newspaper reported that during the press conference, Maikori said Brymo committed an act of insubordination when he refused to remove an inappropriate picture he posted on Instagram. While speaking to journalists in June 2013, Brymo said Chocolate City cheated him when the label failed to explain how his second studio album was leaked. He also said there was no accountability about the way his album was being sold and distributed.
In August 2013, Brymo signed a distribution deal with Spinlet, enabling the digital media company to distribute his next album online. Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that Spinlet discontinued the deal after Chocolate City made them aware of its existing contract with Brymo. On 14 October 2013, Chocolate City filed an interim injunction against Brymo, restraining him from partaking in musical ventures beyond the confines of his contract. Six days later, Brymo released his third studio album despite reports about the injunction. On October 21, a judge at the Federal High Court of Lagos restrained Brymo from releasing and distributing any musical work pending Chocolate City's lawsuit against him.
According to The Nation newspaper, Brymo and his management met with Chocolate City representatives in October 2013 to discuss mutually-agreeable terms. Chocolate City asked Brymo to sign an agreement during the meeting, but failed. On 11 November 2013, Premium Times newspaper reported that the legal teams of both parties met in court for a hearing and that the case was adjourned to 5 December 2013. Between December 2013 and March 2014, the case was adjourned four times for several reasons. In March 2014, the Federal High Court of Lagos lifted the restraint it put on Brymo in October 2013. In May 2014, Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that the judge presiding over the case pulled out after he was accused of being biased. In a radio interview with Toolz in May 2016, Brymo said he did not win the case against Chocolate City, saying, "we had the opportunity to iron it out in court but they fried it up. I don’t know what they did but they definitely spoke to the judge and spoke to the lawyers and scrapped the case, they are lawyers; they can do it."
Brymo's fifth studio album Klĭtôrĭs was released on 9 May 2016. It was made available for pre-order via iTunes prior to its release. The album comprises 11 tracks and was preceded by the lead single "Happy Memories". Brymo's girlfriend Esse Kakada is featured on the song "Naked". The original artwork for the album was designed by Georgi Georgiev of Moonring Art Design. An edited version of the artwork was done by Duks after iTunes refused to put up the original artwork. In an interview with Nigerian Entertainment Today, Brymo said the title of the album means key in the Greek language and that the album is an expression of love and the uncertainty of it. He said, "the album is the key to a certain door I have knocked on for years; and yes it was meant to be sensual, there ought to be two sides to the coin".
2018: Oṣó and Oriri’s PlightEdit
In November 2017, Brymo said on Twitter that plans were underway for his sixth studio album, whose title he disclosed as Oṣó (Yoruba: The Wizard) and launched a website titled theosoproject.com dedicated to the project. In August 2017, he released the Jazz-infused Afrobeat single "Do You Know Me". Oṣó was released on 27 March 2018; it consists of 11 tracks. It was produced and mixed by Brymo's frequent collaborator MikkyMe Joses. The album was mastered at Metalwork Studios, Canada by Chris Crerar. A day following the release of the album, Brymo released the music video for the lead single "Heya", which was filmed and directed by NVMB3R Production. The video features Brymo exposing his buttocks while wearing a loincloth to hide his genitals. The video received mixed reviews; in an e-mail to Pulse Nigeria, Brymo defended his decision to expose his buttocks, saying, "I decided to appear how my forbears dressed before the arrival of civilization to Nubian continent".
In September 2018, Brymo released Oriri's Plight, a self-referential fictional novel. It is centered around a young Nubian man of the dark ages. The digital version of the book was published worldwide on all digital book platforms, while the physical version was published in Nigeria on 4 October 2018. The book was published and distributed by Clockwyce Publishing.
Brymo's music is a mixture of fuji, R&B, pop and rock. He told Damiete Braide his music can easily be called pop due to its ability of getting across to the people. Brymo's albums Merchants, Dealers & Slaves and Tabula Rasa comment on social injustice and chaos that are prevalent in Nigerian society. In a 2016 interview with OkayAfrica, Brymo said, "Although my songs reflect many issues which are relevant in my society, I believe that human relations is the site where all issues emerge".
- Studio albums
- Brymstone (2007)
- TheSonOfaKapenta (2012)
- Merchants, Dealers & Slaves (2013)
- Tabula Rasa (2014)
- Klĭtôrĭs (2016)
- Oṣó (2018)
- Compilation albums
- Trance (2015)
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- "BRYMO BIOGRAPHY (Nigerian Artist)". Nigeria Music Network. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Osagie Alonge (25 October 2013). "NET SPECIAL REPORT: Chocolate City Vs Brymo, see you in court guys!". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "'I know the court can't save me', Brymo says he left Chocolate City over breach of contract". Nigerian Entertainment Today. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "I left University 'cos' my parents couldn't afford the fees – Brymo". Vanguard. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
- Camara, Mamasa (22 February 2016). "A Nigerian Star Finds His Voice: A Skype Call With Brymo". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- Damiete Braide (12 January 2013). "I need a wife now! –Brymo". The Sun. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
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- "Brymo: I Would Have Been A Footballer". This Day. 17 November 2012. Archived from the original on 21 November 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
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- "New Music: Brymo – Ara". Jaguda. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "VIDEO: Brymo – Ara (Wonders)". NotJustOk. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "BN Saturday Celebrity Interview: The 'Son Of A Carpenter' climbs up the Ladder of Fame & Success – All the Interesting Details of the Rise of Choc Boi, Brymo!". BellaNaija. 14 July 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "New Music: Brymo – Good Morning". BellaNaija. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "VIDEO: Brymo – Good Morning". NotJustOk. 30 July 2012.
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- Boulor, Ahmed (13 January 2013). "Albums that failed commercially in 2012". The Nation. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
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- "Brymo Releases His Third Album "Merchants, Dealers & Slaves"! Listen to his New Single "Eko"". BellaNaija. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Ayomide Tayo (27 October 2013). "ALBUM REVIEW: Brymo's Merchant, Dealers and Slaves is about broken promises, deception, hypocrisy and unfaithfulness". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Showemimo, Dayo (14 October 2014). "2face, Kunle Afolayan, Vector and Brymo unveiled as Lagos Chamber of Commerce ambassadors". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- "Brymo back in the studio for Tabula Rasa". The Sun. 8 June 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "Brymo speaks on new album, Tabula Rasa". The Nation. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Adeniyi, Adewoyin (25 September 2014). "Brymo set to drop fourth album". The Nation. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "Brymo – Fe Mi". NotjustOk. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- Onikoyi, Ayo (27 September 2014). "Brymo returns with Femi". Vanguard. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- "Brymo releases trailer for latest music video". News 24. 6 March 2015. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "New Video: Brymo – Ję Lé O Sinmi". Bella Naija. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- "Trance by Brymo". iTunes. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- Akan, Joey (25 August 2015). "Singer to release international album "Trance" in September". Pulse. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
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- Adeoye Keme Arubay (23 June 2013). "Though angry, Brymo may return to Chocolate City". The Nation. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Osagie Alonge (7 August 2013). "BrymO gets new manager, boycotts Chocolate City to sign new deal". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Osagie Alonge (20 October 2013). "Brymo boycotts Chocolate City, Spinlet, drops new album on iTunes". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Alonge, Osagie (25 October 2013). "NET SPECIAL REPORT: Chocolate City Vs Brymo, see you in court guys!". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "BrymO/Chocolate City Feud Deepens". P.M. News. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "Brymo announces new album 'Merchant, Dealers and Slaves'". Nigerian Entertainment Today. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "Court lifts injunction on release of Brymo's music". Punch. 4 March 2014. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Medeme, Ovwe (14 November 2013). "Brymo's aide speaks on Chocolate City brawl". The Nation. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- Abimboye, Micheal (11 November 2013). "Chocolate City vs. Brymo: Court adjourns suit to December 5". Premium Times. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Court lifts injunction on Brymo". The Nation. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
- Dede, Steve (8 May 2014). "Chocolate City vs Byrmo: Judge drops case due to accusation of bias". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
- Igboanugo, Ada (9 May 2016). "'Every time I try to make peace, they grow an erection' - 6 things Brymo revealed about Chocolate City". YNaija. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
- "Klĭtôrĭs by Brymo". iTunes. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "Brymo's New Album Title "Klitoris" Is Highly Controversial". Urban 96 FM. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- Solanke, Abiola (25 April 2016). "Singer set to drop fifth studio album "Klitoris"". Pulse. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- Showemimo, Adedayo (25 April 2016). "Brymo tells THENETNG the meaning of his new album KLĬTÔRĬS". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- Akan, Joey. "BrymO: Singer announces 6th studio album "Oso (The Wizard)"". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- Solanke, Abiola. "Brymo - "Do you know me?" ode to the independent African lady". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- Akan, Joey (14 March 2018). "Singer releases 6th album "OṢÓ"". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- "Brymo Released A 'Nude' Music Video And Nigerian Twitter Is Going Crazy". OkayAfrica. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- Akan, Joey. "Why Brymo wore G-String in his new "Heya" video". Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- Okare, Fisayo (20 September 2018). "Brymo debuts a seemingly self-referential fictional book, 'Oriri's Plight'". The Native Magazine. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Singer welcomes son with lover". Pulse. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "Singer shares 1st full picture of his son". Pulse. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2016.