A delectable debut chronicling the push and pull qualities of love and life.
“I am not a kid anymore”, Zamorra sings on the first track of Storms and Rainbows, his debut EP. Although it sounds like your regular, run-of-the-mill lyric, it’s a statement that doubles as record-keeper and proof of intention. From his university days, his talent has been evident and fans have pegged him for great things. But life has a funny way of dealing the cards and his career has been stop-start for a while, never really taking off as he’d have hoped. Nevertheless, Zamorra, real name Oluwashina Akinkunmi has always bet on himself, putting in the work and bettering his craft as he weathered life’s storms.
The EP begins with “Aiku”, a manifesto of sorts. Featuring a children’s choir, the track is warm and reflective of life and its accompanying struggles. The chorus is full of gratitude to God for being his support through the difficulties; “If to say man be God o, we for dun lost o/Yawa for done gas, the movie for done pause o." Detailing his dreams to be successful, “Aiku” is a solid introduction to this body of work.
“Balance” continues the theme of introspection as he examines the difficulties of being a Nigerian, especially financially. Playing on the popular phrase “life no balance”, the track examines the bleakness of penury in Nigeria. With almost half its population living below the poverty line, Africa’s most populous nation is widely regarded as the poverty capital of the world. On “Balance”, Zamorra discusses the realities of the street. “GDP”, “GNI”, and “monetary policy” are fancy words that discuss economic growth and setbacks in a measured manner with colourful charts and graphs. But to many people living in hardship, these charts are meaningless, and the struggle to survive has pushed them into vices like gambling and stealing.
Philosophizing on social issues takes a break on “Like My Mother” and love takes center stage. The mid-tempo record sees Zamorra list qualities he expects in a partner. The song connects love to familiar, domestic, surroundings as the major criteria for this special woman is that she supports him and stands beside him, just like his mother.
Lead single “Now You’re Mine” is arguably the finest vocal performance on the project. A soulful rendition with heartwarming lyrics and bouncy percussion, “Now You’re Mine” is a love song in every sense of the world and wouldn’t be out of place in a wedding playlist. Dedicated to a special woman, Zamorra’s trademark husky voice waxes lyrical in appreciation of his love interest and the way she makes him feel: “No one can take your place...na your touch dey make my heart race…”
The track ends with his earnest hope to spend forever with this dream girl.
“And I’ll love you for eternity, and I hope that you will remember me
cos everything that I need, all of it I see in you...”
“All Men Are Scum” discusses toxic relationships from the view of women who have been dealt the shortest possible stick by men. “All men are scum” is a popular online phrase used to describe the ways men have treated women badly across all levels of society like relationships, workplaces and domestically. Zamorra is sympathetic to the struggles of the lady in question who faces verbal abuse and gaslighting from her partner. He ends the record with a straight, and possibly problematic warning: “if all men are scum, then pick the best possible scum.”
“Deserve Better” sees loverboy Zamorra rear his head again. On the slow R&B track, Zamorra explores the possibilities of an expected relationship with his lover. As the lush guitars produce beautiful melodies, he paints an equally pretty picture of a life spent in love, promising her forever. “You deserve better”, he tells her, and he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure it happens.
“Taboo” ironically discusses actions that are accepted and encouraged in society. The major theme of the track is using success to make his family comfortable and proud of him: "No be taboo If I change my papa life/ No be taboo if I buy my Benz for mama/ No be taboo if I live a better life…" On this song, which is the penultimate on the album, Zamorra’s storytelling comes to the fore, showcasing his strength as both singer and songwriter.
The project closes out with “Timeless”, an introspective song delivered in a smooth blend of Yoruba and Pidgin English. Like he started, Zamorra ends with a song detailing his commitment to music and his desire to create timeless music transcending demography or generational limitations. In a perfect summary of his life and all he’s been through, he firmly believes that everything for him will come to him at the perfect time.
All his life, from Ondo to Lagos, Zamorra has been itching for this moment. From his time at the Obafemi Awolowo University where he became friends with the likes of Fireboy DML, Blaqbonez and Cheque, he has endured the burden of comparison. The road to this point of his career has been full of false starts and pauses, but he’s here now. And after weathering treacherous storms, Zamorra’s ready for dazzling, colourful rainbows.
Stream Storms and Rainbows below.