Introducing Willie XO: UK Afrobeats singer with a heart for people
There seems to be a new kid in the block. Jocey Joseph Ekwuazi, United Kingdom-based Nigerian Afrobeats singer/songwriter, is an artiste to watch.
The music act, who stages as Willie XO describes his unique genre of music as ‘Afrovibes,’ a combination of R&B with Afrobeats.
Born in London, Willie XO spent his early childhood in Nigeria where he discovered he had a keen interest in music. Drawing inspiration from musical influences like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, Willie carved out his own musical niche with ‘Afrovibes’, a modern convivial interpretation of Afrobeats.
His musical fusion evolved over time and he released his first single in 2017 titled ”Kraze”, which became an instant hit. Willie XO successively released the commercially successful track ‘Comfort You’ in 2018 – a collaboration with Tory Lanez, a Canadian singer and rapper and Popcaan, a Jamaican DJ and songwriter, which became a national anthem hitting over 27 million views on YouTube.
Willie XO became unstoppable and known as the subtle master of hits. In 2019, he pushed the envelope when he released ‘Early In The Morning’, featuring American singer/songwriter, Ashanti.
When he is not behind the microphone, Willie XO is busy with his charity organisation, which he set up with the purpose of helping young people start their own businesses, helping the less-privileged and aiding underserved communities in Nigeria. According to him, he made a pact with himself that whenever he made it, he would always help the less-privileged and give back to his community.
Currently signed to Atlantic Records UK, Willie XO is proving to be more than just another artiste. It is clear as day that the artiste, one who recognises that a new musical dawn is upon us, is positioning himself to be one of the outstanding talents shaping the new African sound.
Recently, Willie XO released the highly anticipated audio and visuals to his hot new single ‘Good Times’ featuring popular British rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer and actor, Dappy.
Listening to the new sound, it is easy to conclude that Willie XO is one to look out for when it comes to blending rich authentic African sounds with latest musical trends.
If you are a game buff, the latest visual will speak to you as ‘Good Times’ brims with the splendor and freestyle of a games’ arcade, playing on the idea of having the entire arcade to oneself for one night. Set in a place where time does not matter and rules do not apply, ‘Good Times’ is a feel-good song, and the colourful arcade world mixed with the seamless lyrical harmony between Willie XO and Dappy, provides the perfect setting for a mixture of harmless fun, some serious blackjack wins and a wild night of unlimited fun and games. Where Dappy’s ad-libs punctuated with phrases of pidgin English in between, warm the heart, Willie’s easy energy in delivering his lyrics boast of his evolution as an artiste who hints of never-ending creativity, making this explosive coming together of two music greats, each in their individual genre, a classic work of art.
Directed by the talented film director and photographer, Caroline Hajny and shot in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England, ‘Good Times’ is everything it’s supposed to be: fun, creative and easy on the eye. Styled by Christina Okpala, Willie XO’s charm is on a different level, captivating the audience with his swag and flow.
According to him, “We’d been in lockdown for a while and everyone was having a bad time. People were getting stressed out, desperately looking for an escape to get back out there, put this whole thing behind us, live life, and have a good time, so I made ‘Good Times’. When I was making the track, I had this feeling it would bang harder with a UK artiste on it, so I decided to go for one of UK’s best, and straight away I thought Dappy! He’s a great artiste and always delivers. He actually came up with the African words like Omoge and Efe-riro himself and I was shocked! I was like this dude knows… It felt proper organic.”