It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a tough year for all of us. But for fans of Reekado Banks this autumn is bringing a silver lining, with the delayed release of his new EP, Off the Record, scheduled for later this month.
One of the five tracks featured dropped in September, Need More. And in less than one month it reached over 70,000 views on GRM Daily’s YouTube Channel, showing that listeners are hungry for more of his music.
Off the Record is Reekado’s first EP release since he exploded onto the International Afrobeats scene. His 2016 album Spotlight hit number 10 on Billboard’s World Album Chart, an incredible achievement for a debut release.
And that’s not the only achievement the singer-songwriter has garnered. He’s been recognised by the Headies as Rookie of the Year as well as winning Album of the Year in 2014 and 2016 respectively, and worked with Nigeria’s top artists including Tiwa Savage, WizKid, Ycee and Vanessa Mdee.
Since Spotlight, his second album (which will feature his 2019 hit single Rora) has been in the works. But, as he told GRM Daily, he wanted to release a prelude before it. And so Off The Record was born.
As an extended playlist, Off the Record is very distinct. All but one of the tracks is a feature, with Tiwa Savage, Harmonize, Mr Eazi, Kida Kudz and EO all contributing. But each song is also unique in its vibe. Need More in particular is influenced by Grime, unlike the others, giving listeners an eclectic mix of sounds and styles to enjoy.
And it looks like Reekado has more up his sleeve, hinting at more music videos in the works, new singles and even another EP before the release of his next album.
To celebrate the release of Off the Record, we spoke to Reekado Banks about his early career, working with Tiwa Savage and his dream tour destination.
Your latest single, Need More, has a distinctive grime influence – why did you decide to incorporate that sound?
So uhm.. I remember wanting to explore a different sound, something that’ll touch hip-hop or appeal to the UK fans. So I began working with Blaise (the producer of Need More), Attifaya (He co-wrote Need More) and we were just in a different mental space and we just wanted to make something different from everything Reekado Banks is popular for… and Need More became the result of that attempt.
What was the process like collaborating with Kida Kudz and EO on the track?
My A&R (MARV) suggested that I feature both of them considering I’m really close friends with them, and the common theme in my upcoming EP is love and positivity really… so it just makes sense to feature the guys that, you know… I have some love for them personally, and their craft. So when my A&R suggested I follow up, they both got back to me with their verses within 24 hours before you know, it’s already sounding like a banger.
Speaking of collaborations, you’ve worked with Tiwa Savage a lot throughout your career (including on your upcoming EP) – what do you enjoy most about collaborating with her?
Tiwa Savage is one of the people that I’ve worked with from the beginning of my career actually. From the first record I ever put out under a label, and till now we remain good friends. We respect each other, and we just try to play everytime we come together. I will never trade that for anything, and I will have it over and over again, if I can.
Your debut album Spotlight was a commercial and critical success. Did you imagine that it was going to be such a big hit when you released it?
It did top 10 on the Billboard chart, that was amazing. I didn’t really think I was going to pull that at the time, but that was amazing and right now my head is ahead, and you know… I’m just thinking about the future. I’m grateful for the success of Spotlight, but right now… I’m really just optimistic and forward-thinking.
Your older brother managed you at the start or your career. How do you think your career would have been different without his early support?
I really do not know how it would have been, but I know for sure he helped me go through a few hurdles I would have had to go through on my own, you know… or depend on somebody else for. I’m really grateful for that, and I’m super glad we were able to share 3 years of my professional career and you know… share ideas that brought me to this point that I am right now.
After your solo US tour last year, where would you like to perform next if you have the opportunity?
All around the world, sometime in life I’m hoping on touring down Asia, but before then I’ll like to go back to America. I’d like to tour the US again. I did that before, but I’ll like to do it bigger now. I will like to do America bigger, I will also like to do the UK bigger. I would like to Tour Africa too, I would love to do that.
Your EP, “Off The Record” drops on 23rd October. What is the inspiration behind it?
The theme as earlier said is Love, positivity and good vibes. So all of these tracks are about love and positivity, they preach love and they’re real. The EP is just straight forward.
What are your plans for next year?
uhm!.. Next year! I can’t wait to put my second album DADDY TO MANY out. That’s really something I’m excited about. I’ve been working on it for a few months now, and I can’t wait for the world to hear it by the time it’s out.
Off the Record is out 27th November.