It’s that time again, and our latest edition of the Captain’s Quarters brings us a man who found his musical home in Brighton by way of Lagos. Ladies and gents, this is GiwHa, a very talented musician whom you might have known as Musiq Man.
He’s since taken up a moniker meaning ‘leader,’ derived from his grandfather’s name (Giwa) and title, and is ready to show the world just how talented he is. With influences ranging from traditional Nigerian music to Western tunes, GiwHa produces a unique blend of compositions that are a real joy to listen to. If you’re keen on multi-talented musicians who play with great energy and passion then GiwHa is a must-listen.
Check out our interview with the man himself after the drop, where we learn more about his influences, how he fell in love with Brighton and his love for Anderson Paak!
You taught yourself how to play the keyboard, and your experience in the church choir is cited as a time when your passion for music grew “dramatically.” Why and how did this time in your life have such a large impact on your musical endeavors?
My family were really religious, so church has always been an important thing in our lives, I grew up going to church every Sunday always paying attention to what the choir section was doing, and later I decided to join the church choir as a keyboardist with my younger brother on the drums at the time. This was when I started realising my talent for music with the help of my choir master and cousin showing me few chords here and there, also teaching me how to analyse music parts with my ears. This is when I started understanding the basics of music composition and started experimenting with sounds on my cousin’s Yamaha keyboard and programming beats on it – this was a very revealing time for me.
Tell us about how some of your influences — the likes of Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu, Prince — shaped your sound and your idea of what music should feel like.
I think my Dad was responsible for my music exposure at an early age, his catalogue ranges from the likes of Michael Jackson, Billy Ocean, Prince (Western music) to the likes of your Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Shina Peters (traditional Nigerian artist). He was more of a music collector, he taped MTV music video for us on VHS which me and my siblings always looked forward to. I got exposed to the neo-soul and jazz genre a bit a later in life and I really fell in love with the sounds, especially the use of Rhodes on most of the records in this genre – this was after I took private classical piano lessons up to grade 5 at a church I attended at the the time.
I woke up one day, told myself that I was going to teach myself jazz, and because I could read music it was easy for me to pick up a good jazz piano voicing book. That was when I started coming up with my own chord progressions and using them in my recordings while building songs in developing my own sound.
Who are some of your favorite artists, both past and present, and which would you most like to jam with?
I love 2pac, Notorious B.I.G, Prince, Michael Jackson, J dilla, D’angelo, Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Bilal, Common, Yasiin Bey, Curtis Mayfield, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Afta-1, Iman Omari, Kendrick Lamar, J cole, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean and Anderson .Paak to mention a few. I’ll give anything to be in the same room with Anderson .Paak he’s my main man at the moment and has really made me believe that there is nothing wrong with showing different range and dynamic with music while keeping it coherent. I think me and Anderson .Paak will make a killer track if we ever end up working together.
Right on, hopefully that collab will happen! The UK has had such an incredible music scene for decades, and Brighton certainly has a rich musical history. What about Brighton, for you, makes it a creative hub?
Moving to Brighton for me I think was the best thing that ever happened to me. I recall finishing my A-Levels in Maths and Physics and decided to further my education by going to University, so I got an entry into University of Brighton to study electrical/electronic engineering through clearing as I didn’t get the grades to attend my first choice, which was University of Nottingham. Brighton being so artsy and very multicultural, exposed me to various type of people and music which, really opened up my mind and my creativity. I had the chance to play keyboards for a gigging band for the first time, it was a reggae band and it really helped me to understand the process of song writing and arrangements. Brighton will always be home for me no matter where I go.
What was it like working with Jon Hope, Pyinfamous, and Kahifa, and what were you all able to learn from each other during the process?
That was a very important moment in my journey, as at that time I just made the decision to create an album with some of the ideas/beats I already had. Through the help of a friend I was introduced to Jon Hope, Pyinfamous and Kahifa via the internet. We never really met face to face we just communicated via e-mail and created a track titled ‘Life,’ which I produced and sang the hook on. I’ve always had love for Hip-Hop and my dream was to always have MCs on my tracks, especially American MCs because I think my style of production suites them more compared to British MCs.
So, it felt like a perfect opportunity for me to showcase my beats and also build a good working relationship with artists of their calibre across the pond, as I was not really thinking of being a performer at the time, I was just more into making beats and learning the technical side of things like mixing, sound shaping etc. So, working with them did help in developing my knowledge on how to work with vocals and creating some sort of a finished product as far as music production is concerned
What’s your favorite festival to perform at, and what do you have in store for the upcoming year?
I would have to say Love Supreme festival. I’m always excited about this festival I dunno why there’s something about it. it’s my kind of music, it’s well organised and the line up is always outstanding. I’ve had the chance to play with my 8 piece hip-hop/soul/jazz band twice at the festival, I also plan to go back next year as GiwHa. I’m currently working on a live set with my band playing some songs I’ve written and produced for my upcoming album. I’m also planning to tour UK, Europe and the States next year, but all in good and right time. I’m just really focused on finishing the album and getting my band ready for now.
Tell us about meeting Robert Glasper, that must’ve been awesome!
Oh wow, that was an experience. It was at the Love Supreme Festival, he was just about to go on stage. I made my way to the back of the Big Top stage and there I saw Casey Benjamin tuning his Sax and I was really happy to see him, shook his hands and asked him where Robert Glasper was, so he pointed me to his direction and I felt like a kid that just walked into a candy shop for the first time. He was very chilled and relaxed we stood and had a conversation for about 45 min before I watched him play a killer set backstage with his band while Corey Henry (Snarky Puppy’s Keyboardist) was beside me as well, It was one of the best experiences of my life.
Who’s winning the Premier League this season?
Brighton of course loool. It’s funny because Arsenal is my team, but Brighton is my home, so I root for both of them. It was a lot easier when they were both in different leagues, but for now I’ll root for Brighton just because they are the underdogs.
What are you most likely to be doing when you’re not on tour or in the studio?
I’ll be catching up with friends, eating out at my favourite places, seeing some local house bands and promoting events.
Which countries would you like to tour the most?
I’ll like to to tour the States as I think most of my listeners are based there and I’ll also like to do an european tour, visit places like Berlin, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Barcelona etc. I’m still yet to do a tour, but that’s in the works for next year.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming untitled album and now it differs from The Journals and Lost in Beats, Vol. 1.
I’ve mostly worked on the music production side of things through out my career, and I think now is the time to deliver an album that tells tales about my journey and my life experiences. I’m writing lyrics and also writing the music to this new album, its going to be very personal to me with no features, but I’m working with other talented musicians on the music production side of it.
What kind of projects do you see yourself working on in the next few years, and what’s the most exciting thing going on for you right now?
I hope to see myself working with other talented musician I’ve been following for a while now, like Anderson .Paak, Jordan Rakei, J cole, Tom Misch to name a few. Currently the most exciting thing going on for me right now is my new band I’ve just formed, we’re already gigging the songs from the new album and I’m loving every moment of it, these guys are really talented and I’m honoured to have them play my music.
And there you have it! Great stuff there from our man, and a decent start to the Premier League season for his beloved Seagulls. His growing support and continued artistic growth are a testament to his great character, which shines brightly through his music whether he be producing or performing.