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WurlD: BRINGING AFRO-FUSION INTO THE WORLD


WORDS GRACEY MAE - PHOTOGRAPHY MUKTAR ONIFADE






When you think of a globe, you’ll see land and sea. Afrobeats is just the same. There are artists who rock. There are artists who make waves. Wurld is an artist who does both. The blue-haired genre bender is a pioneer and a force to be reckoned with; his melodies soothe and his lyrics heal. Following the release of his brand new project, ‘Don’t Get Used to This’, the Afro-Fusion artist brings us into his Wurld.





Gracey Mae: Wurld. Welcome to F Word. How are you today?

Wurld: I'm good. It’s Monday and I’m ready to have the most amazing week. You got to manifest it, you know! How are you?


Gracey: I'm great. I'm so excited to be speaking to you: Singer, songwriter, engineer and producer. There's nothing you can't do. Before we get into the brand new project, let's take it all the way back. You have a Masters degree in IT and project management?

Wurld: Yes, yes. Oh Lord, Georgia State University. It's crazy. 


Gracey: How do you feel like your time in uni influenced your music?

Wurld: Compared to a lot of my peers in Afrobeats, Afro-Soul, and Afro-Fusion, I'm one of the few that started in America. Being in Georgia wasn't easy because I had to split my time between going to school, trying to be in studios all night and going to talent shows. Being in Georgia really influenced everything! You have the likes of Usher and Akon — that's the community where I started creating music. I fell in love with R&B, and I started writing music for different artists. That was the way I was able to navigate the industry. People were looking for songwriters, not another African artist. The only person who was African that everyone really cared about was Akon. I started writing songs for Mario, plus I was working with Timbaland and the artists he was working with. I was doing a song for B.O.B in 2016, and I ended up on his ‘Ether’ album which was a big deal. I was the only new artist on that project, it was a beautiful time.


Gracey: That was a great moment but let’s talk about  the massive house track that you did before you made your switch into Afrobeats.

Wurld: People don’t really know that my very first-ever plaque was in Eastern Europe; there’s a DJ named Gromee. One of my big brothers, Curtis Richard, introduced me to him. He's really big in the EDM space, he was like, “Bro, your voice will sound so good on this”. The record went gold but when the plaque arrived, it was shattered. I was so heartbroken but I told myself that this was going to be the first of many. This was before ‘Show You Off’ happened, prior to that, I was in House music. I was in Hip Hop. I was in R&B. I was writing for country musicians. 


Gracey: ‘Show You Off’ was 2017, your first time really doing Afro-Fusion with Shizzi and Walshy Fire. What inspired the departure?

Wurld: You know what? ‘Show You Off’ was my first attempt at an Afro-Fusion song. For the first time, I was really creating music for the community where I was born. Before that, people wouldn't know I was African or Nigerian. When we released the video, I knew it was a special moment because it really shined a light on a lot of things. I think a lot of the African/Nigerian community saw a different way of approaching the whole Afro-Fusion sound.


Gracey: Do you feel like you represent Nigeria, the Diaspora or something in between?

Wurld: I was one of the very first artists who really drew that blend where it felt like a medium. You know, when ‘Show You Off’ happened, it was a medium when ‘Trobul’ happened, it was a medium. It wasn't all the way Afrobeats, Nigerian, or Diaspora; it was like an embrace of both parts. For my personal perspective and for me, I continue to be that. It's always been that so I would say, my sound really is a world sound (pun intended). So much stuff on this new project created another medium. A lot of people were like, “Yo, this Wurld sounds like the classic Wurld project with a fusion”. That was the intention. I really wanted to make this new project full cycle and really put a stamp on my position, my standard, my sound, and what I do.


Gracey: 'My Wurld with You', your last album, had 19 tracks and now you’re back with a new EP: ‘Don’t Get Used to This’

Wurld: The new EP is a celebration of my total journey; letting people know don't get used to this moment, as amazing as it sounds, because the future sounds might change. I've got so much to offer, I just got warmed up. I have a dance project coming. I have an electronic, full-electronic project coming next year. I can't wait. When I go into meetings and I play unreleased music to people, like brands and stuff, the excitement I get really is amazing. I can't wait for people to feel that same thing in real life because the best is yet to come. ‘Don’t Get Used to This’ is just another step in showing people that they can trust me to always deliver.


Gracey: On the intro, you said “The greatest moments don't last forever. Don't get used to this”. Unpack that statement for us.

Wurld: You can imagine going on one of the best dates ever, and you're in that moment, fully involved and present. Tomorrow, you have to live a new experience because we should never get ourselves tied to old memories. We should constantly evolve because the great works we do today, just become a memory — it's a cycle. It's a continuous growth process. As amazing as it sounds, don't get used to me giving you this sound because I'm continuously evolving as a person and as a creative, and the next project will not sound the same as I've done with all my previous projects.





Gracey: What would you say this year has been your biggest growth moment this year?

Wurld: Patience. Above all, I've learned to be impatiently patient. When I meet people, they look at me like “Yo, Wurld should be so much bigger by now”. For me, it's a mental thing because I know how much work I put in. I've created moments that shift sounds back and forth. A lot of times, people don't talk about that. I wrote [Davido and Chris Brown’s] ’Blow My Mind’. That was the first time Afrobeats and R&B was done in that way and it really shocked the world. Same with [Davido’s] ‘Sweet in the Middle’. It's just so much stuff. So for me, it's understanding how much I've given of myself to the cause, and understanding that I'm not going to get mad at the system for how it works. I'm just going to be patient, consistently mark my territory, and show people that this is really, really who I am. I'm not an artist by night or artist by season; I am here to stay, and the best is really just now happening.


Gracey: We always know when we hear your writing or BVs on a track, your sound is so distinct. Loved you on Asa’s ‘Oceans’…

Wurld: Did you know we did create a joint project?


Gracey: I was going to ask about that. What happened to it?

Wurld: It's just timing but I just feel like the world may never hear it. It's beautiful. It just feels like we might be in different spaces. Moving forward is so much more amazing stuff, so much music to come, so many collaborations to come. I know people have not really experienced me on a lot of collaborations, but that's coming in 2024. I wanted it to happen this year, but I was going through a lot of transitions internally, team-wise. It was never about the music, it was just getting myself in a comfortable space with people around me to release music again. 


Gracey: Is your new team WeAreGvds/Addictive Content? I’ve seen their name on your stuff a lot lately 

Wurld: Yeah, WeAreGvds is the first imprint that I had. I came up with it since ‘Show You Off’ and I've been really working with a close team of people. I've always been very hands-on, from the creative to the music to the mixing to the recording but, if everything is on me, I’ll get burnt out. Addictive Content is a further continuation of what I'm doing, it’s a new imprint that I started with my transition. It's not just about me; it's about working with new artists and creating more sounds and new sounds. I want to be part of new success stories of creatives from Africa to the world. I know what I've done with my brother and the team with the intention, the details, the art, and I envision a space where I can create that with new artists as well. I can only put out 2/3 projects in a year, but I want to increase my productivity by working closely with new producers. 


Gracey: I love that. Track one, 'Do It’, is produced by yourself and Ketta. Who is he?

Wurld: We met actually on Instagram; he just sent me a message. This was a very special day because I get a lot of messages and I'm not usually able to respond to a lot of things, but I responded, and I was blown away by the sounds he sent me. To be honest, Ketta is on five songs for this project. It was not about a producer that had a name; it was about the music. Everything on this project is 1,000% about the music; it was not about the hype. I didn't want to do any hype content. I don't want to do any hype songs because people want me with XYZ artists. I was focused only on timeless, quality music that cannot be boxed. That was why I was able to create so many songs with a producer that a lot of people don't know. He's from Amsterdam and he has a love for the Afrobeats sound, but more pop, which was a space that I wanted to go into.


Gracey: I love the fact that you were able to connect on Instagram. I think that's going to be pretty inspirational to a lot of our readers.

Wurld: For real, I connected with him on Instagram, and we've made some of the most groundbreaking, sound-shifting songs ever. He mixed and mastered the project with me - he has so much involvement in this project.


Gracey: On 'Do It', you say “I do it for you”. Who were you doing music for?

Wurld: It is a very special song and conversation. There's so many things that we always say “I'm not going to do that because you're not with the right person”. We do that for many years and then meet that one girl and change that all of a sudden. So really, the song is saying all the things that I say that I would never do, I'll do for you, which I think is powerful. That's how people choose a life partner. I wanted to shine light on that conversation. It’s one of the most perfect songs I've ever heard, lyrically and vocally. 


Gracey: I love it and it's a great opener. It directly contrasts track 3, ‘Company.’ 

Wurld: For this project I went back into my super vulnerable space of just loving and giving. I feel like true love is giving yourself completely to it. So really, this is me wanting to put the listeners in a very egoless space. It could be your family; it could be your daughter; it could be your father; it could be anything. It could be anyone. It’s just about being fully committed to that moment, fully committing to emotions with no pride and embracing what is now. In 'Company', it's like I just can't get enough of your company so stay a little longer. Stay with me the whole weekend. Let's turn off our phones and just be present now.


Gracey: What song would you say embodies that project the most?

Wurld: The song that embodies the project the most would be an interesting one; it's ‘Do It’ and ‘Sorry’. The reason why is because those are very important moments. ‘Sorry’ is like a not-so-happy ending to this beautiful idea of giving everything to something and knowing that it's not always a happy ending; it's continuous work. Situations drive things to change, and we decide maybe this is not for me anymore; maybe there's someone better for me out there. That's why I said “Love shouldn't take so long”. Why do we take so long to decide that this is it? Why are we just in this with a lot of boundaries and barriers? We make it seem like this is my person but there's still somebody else out there that's better. Why do we wait so long? Why do we take so long? Why do we guess? Why do we doubt so much? It's society; it makes you not feel like you can leave your guard down. The only regret you have when things don't work out is those things you should have done, could have done... When you actually do the right thing and do your part, you feel so much better knowing that you did your best; it was just not for you. 


Gracey: On the project, my favorite is ‘Melanin Riddim.’ I feel like it speaks to me as a dark-skinned woman.

Wurld: Let's talk about that. I was hoping you were going to ask me about that. I wanted to embrace the African woman. Wherever you are, this one is for you! The first line of the verse says, “My choice will never change from you. My taste would always long for you”. I was very cautious and intentional about every lyric on this particular record. This is the rhythm for all my Melanin women all around the world. My beautiful, Black, excellent women. I needed to do it. If there was anyone who was going to do this song, it had to be me. 


Gracey: Before we wrap up, what’s on your heart?

Wurld: For me these days, I'm just being even more intentional with my purpose, and I just appreciate people who have been on this lonely path and journey with me. They're actually very bold with me because I'm constantly putting out stuff that's a risk; it's different, and I'm going against the trend every time. For me, I appreciate their love and support; it takes a lot and it means a lot. I appreciate every single one of my supporters. You guys mean everything to me. I don't feel alone at all.


Gracey: I love that. This is F Word. Thank you for joining us. What is your favourite F-word?

Wurld: Foooooooood (laughs)

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