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Photo: Hector Omooba

Uyemi Steps Into The Ring With Debut Video “Inside Of It All”

The R&B songwriter attempts to heal her inner turmoil through movement.

by Glenn Alderson

With the pace of the world today it’s often hard to find the right words to express true emotions, which is why it’s so refreshing to come across a musician like Uyemi who is attempting to heal through both music and movement.

The Calgary-based Nigerian-born songwriter is tackling the intense emotions of a toxic friendship with the release of her debut music video single, “Inside Of It All.” The track, which will be featured on her Butterfly Effect EP later this year, plays into her own chaos theory in a captivating way. Not one to shy away from vulnerability, Uyemi has her own predetermined set of emotions that she tackles with a mature sense of self and appreciation for the things that matter most in the world around her.

As a student of dance, movement has always been at the core of her existence. A true artist, Uyemi is a dreamer who is always creating and collaborating. We most recently heard her lending her vocals to fellow Calgarian A.Y.E.’s empowered rap single, “BLACK.” In the video for “Inside Of It All,” she works with director Rich-Belle Banasen to express what’s on the inside of a person dealing with loss and depression. Shot in black and white while utilizing the duality of split-screen editing, the woman in the video, played by Uyemi, goes through her daily routine unable to share her feelings, bottling her energy up until she’s ready to burst. 

There is a beautiful resolve at the end of it all in just hearing the songwriter work through her emotions with a calm demeanour. We reached out to the rising songwriter to find out what moves her, both as an artist and beyond the music she creates.  

What kind of music did you grow up listening to in your house? 

I listened to a lot of different genres in different times of my life. When I first came to Canada during the whole emo-scene phase, I listened to a lot of screamo music and rock. In a brighter time in my life, I moved on to indie music I would hear in all the films I would watch. Destiny’s Child, Pink, Rihanna, Ciara, Missy Elliot were also huge inspirations for me when it came to looking at the TV and wanting to be a part of it.

When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

I knew I wanted to be a musician when it was the only thing that gave me confidence and a place that felt like home to me more than anything else. This was in my first year of college.

What does an average day look like for you these days?

Average day looks like constant madness. Being a hungry artist who is addicted to being a hermit, but also working hard on her art. Every day is filled with daydreaming, praying, creating, and trying to create a healthy routine.

How much does movement play into your artistry? 

Movement is another form of expression. To involve it in the music is to express the emotion outwardly. It gives another perspective.

In the video you’re getting primed for a boxing match. What are some things in life that you feel like you need to fight for?

Good question! I need to fight for my life. I need to fight for my sanity against my overthinking thoughts. I need to fight for the belief that I deserve amazing things. I need to fight for a life full of balance and life. 

You’ve been making a mark on the music scene with some really strong guest features. What do you want people to know about you as you’re working towards the release of your debut EP?

I want people to know that I haven’t even started yet. There is so much more to be done. 

Songwriting is often a cathartic process. How much of your songwriting is an outlet for your personal emotions? 

I like the process of freestyling the most. It’s like pouring a whole film or wave of emotions in your subconscious mind into the air. It’s like a dance between your creativity and the music. It’s therapy and very addictive when you end up making cool shit from it. But yes, writing a good song that really expresses your inner world is a beautiful thing. It’s like creating your own little planet in sound waves.  

What are some things that currently excite you about your peers in the Calgary music community as things start to open up?

It’s a very cool space with a lot of growing talent, very creative musicians, young and old. Cartel Madras is a rap duo and they’re doing amazing things with their collective called Sansfuccs. I’m excited to see how far they can really take Calgary and continue to give artists voices through their various projects in the underground scene.