Essentials: Veeiye Bares it all on 'Young & Reckless'
On her debut EP, the singer pens bold and unafraid lyrics that are sure to resonate with her audience.
In 1949, famous British novelist George Orwell’s ninth and final book, “Nineteen Eighty-four” was published. The rousing classic was set in a conceptualized dystopian society, where much of the world had fallen victim to a totalitarian government, denialism and unending surveillance. The novel’s concept is what would inspire the Dutch Media tycoon famously known as John de Mor Jr. to create the reality tv show Big Brother.
The show’s premise is slightly similar to that of Nineteen Eighty-four: housemates would be kept together in a specially constructed house, isolated from the outside world and constantly monitored by cameras and personal audio microphones. First broadcast in the Netherlands, Big Brother quickly became a worldwide sensation with 62 franchises scattered across the globe. The various contestants – especially those who reach the latter stage of the show – usually become famous, amassing a large and relentless following, which they mainly utilize to kickstart a venture or hoist a toiling career. This is how British-Nigerian singer Veeiye, a finalist in the fifth edition of Big Brother Naija, would also become famous, relaunching her music career. Before her time in the Big Brother house, the 24-year-old was slowly growing a fine catalogue of sleek records that merged the sensuality of R’n’b with the infectious rhythm of Afropop.
This exact fusion: carefully wrapping her sparkling vocals around syncopated Afrobeats-inspired rhythms is what she doubles down on Young & Reckless, her debut EP, which arrives more than a year after her time in the Big Brother house. While most ex-housemates (who also look to pursue a music career) would quickly release music, speedily looking to capitalize on their newfound fame, Vee has carefully taken her time, clearly honing her sound, which is apparent from the music that’s present on her EP. It’s purposeful and directional. “Show”, the lead single is built on a thumping kick-drum, sticky ad-libs, fitful glorious horns, and percussive drums that serve as a nice backdrop for Vee’s soothing vocals. She’s letting her feelings known to her love interest and she’s doing it effortlessly. On the slinky closer, “No Time”, she’s doing the same, but her flows are faster and more intricate this time. She also sounds bolder as she sings sensual lines like “Love the way you talk dirty to me” unabashedly.
Like most other contestants in the Big Brother house and even in the subsequent reunion, Vee revealed different sides to her persona while in the house. On several occasions, she was a sweet, adorable angel while she was also slightly pesky, stubborn, and unapologetic at other times. It’s this latter energy that she channels on the opener “Do It”. “Veeiye, I’m not one of them/Oh think you got the upper hand/I’m a beauty and a beast/So I hope you understand,” she sings calmly over moody synths. She doesn’t belt her threats; she sings them softly, exactly how a person who is truly capable of fucking you up would go about it. On “Enter your head”, she is joined by ex-housemate and fellow musician, Laycon as they both sing about the vulnerabilities and issues that fame presents. Both artists have been thrust into the limelight since their time on the reality tv show – their lives and every action constantly up for public scrutiny – and even though it can be argued that this is the life they probably envisaged for themselves, seeing that they made conscious decisions to sign up for a reality TV show, no one is truly ever prepared for the troubles that accompany fame.
While Vee finely threads the line between Afrobeats and R&B, it’s on the Ladipoe-assisted “Forbidden Fruit” where she ultimately gives in to her R&B senses that she shines the most. The track is a lustrous, seductive overture, with Vee’s swirly vocals floating over Loudaa’s slinky drums and synths. It’s a steamy, scintillating affair as Ladipoe also delivers a racy verse that adds to the track’s entire allure.
The most endearing quality of Young & Reckless is its deliberate and laser-focused nature. Vee is well aware of her strengths, and she plays into them. She’s not looking to make ultra-processed radio-friendly Afropop numbers which her huge fanbase could have hoisted to the top of the charts regardless of its quality. She’s very intentional, carefully crafting songs that hold a cohesive sonic appeal. Her writing is also pretty astute, penning bold and unafraid lyrics that’ll resonate with a lot of her listeners. In an industry that’s filled with acts who constantly churn out over-processed, run-of-the-mill records, Vee is forging her own unique sonic path, and it’s incredibly refreshing to see.