Nominated for a Mercury prize for his first record in 2011, Ghostpoet — also known as Obaro Ejimiwe — has returned to rotation with the release of his second album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’.
Just don’t ask him whether he views the oft-cited Roots Manuva as an influence. “I don’t really recognize that and he’s not an influence,” he says. “I don’t really think in terms of influences. Every person I’ve been compared to has made a career for themselves, I just want to do the same, really. Lyrically and musically I try to do my own thing. I listen to all types of music. It sinks into the membrane subconsciously. I’m trying to live life and everything that comes my way is an influence, that’s more of an influence than music.”
Using the everyday as a focus, from takeaway meals to unopened mail, the new album is rooted in Ghostpoet’s emotionally absorbing production and vocals. Underpinned by sparse beats and trip-hop inspired sounds, it would be nice to succinctly categorise the album’s direction, but Ejimiwe shrugs conformity for sonic ambiguity.
“I don’t think it’s hip hop, I don’t think its spoken word, it’s sound. I listen to so many different styles of music, I don’t care about genres. Genres don’t mean anything to me. The moment I decide I’m a part of a genre, I then limit my creativity, I can only create something in a particular box and a particular zone. That’s boring.”
While record labels may request the staple club banger, and success has subdued the integrity of many an artist, Ghostpoet holds no illusions regarding his relationship to the industry.
“I don’t feel pressure because I wouldn’t make music if I was told what I should make. I make what I want to make, however I want to make it, and that’s the only way I can do it. The Mercury prize helped me to create awareness in certain areas, and I’m forever grateful for that, but nothing’s changed.
“I don’t have aspirations to be rich, or try to live in a particular way. I just try to live like everyone else. I do music full time and that’s my dream, I guess. I don’t know. What is success?”
Ghostpoet plays the Brisbane Festival Spiegeltent on Sunday September 15.