UAE-based Nigerian artist MKO is releasing Afropop album ‘Diverse’ this week, with the launch party set to take place on September 13 at KIZA, DIFC.
The record launch, open to the public, will also feature live performances from regional acts such as Hamdan Al Abri, Pimms Brooke, Sammy Young and Laura Lopez.
Born Maduabuchi Kingsley Okpor, event planner and entrepreneur MKO has been living and working in the UAE for 11 years and considers ‘Diverse’ to be the first Afropop album to release locally.
“As individuals, we all have different sides to us and as an artist I embody different sounds and music genres. As such, ‘Diverse’ is a peek into the various sides of MKO the artist and the individual,” MKO told Gulf News tabloid!.
The 30-something singer added that Diverse is “a reflection of Dubai, which is one of the most multicultural cities in the world.”
“I believe music is the only common language we all speak. When I go to an Arab, Punjabi or an African wedding in the UAE, or even when I go to the clubs in Dubai, we dance to sounds from different parts of the world,” he added.
Musically, ‘Diverse’ is set to be an eclectic fusion, according to MKO, and will be influenced by African drum and beats.
“Back home, the sound from the older generation has been modernised to create a new sound, commonly known as AfroBeats. Within this sound, there are different genres such as Afrofusion, Afrojuju, Afro Highlife and many others,” said MKO.
“My sound is primarily considered AfroPop, which infuses the pop culture vibe to the AfroBeat sound, so you can expect to hear this on the album.”
MKO also included R‘n’B, hip-hop, Dancehall, South African House/Kwaito and Middle Eastern sounds.
The 15-track album includes lyrics in “English, Swahili [East Africa], Arabic, Twi [Ghana], and Igbo/Yoruba/Pidgin English from Nigeria,” said MKO, as well as features by artists such as DJ Neptune, Dotman and Pimms Brooke.
The record also features three bonus tracks.
“I started off by releasing singles in 2014 but started envisioning this album in 2015. The bulk of the work was done over the last 8 months, where I recorded and collaborated with various artists to complete the album,” the artist added, listing his influences as Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Khalid, Jidenna, John Legend, P-Square and Banky W.