Born in Flint, Michigan, one of America’s most dangerous cities, Tunde Olaniran is a cultural warrior with a 4-octave range and a penchant for dirty synths. Combining a magnetic presence, lyrical dexterity, genre-devouring style, and a glam-rock, DIY performance aesthetic, he’s toured the world, making believers out of Detroit metal-heads and Croatian ravers alike with a sound that defies convention.
As a child of an American socialist mother and Nigerian Christian immigrant father, Tunde Olaniran has been instilled with the infusion of culture, consciousness, and rhythm since birth. Growing up, he lived in Germany, Nigeria, and England before settling in Flint, MI for his late adolescence where he was exposed to urban, folk, and soul influences of the small, humble city as well as a strong jazz influence on his mom's behalf. With the mixture of the eclectic music surrounding him and the discovery of his budding talent, he was prompted in 2003 to submit an audition videotape to the first annual Chicago Idol competition. From over 1,500 contestants, the young crooner made it to the final 15, receiving props from a then-unknown Kanye West, and sharing the stage with R. Kelly and Syleena Johnson. It was then that Tunde got a taste for what he would begin to pursue.
In the winter of 2008, Tunde collaborated with Berlin duo Chris De Luca Vs. Phon.o for their album Supercontinental, writing and performing three tracks. He then toured Europe (France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia), sharing the stage with acts like Robyn, Switch, Ebony Bones, Diplo, XXXChange, and Jahcoozi.
Along with performing overseas, Tunde's records “I'm So Trill” and “Superconfidential” receive airplay on international radio stations such as Radio 1, Radio Fritz, Jam FM, Motor FM, and FM4. In the States, his songs "Champion" and "I Got It" receive regular airplay on WKUF-LP 94.3 Kettering Radio. In 2010, Tunde Olaniran's song with CLP and White Gold Princess, "Insatiable," received placement in the highly publicized new film "Just Wright," featuring Common and Academy Award nominees Queen Latifah and Paula Patton.
Through all of these accomplishments, word has slowly spread virally about the upstart vocalist, catching the attention of MTV Iggy, who dubbed Tunde a "Pop Futurist" and named him as one of their "Bands We Like" as well as "Artist of the Week." Videos featuring Tunde have garnered over to 100K views on youtube and vimeo.
His current endeavor is an upcoming EP, "The Second Transgression." The current single, "Brown Boy," has caught the attention of The Roots' new project, OkayAfrica, which reached out to premiere Tunde's next video. Tunde is ready to show the world his energetic, mesmerizing ,live stage show. Original in every way from the look, the style, the sound, and even down to the name, Tunde Olaniran is an artist you won't soon forget.
Tunde Olaniran - Vocalist/Producer
Back for Seconds (12/07/05)
Infinite Modulation (11/02/06)
Strictly Confidential (11/23/09)*
Sunglasses EP (07/16/10)*
The Guilty Industry EP (01/28/11)
Cobra [Single] (02/15/11)
The First Transgression (07/15/11)
Leave A Light On from the album Black Boulder (05/18/2012)*
What I Say [Single](10/09/12)
*enjoys terrestrial radio play in Germany, UK, France, Netherlands
Bands We Like: Tunde Olaniran’s Electro Futurism
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But, if he’s not a rapper, what is Tunde Olaniran? Well, he’s a producer, a singer, a songwriter, ...
But, if he’s not a rapper, what is Tunde Olaniran? Well, he’s a producer, a singer, a songwriter, a world traveler. He’s an artist working in the medium of beats, rhymes, soulful R&B vocals, and electro hooks. The child of an American mother and a Nigerian father, Olaniran has lived in Germany, Nigeria, and England and he is now based in the US city of Flint, Michigan. So, you see, he can be forgiven for being a little eclectic and just a little bit hard to pigeonhole.
As stylistically and vocally unfettered, and well-equipped with old-school flow and R&B chops, he’s got a classic sensibility. However, he points it in all in the direction of the future with riveting delivery and never glances backward. Part of the futuristic feel comes from his stripped-down, D.I.Y. approach. It feels raw and new because there’s never anything between you and the song. Oh, and the lyrics are deep.
Another thing that Olaniran isn’t is new to music. So far, he’s fronted a rock band, toured Europe, performed with the likes of Ebony Bones and Diplo, and gotten himself into all kinds of collaborations. His debut solo album Infinite Modulation came out in 2006 and draws on everything from Southeast Asian rhythms to ’60s American pop and folk.
His latest single “Cobra” indicates that his next project is going to be even more out of control and defiant of expectations. We hear it belongs to Transgressor Part 1, the first part of a five part album release planned for this year and that each release will be accompanied by a short science fiction film. We’ve observed before that Olaniran doesn’t believe in going easy on people. But, in his defense, we don’t see why you’d want anything less than everything he has to say.
Interview: Tunde Olaniran’s Boundless Art
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‘Unique’ is a word that gets thrown around too often in the music industry but in the case of Tunde ...‘Unique’ is a word that gets thrown around too often in the music industry but in the case of Tunde Olaniran it’s one of the few that comes close to describing his style. Strains of modern Motown meet Euro-electronica with a heart of Nigerian funk, pure pop melodies and fluid 4-octave range vocals delivered with a glam-rock sensibility… to describe it can become a confusion of labels when in fact it’s a seamless global sound that comes from the evolution of the artist himself.
“I was born in the United States. My dad is from Nigeria, he met my mom going to college in the United States,” Tunde explains. His father went on to join the military and so Tunde’s childhood was spent absorbing social and musical influences from a brief stay in Nigeria followed by longer stints in Germany and the U.K., where he met many relatives from his father’s side.
He was back in Flint, Michigan for middle school with a perspective that had already been shaped by the time spent abroad. Tunde notes the interesting dynamic in Michigan, where poor sharecroppers came from the old South to take part in the then booming industrial economy and a good school system that came as a product of investment in education in the mid-century.
His parents divorced and he calls his growing up there an “intense middle class” experience, conscious of the differences between African and African American, European and North American mores and styles; the subtleties of race relations – where some looked down on his mother’s mixed race family while others looked down on people like his father with his very dark African skin. Those reflections and observations on social issues and identity politics inform his lyrics and come out in songs like “Brown Boy” off his upcoming EP, The Second Transgression.
Music wasn’t in his early plans. “I didn’t really do much music outside of choir in school,” he says. “I wrote poetry.” When it came to music, his tastes were fairly conventional. “I listened to mostly pop music. I didn’t have a lot of hip hop music until I was 14. It was new to me.” He remembers being struck by Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody.” “I love really traditional pop music.” It’s a love you can hear in the catchy melodies of even his most esoteric compositions. His early musical influences also foreshadowed his own art later on, including a fondness for M.I.A. “I realized you don’t have to be a good musician,” he laughs. “I loved that she was a ‘collage artist’ of music – the way people now engage in music online. It’s like two plus two equals five.”
He also listened to people like Lauryn Hill and Paula Cole. “I love strong female vocalists.” His own musical ambitions didn’t come to the fore until later on. “It wasn’t until I was in college,” he explains. “I was in Chicago Idol.” After sending an audition videotape to the very first annual Chicago Idol competition in 2003, he ended up in the top 15,sharing the stage with R. Kelly and performing for then little known judge Kanye West. The experience itself proved to be the kick starter for his career.
“I realized I loved performing – that was the most fun. So I came back to Flint and I joined a rock band. It gave me a chance to write.” The group, called Taste This! achieved some success locally and garnered some radio play for their inaugural release. “I learned a lot from playing in a band,” he remembers. After a solo release that also got some attention and airplay locally, he reached back to his continental past and hooked up with Berlin-based DJ duo CLP (Christ De Luca and Phon.o), contributing three tracks to their 2008 album Supercontinental.
He ended up touring Europe with them and getting international airplay for his own music in the bargain. “That’s when I finally learned this is an industry and you have to work for it,” he says. “To meet people who were career musicians – it was a real eye opener,” he says.
The experience also led to the development of another key facet of Tunde’s art – his live show. “That’s when I started thinking about the live show,” he says. His performances showcase his theatrical flair, complete with dancers, costumes and makeup, all of it under his direction.
The shows verge on performance art or installation, but for him it’s an extension and expression of the music and he pays attention to the basics, with a strong focus on both the meaningful lyrics and the eminently danceable grooves. For the upcoming release, he’s bringing his fans a somewhat heavier sound. “I was talking about production last night,” he says from an interview on the road. “For me, it’s about two elements; samples, compelling samples with strings, mandolins plus a little bit heavier now with live guitar, bass guitar. It’s heavy on memorable vocal lines without doing something people have heard before.”
He’s touring now to focus on pushing the upcoming EP. After a youth spent globetrotting, he seems firmly planted in Michigan soil these days. “Right now, I’m doing some regional tours. I really am focusing on building a profile in Detroit, Chicago, with some east coast connections in Washington and Philly.” He’s also looking to expand radio play, including the European angle where he’s already enjoyed success. He doesn’t count classic Motown among his influences but is a big fan of its contemporary artists. “I’m more influenced by current Motown artists,” he says. “I love the scene now with so many committed social activist/musicians.” Read more about Tunde at his website here, and keep an eye out for The Second Transgression.
Is The World Ready For Tunde Olaniran?
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The video for avant hip hop savant Tunde Olaniran’s “Cobra” single was shot on a shoestring in the h...The video for avant hip hop savant Tunde Olaniran’s “Cobra” single was shot on a shoestring in the historic Capitol Theater in Flint, Michigan and it has a decidedly low-res quality. And yet it still manages to totally inundate your senses and leaves you asking yourself what just happened.
The answer, of course, is that you have just met Tunde Olaniran. Don’t sweat it. The multi-talented child of a Nigerian father and an American mother has that effect on a lot of people.
On “Cobra,” for instance, there’s the hyper-modern beats and heavy bass combined with his ’90s inspired flow and R&B vocals. The production seems kind of DIY and experimental and then you realize the hook is really catchy. Like, Ying Yang Twins catchy.
Then you realize he’s singing about how it takes courage to embrace the duality within oneself and in human relationships — or something — with striking yet oblique lyrics like “Can you see through the tainted love like stained glass?”
And then there are all these people projecting fierceness, and flashing lights, and he’s crying and dancing. And then it’s over. Olaniran clearly doesn’t believe in going easy on people when it comes to introducing himself to the world.
We’re not saying he just appeared on the scene, incidentally. He’s got albums out, he’s toured Europe, performed with Ebony Bones and been involved in myriad musical projects. It’s just that, from what we hear of the multi-media event/album that “Cobra” pertains to, we have a feeling he’s ready to have that certain effect on a whole lot more people.
Touched for the Very First Time: Friday Night at Rifflandia
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'The Rest of Friday Night After Clay George’s fine set, the Whitsundays came on, and I disappeare...'The Rest of Friday Night
After Clay George’s fine set, the Whitsundays came on, and I disappeared over to Sugar Nightclub. I wanted to catch Detroit’s Tunde Olaniran—I’d read good things, but when I arrived at the club I got scared. It was DeadsVille inside Sugar, just a scattering of distracted-looking party people shuffling around to DJ Sam Demoe. If Olaniran was as outrageous as hip [sic] rep suggested (I’ve heard Prince’s lovechild and Kraftwerk both mentioned toward describing his act), then I was beginning to feel bad for what might be a very poor and apathetic turn out. No worries though, because the man has the power. Within five minutes of Tunde taking the stage, the drifters and beer-nursers had gathered close. Within ten minutes, most people were dancing. After fifteen minutes, people (me especially) were losing there shit! Who was this guy, this huge black man in like pristine flowing white coat, elegant long white scarf, with straightened and highlighted hair, dancing like he really just didn’t care, singing like a diva, rapping like an allstar, and just in general being the funnest fucking thing to hit Sugar’s stage, I’m sure, in quite some time? I dunno, but thank God for Tunde. One of my fellow show-goers did quite a nice job of summing up Olaniran’s performace. She said it was part talent-show, and part grade 9 girls’ sleepover, where your friend’s mom gets too drunk and is all ”hey girls, check it out”, and then blasts Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” on the stereo while she sings and dances her heart out. I agree, only this wasn’t embarrassing—it was pure gold. In fact, Olaniran’s last song was an amazing cover of “Like a Virgin.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an artist take a club that drowsy and make it rock so hard.'
BROWN BOY TUNDE OLANIRAN - IMMA IMMA
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Detroiter Tunde Olaniran has a knack for strong willed innocence that makes him amazingly powerful a...Detroiter Tunde Olaniran has a knack for strong willed innocence that makes him amazingly powerful and attractive. His ominous presence in his video for 'Brown Boy' the first single from his upcoming EP 'The Second Transgression' shows his fearlessness for being none other than himself.
TUNDE OLANIRAN THE VISIONARY [VIDEO]
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During Michael Jackson’s memorial service, Madonna reflected on the memories of her friendship with ...During Michael Jackson’s memorial service, Madonna reflected on the memories of her friendship with Michael, and made it clear their relationship was purely platonic. If, however, Madonna and Michael Jackson had ever made love, their offspring would have been something similar to Tunde Olaniran. (@tundeolaniran)
Babatunde is a visionary with a true bohemian spirit. Every aspect of his show is a product of his creativity, engineered to perfection from the mind of a brilliant artist. From the beats to the lyrics to the wardrobe to the choreography, he masters the crowd with his compelling performances.
I have often compared Tunde to pop icons of the past, but one thing that sets him apart is the content of his music. He is an activist and an ardent anarchist. He often speaks out on issues that make most people uncomfortable, like standing up for transgender people and dealing with his own sexual identity.
When you combine his musical talent with his revolutionary vision, I believe there is massive potential that Tunde could do something that very few musicians and artists have; to become an international pop music star while staying true to the style and content that he has become beloved for in various circles of underground music in Michigan.
I got the chance to interview Tunde at the Trumbullplex library, as well as take some video from his show. You’ll be able to see him perform at TEDxFlint, SXSW Music Festival and his upcoming East Coast tour with Miz Korona (@mizkorona) and The Rarities. Be sure to check out Tunde’s EP, The First Transgression, which is available on iTunes.
Flint-area bands prepare to party, play at South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas
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One city. Five days. Roughly 1,800 bands. To grasp what it's like playing at the South By Southwe...One city. Five days. Roughly 1,800 bands.
To grasp what it's like playing at the South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas -- and how hard it is to stand out from the pack -- skip way past any "Where's Waldo?" scenarios.
It's more like being a needle in a trailer full of haystacks.
But next week at least four Flint-area acts will travel to the live music capital of the world for the festival that features musicians from all over the globe playing just about around the clock, trying to catch the attention of news fans, media or industry heavies who can help launch their careers.
Flint's contingent in 2009 (far as we know since the lineup's constantly growing) is: techno/R&B artist Tunde Olaniran, alternative rockers Kinetic Stereokids, outlaw country band Whitey Morgan and the 78's, and Craig Owens, lead singer of Davison's gold-selling emo-punk band Chiodos.
For all but Owens, who has played in arenas all over the world, the trip to SXSW is a chance to experience the atmosphere at the fest that almost yearly produces a handful of breakout successes, such as Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, The White Stripes and The Strokes in the past decade.
Flint acts at SXSW
• Tunde Olaniran (with CLP) - noon, March 20, Brush Square Park; 11 p.m. March 21, Karma Lounge
• Kinetic Stereokids - 7 p.m. March 19, Fado Irish Pub; noon, March 20, Red Gorilla Party at Blind Pig
• Whitey Morgan and the 78's - 8 p.m. March 20, Room 710
• Craig Owens - 6 p.m. March 19, Emo's; 1 p.m. March 21, Emo's; 8 p.m. March 21, Cedar Door.
Eric Allen, lead singer and guitarist of Whitey Morgan and the 78's, said the band's Small Stone Records label offered the chance to play on a label showcase it was organizing.
"I've known about it for as long as I can remember and I've always wanted to do it," he said. "Our label does a showcase down there every year and they put us on it because we do a lot of touring and work hard at getting our music out there.
"Some of the guys in the band ask how beneficial it is to do this and I guess it all depends on who's there at the show when we play. I'm realistic and I don't expect it to do a ton for us but I'd love to get a solid, good booking agent from it. That would be the biggest help because we're kind of at the limit of what we can do ourselves as far as setting up shows and tours."
Allen's band won't get much chance to see other acts during this SXSW go-around -- it plays in Kansas City on Thursday, hits Austin's Room 710 on Friday and heads to Corpus Christi on Saturday. Olaniran, though, plans to catch as many showcases as he can when not on stage for two concerts with German techno duo CLP, who invited him to play SXSW after Olaniran toured Europe with the group late last year.
"I check out a lot of live performances online because I'm always looking for ways to do a better live show, so I really want to see who does good shows," he said.
"I'm thinking about how to make an impression as a performer. I want to step things up as much as I can even though I'm nowhere near having a stage production or big show, so I've focused on costuming and trying to add as much as I can to how I look on stage. I just want to do a really great job performing and see some great musicians when I have the time."
Like Allen, Olaniran is making the trip with modest hopes.
"This whole thing really fell in my lap and I know it's big but it's also (so) huge that it can be really hard to get that attention you might ordinarily deserve as an artist," he said. "I talked to Justin Ford from Kinetic Stereokids and he said it was so overwhelming when they went last year that he pretty much locked himself in his hotel room, because it was so intimidating. That kind of worried me. But the other guys in the band said that even though it's big, it's a lot of fun."
Tony Vu, drummer for Kinetic Stereokids, said the band is just about giddy to return to the event he describes as "spring break for musicians."
"Last year I had no idea, other than that it was this huge gathering of musicians and people from all over the industry, but it's this totally great combination of music, people, networking, free food and free booze," Vu said by phone following a concert in Brooklyn.
Last year, Vu's band played a free day party sponsored by its publicity company -- unofficial day parties take over every conceivable venue in Austin -- but this year, they have a pair of showcases planned as the culmination to an East Coast tour.
"This tour has been a vacation from our everyday lives and responsibilities and we're looking forward to getting up on stage with as much energy as we can give and stick out as much as we can," he said. "We bring a real communal vibe to the shows when we play in Flint and that's what we want to show to people down there."
Away from the stage Vu hopes to see as many great acts as he can, though he admits it'll be tough to top last year's run in with celebrity cook and talk show host Rachael Ray at her almost impossible to get into private day party.
"You can't really plan stuff because there's so much going on, so we were just trying to get by on as many free shows as we could get into," he said. "Somehow we wind up at this party where Rachael Ray is making food for us and people like Johnny Depp."
© 2010 MLive.com. All rights reserved.
The Heavy Rotation Column that never happened...
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If you already know Tunde as the vocalist in local funk-rockers Taste This!, then you know what he's...If you already know Tunde as the vocalist in local funk-rockers Taste This!, then you know what he's capable of on one level: he's a powerful, soulful singer blessed with a crystal clear tone. On his debut solo album, he applies that voice, his groovetastic production skills, and his eclectic musical taste to a genuinely impressive album that basically works within the hip-hop/modern R&B pop framework while remaining innovative and weird enough to give Missy Elliott whiplash. What's the difference between our struggling young hero and some millionaire pop star? One big difference between somebody like Tunde and the endless parade of snooze-inducing MCs and singers on the charts is a genuine fearless vulnerability to his singing that reminds me of a young Prince. He also doesn't substitute three minutes of pseudo-gospeloid yodeling over a beat for actual songwriting, unlike a terrifyingly large percentage of today's R&B singers. Speaking of the beats, Mr. Olaniran did the majority of the tracks himself, and they're propulsive enough to get my tail wagging while keeping my jaded ears happy with brain-stretching euro-flavored sonics. The only complaint I can come up with is that the album is a little bit long...and that's really not much of a complaint at all, is it? Watch out for this guy. Seriously.
- (Rev.) DJ Michael A. (Michael A has been a DJ in downtown Flint for 21 years, is a veteran of both public and pirate radio, and continues to look for that Next Great Song.)
Tunde Olaniran – Brown Boy
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Flint’s own electronic soul phenom Tunde Olaniran is back with a track from his forthcoming EP The S...Flint’s own electronic soul phenom Tunde Olaniran is back with a track from his forthcoming EP The Second Transgression. This video is expertly directed by Oren Goldberg.
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THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION Sunday, October 22, 2006 By Chad Swiatecki Name: Tunde Olaniran...THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Sunday, October 22, 2006
By Chad Swiatecki
Name: Tunde Olaniran
Home Base: Flint
Sounds Like: Imagine Cody Chesnutt, Jack Johnson and OutKast's Andre 3000 on a world-spanning musical journey in Prince's little red Corvette. And the Neptunes are driving. If that sounds too scattershot, the Taste This! lead singer's ambition and emotion makes the eclectic blend work.
Ravi Revisited: The track "The Producers" is part of a small fraternity (if not the only member) of locally produced songs to feature sitars and Indian raga rhythms. The music forms the foundation of a soul/rap hybrid and draws on Olaniran's longtime love of Indian music.
"Sitars are one of my favorite instruments, and I'm always listening to classical Indian music, to the point that a friend had to tell me to cool it on playing it all the time. The first beats I ever made used sitar samples and I thought it would be good to use since Punjabi MC and Jay-Z did a song together and Truth Hurts had a song that used sitar samples, so it's been out in the mainstream somewhat."
Honest and Open: The songs on Olaniran's debut record are starkly personal and honest, whether they're autobiographical or directed at people in his life. That means there's no irony to an over-the-top song such as "Champion," where Olaniran's golden soprano soars and sings, "You're a champion!"
"My friends and I joke that 'Champion' will become some kind of motivational song for the Special Olympics because it's so out there, but that's the way I felt while writing it and I'm not afraid to express that. You might see me closing my eyes when I'm singing certain songs live, because I'm putting myself out there and up on stage there's nothing you can hide behind. Some are harder to do live than others but there's no song that I absolutely wouldn't sing on stage."
Splitting Time: Olaniran's solo work lets him explore ground outside the mostly funk/hip-hop rock of Taste This!, though the singer admits it's hard to balance the two projects. Still, the band remains a priority and he always looks for ways to integrate his band members in his other work.
"There are lulls with both, but I don't focus as much on the solo stuff as I do on the band, so when we got a bunch of shows in November it was no problem. The band supports me with things like (DJ) Jimi Hendricks spinning for shows and I want to get Paul (Woolcock) doing some guitar parts for me live. I love doing both because there's some songs I just can't do with the band, but at the same time you can't duplicate the live energy on a record."
Olaniran's new video shines spotlight on Capitol
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Flint musician Tunde Olaniran swears he didn’t plan on the next seven days being some of his busiest...Flint musician Tunde Olaniran swears he didn’t plan on the next seven days being some of his busiest ever.
First and probably biggest, there’s the release tomorrow of the video for his new single “Cobra,” which was shot entirely in Flint’s idled and historic Capitol Theatre building over two days this winter.
Saturday marks the launch of his new Web site, tundeolaniran.com, along with a performance by his band (one of two) Stereoluxxx at The Pike Room in Pontiac. And next week he gets on an airplane for his second trip to perform at the South By Southwest music conference, an annual confab in Austin, Texas that regularly produces some of the music industry’s biggest buzz bands.
Tired just from reading that? Try living in Olaniran’s shoes.
“Music is where every bit of my energy goes,” said the Flint resident and manager of educational outreach for Planned Parenthood of East Central Michigan. “It was something I had always enjoyed and devoted a lot of resources to, but doing some touring last year with (German techno/dance group) CLP made it even more so. A big part of it is being smart about the work that I’m doing and knowing what I want to work toward.”
That resolve is starting to pay off. “Cobra” will be distributed internationally by the Detroit/Michigan-centric label Exchange Bureau Music, also home to Flint native Eric “E.Spleece” Leiss, and its accompanying video is a vibrant but gritty visualization of the electro-rock/R&B song.
Olaniran said he decided to make a video for the song last summer after friends and fans reacted strongly to it.
“It was also because I wanted to figure out how to do (a video) and I figured it may as well be what I want it to be and look how I want,” he said. “It started with figuring out what I wanted it to look like. I knew I wanted it to involve my friends and have a feel that was gritty, like worn-down VHS tapes from the ’90s.”
While Olaniran, 27, and a cast of friends and fellow musicians are front and center in the clip, the most notable figure for the general public is the interior of Flint’s long-closed Capitol Theatre, which serves as the setting for the entire video.
The opportunity to shoot inside the Capitol came from a mutual friend of Olaniran and the building’s management, and the artist said he jumped at the chance to give people a look at the stage, side sets, lobby and more that haven’t seen public traffic in a generation.
“I like to have Flint involved in my music in whatever way I can, and I thought it would be a cool place to shoot once the opportunity came up,” he said. “They took us on a tour of the whole place so we saw the barber shop, the bowling alley, all the old dressing rooms ... I had no idea it was as expansive as it is.”
The two-day shoot was directed by Detroit-area artist, musician and videographer Natasha Beste, who praised the Capitol as a shooting location and Olaniran as an artist with a definite vision.
“Tunde knows what he wants when he starts but the great thing is he’s not closed off from other ideas as you go on and he respects what other people do and can add,” Beste said.
“When we had a location fall through in Detroit, he remembered he had a contact with the Capitol and that that might work, so we took a tour. Doing a lot of work in Detroit I’m kind of used to working with unused spaces, but (the Capitol) was a surprise because it had power and heat, it was still in good shape and it offered a lot of spaces to play with visually.”
Olaniran’s video comes out at an interesting time for the Capitol, which will need a multimillion-dollar renovation to be regularly used again. It made a brief cameo in Will Ferrell’s 2008 Flint-based comedy “Semi-Pro” (including an exterior facelift paid for by the film’s producers) and the building is the subject of low-level discussions to eventually house performance arts activities and classes for the University of Michigan-Flint.
Said Farrah, the Capitol’s general manager, complimented Olaniran’s work in the space and any positive buzz it could create for the building.
“We normally don’t let artists in there to use it, but he was very professional the entire time and we like to support artists who are trying very hard to succeed with their work,” Farrah said. “It’s good that it’s bringing memories of the Capitol back to the people of the area. While nothing is concrete right now, we’re discussing many long-term projects that we hope come to happen.”
Not one to hit the pause button, Olaniran has a full schedule for the spring and summer, including a new EP for his rock band Taste This!, several remixes and collaborations and more music for his next solo record.
But for a day or two, no one’s going to blame him for celebrating and appreciating the hard work that’s gotten him where he is.
“We had so much fun doing that shoot, with a bunch of friends who helped me out and worked until everyone was super tired,” he said. “This party is going to be a fun way to celebrate what we’ve done and it’s my way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone involved.”
Tunde Olaniran - "Cobra"
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Tunde Olaniran - "Cobra" By Miracle LeRoy, Milwaukee Hip-Hop Scene Examiner March 10th, 2011 8:5...
Tunde Olaniran - "Cobra"
By Miracle LeRoy, Milwaukee Hip-Hop Scene Examiner
March 10th, 2011 8:55 pm CT
Tunde Olaniran is an underground artist from Flint, MI. His music encompasses culture, consciousness, and rhythm. He has been influenced by everything from Urban music to Jazz and has been described by listeners as a pretty unique cat. This single is the foundation for his upcoming EP called Transgressor Part 1. The EP is part of a series scheduled to be released by Olaniran this year. The series will include five albums total and will be released via Detroit record label Exchange Bureau. Also, each EP will include a short Sci-Fi film. The first film will be entitled, The First Transgression. Sounds interesting, huh? Continue reading for the track review.
The production here is hot. It features: drums, a low bass, and an intense vibe to it. The hook is solid, the various forms of delivery are pretty slick. It has a strong R&B/Hip-Hop blend going on. The verses are on point. The blended effect continues to be present and the lyrics are well put together. Olaniran does a good job of painting the picture of how people must be both aggressive and passive to survive in life. The message he was trying to deliver with this track, turned out very well.The only complaint is that it gets a little hard to understand what he is saying sometimes. Dialing the production back a bit and Olaniran working on his pronunciation would fix the issue.
Overall though, this track is certainly worth checking out. It has great production, meaningful lyrics, and the potential to appeal to any music fan. That can't be said for many tracks these days. But as always, please listen and generate your own opinion. If readers like the track and want more, the video for this single can be seen here. And for more with Olaniran, readers can check him out on Twitter.
And for more Hip-Hop articles, check this out.
Tunde Olaniran's New Single: Cobra
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Tunde Olaniran's New Single: Cobra By Megan Winkler, Plano Indie Music Examiner March 9th, 2011 4:...Tunde Olaniran's New Single: Cobra
By Megan Winkler, Plano Indie Music Examiner
March 9th, 2011 4:20 pm CT
Catchy, rhythmic, addictive. These are adjectives that describe Tunde Olaniran's newest single: "Cobra." The single is part of the artist's five-part release of his anticipated album due out this summer.
"Cobra" is a curious mix of tribal beats, minor chords, rapped stanzas, and utterly lyrical vocals. It's unlike anything you've ever heard, and so catchy that you'll surprise yourself by humming the melody, long after you've listened to it. Tunde says that the single "represents me wanting to come from a peaceful perspective, but also knowing you often have to fight for what you want and what you believe in."
The son of a social-activist mother and a Nigerian Christian immigrant father, Tunde has lived in Germany, Nigeria, and England. Finally settling in Michigan, the artist grew up embracing culture and consciousness. Today, his experience and upbringing result in music like "Cobra."
This year, Tunde will be an official collaborator for The Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. The Conference, dedicated to advancing its "visions for a just and creative world," is an ideal venue for an artist who wishes to approach everything from a peaceful perspective. Tunde is not without a sense of realism, though. Artistic and musical, Tunde's lyrics can be called anything but naive.
What is so facinating and unique about the single is that it is layered with examples of duality. Lines such as "White flag in my left/Gun in my right hand," are the perfect metaphor for the two sides of oneself that everyone must present to the world. As if to further illustrate the two faces of life, the above line - which could just as easily be yelled at the listener - is crooned melodiously into the microphone in a swaying syncopated meter.
As Tunde conjures the cobra like a protective totem in his new single, the result is a powerful and soft, forceful and subtle musical mix you won't soon forget.
News and singles from Tunde are available via the artist's website.
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Tunde Olaniran By Nicole Breanne, Detroit Underground Music Examiner March 10th, 2011 11:49 am E...Tunde Olaniran
By Nicole Breanne, Detroit Underground Music Examiner
March 10th, 2011 11:49 am ET
There's a new sound coming out of Detroit, and it's described as an infusion of culture. Tunde Olaniran has been surrounded, inspired, and making music for years, but now comes his first full length album “Transgressor Part 1”. In a five part release Tunde Olaniran will showcase his urban, folk, jazz, and soul influences as well as his own unique brand of sound and lyrics.
Olaniran has just released the video for his first single “Cobra”, the song as Olaniran explains; “"Cobra is a song I wrote and produced about the necessary duality people use when we interact with the world. Hard/soft, aggressive/passive, lover/fighter.. we have to know when and how to switch between these two sides to survive. For example, the phrase “White Flag in my left/gun in my right hand” represents me wanting to come from a peaceful perspective, but also knowing you often have to fight for what you want and what you believe in. In the chorus, I’m asking the cobra to give me some of its strength and power, while knowing I “need to become both sides of one coin.”
I had a chance to speak with Tunde and find out a little bit more about this new and exciting up and comer.
NB: After living in Germany, Nigeria, and England, why did you settle in Flint, MI?
TO: I was actually born in Flint. My mother’s family is here and this is where my parents actually met when my father came here from Nigeria for college. So, when they split up, my mom moved us back here from Germany.
NB: You toured Europe with Switch, Ebony Bones, Diplo, XXXChange, and Jahcoozi, how did that opportunity come about?
TO:Back in the good old days of MySpace, I sent a random message to a group in Berlin (Chris De Luca Vs. Phon.o), suggesting we collaborate. I had no idea that they were both very successful and well-known electronic artists! They enjoyed a song my friend and I had posted about Taco Bell (I’m proud to say this song was recorded pre-Das Racist) and invited me to collaborate on their upcoming album. I ended up writing three tracks for their album Superconfidentialand touring Europe with them to promote it. We also played SXSW 2009 together.
NB:How did you get your start in music?
TO:I competed in Chicago Idol, and made it to the top 15, performing for a panel of judges including a freshly unwired Kanye West. This was in 2003, so I didn’t even know who he was, but he gave me props for opening the show. I performed in front of about a thousand people, and the feeling got me hooked.
NB: You're sound is very unique. How did you develop it?
TO: I’m really attracted to primal, percussive noises and interesting harmonies. In a lot of ways I’m still finding my sound, and I hope it keeps evolving.
NB: Who would you say are your biggest influences musically?
TO: Kraftwerk, Ebony Bones, Diplo, Robyn, Lauryn Hill, Fiona Apple, Santigold, M.I.A., Portishead
NB: You're currently on [the Detroit Label] Exchange Bureau (EXB) how did you get hooked up with them?
TO: They approached me in early 2010, right before I played SXSW. They wanted me to be on their sampler, but my sound was too rough and tumble for the mix of tracks on that CD. They invited me to play their DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival) showcase and heard more of my songs. From there, we started talking about me releasing a stand-alone project with them instead. Everyone I’ve met from or connected to EXB has been so chill, down to earth, and nice. Compared to other experiences I’ve had in Detroit, it’s a great overall vibe.
NB: How excited are you for the album release? What does it mean for you?
TO: I’m excited but also kind of weary. As an indie artist you don’t have a shiny corporate conveyor belt to grind you up and spit you out as a perfect product, so you kind of fumble around in the dark a bit and figure out your own path. It can take longer but I feel like for the first time, I have a collection of songs that are 100% incredible and I have the experience to guide them into tracks that people can listen and connect to.
NB: Cobra has a really deep meaning, is this what we can expect from most of the songs on Transgressor Part 1?
TO: Lyrically, Cobra has kind of a dense, mysterious quality. There will be songs that are straight up about relationships or having a good time, but even then I couldn’t write a song without some deeper meaning or a unique perspective. There are enough two-dimensional songs out there about “I like my bass down low,” and “give me another shot of patron,” and I love them! But, I think there’s room to do something different.
NB: Is music a catharsis for you? Or a podium for you to stand on to get your message out?
TO: The process of recording and the experience of performing are such a selfish endeavor, because I LOVE them both. Catharsis makes it sound like I’ll die if I don’t do it, and I wouldn’t. However, nothing makes me love life more than a bunch of sweaty people dancing to my music during a show. If I could do only that forever, I’d be completely happy.
NB: What is your message?
TO: More than any specific song, I think my message as an artist is: Black men can be more than one kind of person or one kind of artist. It’s not only wise, but critical that we transgress against convention and normality.
NB: What is it that makes you different, what should people know about you?
TO: You won’t hear anyone making the music that I make, the way I make it. I rest on some pretty unique intersections.
NB: What can we expect from you on this album? Why the five part release?
TO: With this project, people can expect a very progressive take on pop/dance music. It’s not a frantic dance party, but it keeps you moving. I tried to put together tracks that all take a mini-journey within their 3-5 minute universes. It’s synth-driven, with standout vocals and really interesting and compelling drums. Each of the five releases will feature at least one remix from a producer with his/her own unique spin on one track. As far as the five-parts, I just wanted to be released from the prison of mixing song after song, revision after revision. With this format, I can mix a few songs at a time and release them sooner than I would waiting for them all to be done at once. Plus, I can take my time and flesh out the electronic production with more live instruments as inspiration strikes. We’ll also be creating corresponding videos to accompany each release. It’s an experimental science-fiction narrative centered around the idea of a Transgressor.
NB: You featured people from your life in the video for Cobra, how important is your inner circle, has this success changed that for you? Have people come and gone? Are you more leery of new people coming in?
TO: I don’t think I have an inner circle (I probably need one, huh?) as much as a list of amazing people I’ve met and collaborated with in this crazy ride with music. I respect them all so much, and love that I can call them friends. I try to maintain relationships, so even if I haven’t seen someone in a year, I can pick up the phone and call them. Thank god for the internet, right? Maybe with more success I’ll become paranoid and bitter, so we should do a follow-up in a few years!
NB: Final thoughts?
TO: Support independent art. Pay for it. Show up for it. Tell your friends about it.
Gen Y Blues
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The First Transgression, which is the first EP from Flint, Michigan-based avant hip hop and R&B arti...The First Transgression, which is the first EP from Flint, Michigan-based avant hip hop and R&B artist Tunde Olaniran is up and on the Internet. It’s three self-produced songs including his previously released single “Cobra” and one remix of the same from Berlin-based DJ/Producer Chris De Luca.
“Cobra,” with its sing-song vocals about emotional turmoil and alienation is still the oddly catchy standout. The two new songs are definitely worth a listen though, especially the improbable electro-rock of “Tiger Balm.” On that one, electro synth and industrial beats mediate between rock riffs and Olaniran’s Siouxsie Sioux-does-R&B vocals.
This recording clarifies Olaniran’s style — dark and idiosyncratic electro with a hip hop sensibility. Even on these four tracks, a lot of ideas are jostling for space. You can expect to see them much more refined and developed whenever this kid comes out with an album.
Flint musician Tunde Olaniran creates a buzz with video, debut film
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Saturday is a convergence of sorts for Tunde Olaniran, as the Flint musician will celebrate the rele...Saturday is a convergence of sorts for Tunde Olaniran, as the Flint musician will celebrate the release of his latest music video while his debut film effort "Cobra," that prominently features Flint's Capitol Theater, is getting its widest audience do date.
That wide exposure comes via its posting on MTV.com, where it's available for free viewing to a worldwide audience and is steadily accumulating enough plays to earn it placement on the station's television stations such as mtvU and MTV Jams.
"There's no a magic number, but my publicist said based on experience if you can get 5,000 views its easier to ask them for placement and get a good response on their broadcast channels, and I've been getting lots of support from local people getting the word out to build more views," Olaniran said.
"I'll get people saying they've never seen the inside of the Capitol before and they heard about the video from people talking about that, and people at shows have talked about how much they like the video. I tell them it's been bubbling under, instead of the truth, that it's old as hell."
Filmed nearly two years ago and released last March, the video has helped Olaniran take his synth-heavy electro-R&B music to audiences in major cities like Vancouver, Austin, New York and metro Detroit, where he's becoming something of a club regular and opened up for pop singer Robyn earlier this year.
Both "Cobra" and the song "User Manual" appear on "The First Transgression," the first in a series of five EPs Olaniran plans to release in the coming years as he continues to evolve from an organic-sounding rock and R&B artist into one whose songs feature futuristic tones similar to Janelle Monae and Kanye West's "808 and Heartbreak" album.
"Now it's live synths with electric guitars, everything amped way up and I stripped away all the acoustic elements," he said. "Not to say there won't be sitars again like there were on (debut album) 'Infinite Modulation' but it's definitely very synth-driven now and feels like the sound is tightening up."
"User Manual" certainly shows that movement in style, a club-ready mediation on why people get trapped in unhealthy relationships and what effects staying in them cause to both people. The song's video, done by "Cobra"'s director Natasha Beste, uses ghostly imagery filmed in some wooded areas in Lake Orion to evoke those feelings of being trapped and tormented by bad partners.
"We had more of a concept with this one and it went really quickly because I knew what Tunde liked and didn't like, and and we didn't have a lot of locations and extras like we did in the 'Cobra' video," Beste, of Lake Orion, said. "He's such a great artist because he's not afraid to look kind of strange and he just does what he wants and will take things into the awkward. That's what makes you want more, because you can live through his being kind of a big weirdo."
It's that eccentric nature that has made Olaniran a local and regional favorite over coming up on a decade as a musician both solo and with larger groups.
As a combination video premier/Halloween bash, he said he wants Saturday's event at The Loft to feel like an all-night thank you to people who have supported him through the years as he
prepares for a new calendar year that will include an east coast tour, among other projects.
"There are so many local people who have been supportive, and this is my way of thanking them," he said. "To the people who have watched the video and told other people to spread the word, I want them to come out and make it a big sweaty dance party."
TuneCrush: Tunde Olaniran “Brown Boy”
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Tunde Olaniran’s musical persona has always seemed to have a punk attitude with sass, but this video...Tunde Olaniran’s musical persona has always seemed to have a punk attitude with sass, but this video is his best combination of it yet. The Flint, Michigan-raised Olaniran takes hip-hop experimentation and infuses a vocal hook that really sticks with you. While he is aware of the fear of the literal “brown boy”, he also uses the term as an archetype to represent the “others” in society who don’t easily blend in the majority. The choreography itself is fueled by this awareness. From his upcoming release, The Second Transgression, here’s Tunde Olaniran with “Brown Boy”.
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As we told you before, Tunde Olaniran is an up and coming artist from Flint that you really should n...As we told you before, Tunde Olaniran is an up and coming artist from Flint that you really should not miss when he has a show in town. His shows always have a little something special and you can't help but dance to his music, and this past Friday at PJ's Lager House was no exception. The crowd was definitely dancing and happy to have him here in Detroit again!
We finally got a chance to interview him the other night before his show.
We were also able to get a couple of his songs for you to check out just to prove that we're right!
So make sure to keep an eye on Tunde, as he said he will be back in town quite often in the near future!
Doin' it up at Dally!
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Another year at Dally in the Alley has come and gone. The festival was bumping loudly 'til after m...
Another year at Dally in the Alley has come and gone. The festival was bumping loudly 'til after midnight, and just like Cinderella, when the clock struck it was time for the fun to end and the people to clear out. Dally in the Alley features food, music, vendors and drinking, just like many of the other festivals that we have attended this summer. There were a couple of highlights that I wanted to share with you, along with some pictures of the night.
The highlights of the festival were Tunde and The Detroit Party Marching Band. Tunde played the main stage at 9:30 and as he performed the crowd got bigger and bigger and started dancing harder and harder. I literally kept hearing people say “who is this guy” and “this dude is amazing”. We have been trying to tell you guys all year that this import from Flint is not to be missed. He performed with two of his dancers and killed it. He was even begged by the crowd to do one more song at the end of his set. Check out our interview with Tunde at PJ's Lager House just a few months ago.
Head over to Tunde's bandcamp to purchase downloads off his first release, “The First Transgression”. You can also download his single "Brown Boy" for free off I AM PR Agency's Soundcloud.
The other highlight of the evening for me was when The Detroit Party Marching Band showed up marching through the streets and causing a dance riot wherever they went. I am obsessed with this marching band; they are fun and incredibly entertaining. Being a band nerd myself, I know what talent and physical toll that it takes to march around, entertaining crowds like that for hours. I started chasing them around the festival at the end of the night because I didn’t want the party to stop! Make sure to check them out when they show up at a local event by you.
Check out a few pictures that we got from the event and join us next year for the annual Dally in the Alley, always a great time.
Tunde has enough original material to fill 2 hours
Like a Virgin
R U that Somebody
Get Along with You
Heads Will Roll
When Doves Cry
|May 24, 2013 Friday||9:00 PM||Woodruff's Bar||Ypsilanti, MI, US|
|TUNDE OLANIRAN plays with PASSALACQUA, ALEXIS, and JAMES LINCK|
|May 25, 2013 Saturday||9:00 PM||North End Studios||Detroit, MI, US|