Before the pandemic, Zweii had been expanding his musical horizons through travel Rezoona Gipani

The artist’s debut album is forthcoming

by Isaac Adeoluwa Atayero, Contributor

Music-making is a journey of evolution.

The best musicians know you are supposed to grow, learn and relearn until you arrive at the “perfect sound.” One of those musicians is the third-year University of Regina student of Economics, Oghenetega Egona. Known by his stage name Zweii, his journey with music-making dates back to when he was 10 and would “listen and take in various genres, which inspired me to begin songwriting.”

For young Zweii growing up in Nigeria, it was the melodies and words of artists like Asa, Elton John, Yanni and Wizkid that showed him the possibilities of a new world that he could conquer. The necessary ingredients were brewing in the stew but it would take years for Zweii to finally step out on his own and officially release his debut single, “Hasanna.”

“Hasanna,” Zweii’s slick Afro-fusion inspired love letter, was made available on all streaming platforms on July 10 and has already amassed more than one thousand streams on Spotify. This is worthy to mention granted the fact that it took Zweii so long to step out on his own because he was insecure about what the reception of the sound would be.

“I always doubted myself and I’ve been my most vicious critic from time,” he said. “’Hasanna’ was also not fully formed until this year when I went through a breakup but met someone special in the midst of it.”

While “Hasanna” was Zweii’s first official solo effort, he has been a presence on the music of other artists for many years, especially in recent history. Whether it is the multiple features on Oboise’s projects or collaborations with Pacifique, TOVA, Rooky, KEAD and D4wn, Zweii is able to bring a new level of dynamism to all his guest spots with a signature suave and flow.

Being a part of an active music community has enabled Zweii to increase his portfolio of music-making abilities. Whether it is beat-making or vocal production, Zweii has made himself an indispensable persona both inside and outside the studio for his peers. Zweii credits this increase in music knowledge partially to his many frequent trips across the country to meet different musicians and experiment with new soundscapes.

“I have travelled to Saskatoon, Edmonton and Ottawa to catch new vibes, gain new experiences and work on demos for future releases,” he said. “I am a firm believer in the truth that no knowledge is wasted and that the best way to truly stand out is to keep fortifying yourself with as many skills as possible.”

An integral part of Zweii’s music community would definitely be the FXRGN collective. The FXRGN group consists of Zweii, virtuoso singer/songwriters Drino, Uadamen, Wole, and maven producer, Eman. The collective has worked together on a handful of songs for not just themselves, but also for other artists. The group began as a handful of friends who enjoyed making music together and were individually looking for like minds to grow with and learn from.

“We were all students at the University of Saskatchewan and were always up to shenanigans. The group started with four of us singers writing songs while Eman would make the beats,” he said. “It all happened organically after I introduced Eman to beat making software. He took the craft seriously from there and has come so far ever since. The group truly came to form as a result of everyone freestyling on his beats.” 

After spending so many years creating and collaborating, the ace musician is hoping that the quality of music in his debut album will showcase true mastery.

Zweii exclusively disclosed details of his upcoming debut album, Yang, for the first time.

Yang has been in the works for four years. It is a documentation of my spiritual and mental journey so far”, Zweii said. “I hope that people who take time to listen will be inspired to make sense of life and find their own inner light and talents, as well as follow their dreams.”

He also promised that Yang will feature an eclectic mix of genres and sonic combinations. “I do not conform to a genre and you will see in my future releases, especially in my debut album, that my sound palette is really wide”, he said. “I cannot describe or define the sound so I don’t even try.”

Another facet of his music that he does not try to put a label on is his incorporation of the Nigerian sound into his music.

“My Nigerian identity is something I am learning to experience and express through my Afro-fusion sound which I have been experimenting with lately” he shared. “That is one part of my musical journey I am definitely excited about because I strive to ensure that my music is as authentic to who I am as possible.”

An essential part of remaining authentic for Zweii has also been not hopping on trends or hot topics because everyone else is doing so. Whether it is the new wave of public discourse issues or social justice movements, Zweii has chosen to speak only when he has something genuine to contribute to the conversation or has enough information to share his perspective on. “I do my best to keep my music as real as possible so I would not speak on something I’m uninformed about,” he said.

A frequent collaborator, Eman, said Zweii’s creativity and attention to detail is an inspiration to fellow music-markers.

“He’s one of the most versatile artists I’ve ever worked with, knows how to envision a song from even the production details to bodying the song, whether he’s rapping or singing [he] always knows how to fit the vibe of the track and kill it,” said Eman. “Also, not many people know, but if not for Zweii I wouldn’t be producing today.”

Zweii’s next release is a song with FXRGN member, Wole, called “Don’t Mind” and it is a release that both his fans and colleagues are eagerly anticipating. Fellow student artist and frequent collaborator, TOVA, is especially excited to hear Zweii’s new music, as well as share some of his own new music which was coproduced with Zweii.

“Zweii is a genius. He dedicates a lot of time and effort towards perfecting his craft and he is one of the brightest people I’ve had the privilege to work with”, TOVA said. “His versatility makes him a very crucial member of any team and project that he’s working on. I especially enjoy working with him because he always has his eye on what the next big sound is.”

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