Late Nights Early Mornings
Music is undoubtedly the universal language. It has the power to move us emotionally from sorrow to happiness, gratitude to empowerment and busyness to solitude. A musician whose repertoire moves us every time is Jazz Pianist, Niji Adeleye. After having previewed his latest record, Late Nights Early Mornings, we caught up with the man behind the keys ahead of his live launch..
As a Financial Economics and Econometrics graduate, Niji’s academic background held him in good steed, but music has always been his main investment. While working in the corporate world, the fire to create music continued burning and it wasn’t until he looked at his co-workers and thought “I don’t want to be like him in 2 years, her in 5 and him in 10” that he decided it was time to give music a solid shot. Niji expresses that after resigning, his biggest wake up call was relearning accountability, “I went from people saying these are the targets to this is what I want to achieve this year. I was responsible for getting stuff done”.
Making bold decisions often requires a great deal of faith, especially to leave stability and venture out into an arena where you create your own path. Niji’s faith is assured in his belief in God and although the walk can be challenging at times, he’s certain his purpose will be fulfilled, “I’m here for a reason, and God has shown me that. Whether I'm walking right or not, at the core base of everything I do, is that fact. My faith also informs how I interact with people. There’s a lot of sour people out here, but I just try to be a light and not a dark point in someone’s life.”
Making light out of a dark situation is key when on life’s rollercoaster. In 2015, Niji released his first album Better Days Ahead, which got into the hands of music royalty Quest Love and Roy Ayers. This body of work felt very optimistic and liberating with melodies such as Uplift, Saturday Morning and Strawberry Sunshine. His forthcoming album, Late Nights Early Mornings, alternatively evokes a sense of hibernation and hard grafting. After working tirelessly over a period of time, the inspiration for this album came from a near death experience, “3 days before my 24th birthday, I fell asleep at the wheel and had a car crash. I’d worked for 3 days on about 3 hours asleep a night and it all just caught up with me, and out of that came Late Nights Early Mornings. I was trying to prove to myself that I’d made the right decisions, so my body was being pushed to extreme limits. As well as that, Late Nights Early Mornings is something a lot of people can relate to; anyone that is trying to do something other than their 9-5 will incur that.”
Some people we’re sure can relate to this season are some of Niji’s favourite musicians. His archive includes greats such as Oscar Peterson, Stevie Wonder, Hiatus Kaiyote, John P Kee, Cory Henry, Michael Kiwanuka, and Hiromi Uehara who he passionately describes as “insanely good – nobody can play like her”.
Most creative individuals would agree that inspiration for their craft can come from the most abstract places, and often the process of creating doesn’t start in the most conventional places. Niji plays the piano at his church and often that’s where the process begins “I write a lot sitting in services. I’ll turn down my piano real low and I’ll just start messing around, record it on my iPhone, and then go to the studio”.
The sermons of life also provide a stimulus for creativity, and having experienced a relationship break up last year, Niji tells us “I was full of anger and emotion, and I just wrote a piece off the back of that. It’s called ‘One day I’ll soon be yours’ and the solo that made the record was the exact same solo I did the day after the break up; it was so raw and emotive, I didn’t need to do it again”. We can’t wait to here that song!
Being so full of emotion, good or bad, can also create a great space for reflection. One of Niji’s proudest reflective moments was to play at his hometown theatre, “I went back into my old school and did a workshop with some of the students, and then they came to play at my launch for Better Days Ahead. When you do something like that or exercise any nature of giving, what you do feels more sentimental - that’s where it’s at.”
In light of Niji giving back to the younger generation, we questioned what he wished he’d been told when he was their age. After a slight pause, he eases into telling us “I wish someone told me not to worry and just live. It’s so easy it get caught up, I nearly died doing that! I was so determined to get stuff done which is great, but a lot of it stemmed from the worry of not excelling. Where you’re at now is just a sum of all of the different choices, and opportunities you’ve taken, so just focus on the opportunities you have now, because they’ll shape the ones that are coming".
The Late Night Early Mornings Live Launch is happening THIS Friday 28th April at Oslo, Hackney. Tickets can be purchased here. For those who love good music, and a good time, you do not want to miss it!
Socialise with Niji too - Instagram: @NijiAdeleye | Twitter: @NijiAdeleye
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