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The Pick: Tay Iwar's "YOGA"

Our song of the week.

In recent times, there has been chatter about young and vibrant artists injecting a much-needed freshness into the Nigerian music space. Acts like Rema, Odunsi The Engine, The Cavemen, Cruel Santino, Fireboy are slowly stretching the sonic landscape of the country as they fuse and blend different genres together resulting in mostly crisp and rich music. One of the more reclusive acts also doing his bits in diversifying the music scene in Nigeria is the musical virtuoso, Tay Iwar. Following the release of his debut album, Gemini, and a collaborative project with producer Le Mav in 2019, the Abuja-born artist has reclined from the limelight. Asides from his scene-stealing feature on “True Love”, a fan favourite from Wizkid’s third studio album Made In Lagos, he has mostly remained incognito.

However, earlier in the month, he released “PEAKING”, his first single in over a year and then followed through a couple of weeks later with an extended play, Love & Isolation. The five-track EP features heartfelt and introspective cuts like “STONES”, “THINKING” and the earlier released “PEAKING”. “YOGA”, the opening track is however the standout as it perfectly captures the brand of soft, ethereal music Tay is currently making. On the piano-led record, he masterfully samples and interpolates lyrics from Jesse Jagz’s “The Window” while also incorporating ardent, relatable lyrics of his own. The opening lines: "Sometimes I wanna close my eyes when I wake up in the morning, just a little longer / Even when I know there’s so much to do, my dream fantasies keep pulling me back to the bed and under the sheets" are as genuine and relatable as they come.

“YOGA”’s major appeal, however, doesn’t come from its evocative lyrics or minimalistic production (which are excellent by the way); it comes in the second half of the record when Tay tags seasoned Nigerian-French singer Asa in to deliver a short and stellar performance. She croons effortlessly, perfectly complementing Tay both lyrically and vocally over the soft piano chords and his muffled background vocals giving the track a slight shoegaze feel.

While Tay might have taken a step back, reclining from the spotlight, he’s letting his dynamic, delicate take on R&B fused with several other genres take the center stage.

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