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Fireboy DML: The Jewel of New School Afro-pop


It is pretty safe to say that 2019 belonged to Adedamola Adefolahan, popularly known as Fireboy DML. The YBNL Nation signee captured the hearts and attention of Nigerians with his hit single “Jealous”. Hardly a day goes by without hearing the song beaming from the barbershop’s speakers, radio & TV stations or bars. If that hit single was Fireboy’s breakout song, it also propelled him to be a force to be reckoned with in the present and also the future in the music industry.

2019 was an eventful year in the Nigerian music industry. Established stars in the mould of Whizkid, David and Burnaboy released hit jams and the likes of Teni, Naira Marley and Zlatan Ibile further cemented their names in the rankings of the top music artists in the country. Newbies like Rema, Joeboy, Oxlade and Lyta also had their breakouts to varying degrees. Making known that a change of guard might be around the corner.

Fireboy DML seems more at home amongst the latter category. What followed his breakout song – two other singles in “what if I say” and “King” made him more appealing to the general public. He gained nationwide prominence, topped charts and made appearances at different concerts. He also performed at the Starboy Fest in London.

It wasn’t over for the emerging act. On November 29 of the same year, he released his debut studio album titled Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps. LTG also features his first three released tracks. The project didn’t disappoint. Fireboy DML album has a mixture of Afro-pop with R&B combining the feelings and thrills of love with adulation and strain it comes along with. The solo album portrays Fireboy’s inch-perfect songwriting skills, soul ardent lines, and distinguish music talents. More than anything, the singer wants his listeners to immerse themself in the emotions behind each single every time they press play.

Fireboy style draws similarities to his YBNL labelmate Adekunle Gold.

LTG comprises of 13 tracks in total. The album received positive reviews from critics and amassed over 6 million streams on Spotify three days after its release.

Oluwatobi Ibironke of TooXclusive rated the album 9 stars out of 10, concluding its “happy party music is the laughter, the soulfulness of his (Fireboy DML’s) love lines causes the goosebumps, while the troubles of his heart evoke the tears”.

Motolani Alake of Pulse Nigeria awarded the album 7.5 stars out of 10, calling it “formidable” and commending Fireboy DML for “justifying his talent and burgeoning reputation with an anthem for love season”.

Numerous nominations nationwide followed Fireboy’s impressive works. “Jealous” won the “City People Music Award for Most Promising Act of the Year” at the 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards held in February.

Fireboy’s music style and sound comes with a different vibe from the traditional Nigerian pop style. His style is unparalleled.

“I felt like my music deserves to have an identity,” he explains. “Of course, I’m an Afrobeats/Afropop artist that focuses on the Afro-R&B side, but ‘Afro-life’ is my way of mentally stating that my music is different. You won’t find another artist that makes music the way I do.”

As a kid, he listened to Nigerian musicians and from the Westerners; Celine Dion, Elton John, Yinka Ayefele, and Tope Alabi. But He cites three musicians as huge influences of his artistry – Passenger, Jon Bellion and Wande Coal.
“My music revolves around that trio,” he said. “Every influence on my music is by those three people.”

Fireboy DML grew up in Abeokuta in the southeast Ogun State and was a member of his local church choir. Growing up, he would alternate between scribbling words down and writing poems with listening to music. It was until during his university days that he would take his music interests and gifts seriously.

In 2017 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English at Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun state. He moved to Lagos immediately after his studies to pursue a career in music. It wasn’t the smoothest of rides back then for upcoming artist. He squatted at a friend’s place, making music and had friends pay for him to perform at concerts.
“It was weird. I sat down and thought to myself that I needed a rebrand.” He conceded and made a change of strategy.

He moved in again this time with another friend who had musical equipment at his place. For ten months from between 2017 and 2018, he would stay concentrated writing and recording songs back to back. Some of the songs for people he sold to at his regret later on. He occasionally drops songs for his cult following fans – one song per week for a month and would disappear for the next month to keep recording.

It was late in 2018 he signed to YBNL, the imprint of popular Nigerian rapper Olamide, and contributed some tracks to a label compilation. “Jealous” was one of the songs he contributed. The positive reception of “Jealous” made sure his album was highly anticipated. The album featuring no guests artist exceeded expectations. Consider the fact that the artist was only finding his feet in the industry is more enthralling.

Fireboy DML has laid the groundwork, making fans gasping in awe for what is to come.
“I’m Still Writing the Best Album in the Country”. He confidently says.

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