If you combine the smooth moodiness of Kelela, the soul of TLC, and the style of Aaliyah, you would get Ojerime.
The up-and-coming artist from Brockley, South London is of Jamaican and Nigerian descent. Citing Destiny’s Child, Brandy, SWV, Keith Sweat, and Blackstreet as inspirations, her sound could best be described as avant-garde R&B with dark and melancholic undertones. She’s been featured in The Guardian as a “musical poet of south London’s city streets offering a distinctly British take on quiet-storm soul and noir R&B.”
In her music, a key theme that Ojerime explores is depression. A sufferer of depression since secondary school herself, she’s previously said she found it overwhelming, but that thanks to reading self-help books and discovering spirituality through Buddhism and meditation, it’s more manageable.”However, she has also previously said that being in the music industry has increased her depression. On “Kids With Depression” she details this experience:
“I’ve been down and out/ So repressed / I’m so depressed / I’ve been downing wine / Drinking more to lower stress/ I can’t feel my head when the morning comes (can’t feel my head).”
Ojerime’s latest release, “Whiskey Demo” is about a familiar sentiment held by many women: men can’t act right. Ojerime’s solution? Focus on herself, make money, and travel. She floats on the hypnotizing and hazy beat:
“Dawning on me no man’s ever loved me like you did / Except you didn’t it was lust / Now I can’t trust / Should’ve fucked and ducked/ Now I’m filled with all this pent up resentment I can’t shake off.”
She doesn’t just relish in her sadness, there are bits of empowerment as well. The song is short, clocking in at 2:14, but Ojerime knows how to make every minute count.
On her upcoming mixtape, Before I Break Down [out 13 March], Ojerime also toys with themes ranging from sexuality to anxiety, drug use, and gender. Having suffered from a breakdown not too long ago, making the project has been a cathartic release for her.