"Harmonious Heritage: A Musical Journey Growing Up in South East London"

From Fela Kuti's genius compositions to the captivating artistry of Burna Boy, Wizkid, The Cavemen, and Yinka Ayefele, Ife musical journey is a tapestry woven with influences from various genres and cultures. Additionally, the unique mastery and authenticity of Kano, Little Simz, and Erykah Badu have deeply inspired my creative spirit. Embark on a captivating exploration as we delve into the depths of Ife diverse musical inspirations, where boundless creativity thrives and personal growth flourishes.​

Ife Ogunjobi

1. What drew you to the trumpet as your instrument of choice and when did you first start playing?

When I was around 10 years old. My mum brought me to a concert held at Southbank Centre. The event featured the incredible Hugh Masekela, a legendary musician proficient in both trumpet playing and singing. Witnessing this performance marked my initial encounter with the live rendition of the trumpet, and its vibrant energy left an indelible impression on me, surpassing any other musical instrument I had experienced before.

2. How did growing up in south east London influence you to partake in music?

Growing up in south east London, music was an inseparable aspect of my life. The vibrant presence of individuals from African and Caribbean backgrounds in south London constantly reinforced the notion that music held a significant place within our culture. Moreover, the existence of esteemed organisations such as Kinetika Bloco, Tomorrow's Warriors, and CYM, which dedicated themselves to fostering music education among young individuals, played a pivotal role in shaping my profoundly musical upbringing.

3. What was your first big break as a musician and how did it happen?

One my earliest professional gigs was playing for Moses Boyd. I started playing with him in 2018 and it started from us both attending Tomorrow’s Warriors - an organisation focused on the education of jazz music prioritising girls and people of colour. Although we never attended the organisation at the same time, when Moses was looking to expand his band he knew of me as I was one of the young guys coming up at the time.

4. Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations and how have they influenced you?

My musical inspirations span across multiple genres, and among them, Fela Kuti has been a significant influence since early on. Growing up, my dad would constantly listen to Fela Kuti, and now that I'm older, I can truly appreciate his genius compositions and captivating stage presence. In addition to Fela Kuti, there are several Nigerian artists who have also influenced me greatly, including Burna Boy, Wizkid, The Cavemen, and Yinka Ayefele. Their music resonates with me and contributes to my creative inspiration. Furthermore, I draw inspiration from artists like Kano, Little Simz, and Erykah Badu because they possess a unique quality that sets them apart, and I admire their ability to master their craft and express their individuality.

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing musicians today and how do you navigate it?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing musicians today is feeling like there isn’t room for you. With social media giving everyone a platform to showcase themselves, sometimes it’s heard to feel like there is room for you too. But whenever I feel like that it’s important to remember that their is only one you, and as long as you are being true to that and not trying to follow the crowd then there will always be space for you. ​

6. What has been your most memorable performance as a trumpet player and why?

One of the most unforgettable moments in my recent career was the opportunity to perform alongside Wizkid at Madison Square Garden last November. It was an incredible journey, starting from my early days of being a listener of Wizkid's music, then eventually touring with him, and culminating in the experience of playing at arguably the most renowned venue in the world.

7. How do you stay motivated to practice and improve your skills as a trumpet player?

Staying motived to practise is always tough but whenever I come across something musically that I can’t do or understand it always forces me to spend some time with myself and the instrument. There’s no faking it to yourself.​

8. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

The best advice that I could give is be true to yourself and don’t try and fake what someone else is doing. Your existence alone is authentic, use it! Everything from the music you listen to, to the food you like to the clothes you like are all unique to you. This is what comes out in your music and eventually this is why people will relate to you specifically.

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