A tale of perseverance: Walking down Loshh’s lane
In many stories, there’s a mother who’s the unsung hero of it all. In Loshh’s case, it’s no different. Explaining that although he didn’t realise it as a child, he appreciates the music he once begged for his mum to turn off – his current mission is to update that sound. “Growing up I didn’t think I liked it [Pasuma and Wande Coal], I’d always tell my mum to change it,” says Loshh. “The only challenge for me as an artist is making it modern in today’s society.”
Loshh is doing a great job repurposing music reminiscent of his childhood. Speaking to a diaspora that has reached every corner of the earth, there’s no reason why his music cannot do the same.
On Loshh’s voyage of life that starts in the Netherlands and goes through Dublin and Birmingham, we meet him in the south London studio where he records most of his music, not too far from where he currently resides.
It’s clear why Loshh is so comfortable in this environment, the crackling of the needle onto old school vinyl tracks is the orchestration for the day. Surrounded by a plethora of instruments, it’s easy to see where the enigma gets his inspiration. Whilst music has been a major part of his whole life, “I played instruments at church, so I still play the drums and guitar,” he explains, it’s not until 2020 he released his first single. Now a fully fledged musician, he still looks to extend his abilities as an instrumentalist: “I want to learn how to play the talking drum,” Loshh says.
Even before his days spent on the drums and the guitar, Loshh cites his Mum for really facilitating his interest in music, allowing his mind to be open before making music was even a thought in his head: “Because I was the first born, my mum used to take me everywhere. She showed me all of the music. Prince, Snoop Dogg, Michael Jackson, Yinka Ayefele.” It’s that breadth of artistry that has allowed Loshh to find his own sound: albeit outside the mainstream, it’s distinctive, catchy and includes many influences from close and afar.
Releasing a body of work after only two single releases is a testament to Loshh’s dedication to ripping up the rulebook. “It was just God. I can’t explain it, I really can’t,” Loshh reveals on creating his debut EP. Whilst the experience of creating the work was spiritual, it’s an experience Loshh is aware he needed to help him through a turbulent time on his journey: “There was so much going on in my life as well that was hectic. And then I just got introduced to Santiago [Loshh’s producer] and then from there everything just happened.”
Entitling the project ‘Ífaradá’, which is Yoruba for ‘perseverance’, it speaks to the faith Loshh continued to keep, even through hard times. Deeming lockdown as a “strange blessing” for him, the project is a testimony to mixed feelings, “getting into trouble,” but most important of all, tenacity. “I was sofa surfing before. So during Covid and the pandemic, I just got my place and wasn’t sofa surfing anymore.” When hearing this story, ‘Ífaradá’ requires no explanation, simply serving as a living and breathing example of where perseverance can take you.
Loshh is unapologetic when he laments that his sound is the “future,” alluding to his ability to combine so many elements that manage to possess a certain familiarity. “ It is music of the world, not world music,” he adds. As a Nigerian, I can constantly hear the Fuji influences, a reminder that all my time being forced to hall parties with my family was worth it in the end, and not just for the jollof.
With his music existing quite far removed from the mainstream, Loshh chuckles about the duality of the situations that places him in, realising “Sometimes people take me in because it’s so different, so strange. But I also feel it’s the complete opposite as well.” Focusing purely on making the music he wants to, he’s not fussed about being part of the crowd, and he strongly believes it’s just a matter of time before his sound is increasingly understood. Realising the scene he’s physically most close to, there’s no hard feelings on his side, explaining “There’s something about the UK, it takes them a while to understand something that’s so outside or different from what’s happening in their sphere.” But Loshh also celebrates the fact that it’s allowed him to have a global audience, as his “music of the world” deserves: “The States and Japan, also the Netherlands,” are three nations he quotes that warm to his sound more readily than it’s been on home soil.
“It just takes them [people] a while to understand. That’s just it really, it just takes time,” says Loshh, speaking on potential growth. With a few festivals and shows lined up for the rest of 2022, it seems that time may just become Loshh’s best friend, taking him to new crowds and new heights in this still elementary part of his career.
Interestingly, music isn’t the only art form he explores. Freshly braided hair, two hoops in one ear, two studs in the other are a staple of Loshh’s aesthetic. An unforgettable smile characterised by a gold cap sitting on one of his canines, blackout nails and an infectious energy reintroduce Loshh, who I met many years ago in Shoreditch, and warmed to his eccentricity right away. With a conscious effort behind his aesthetic, he explains how he views himself as “A black man who doesn’t conform,” rebellion being a red thread that pieces Loshh’s journey together.
Describing his body as a “museum”, he dresses it intentionally, citing Liam Hodges and MAXIMILIAN as two of his favourite designers. Running beyond the music, his nonconformity is visualised through multiple tattoos on his skin: “I’d get more but you know African parents,” he laughs. “I have a tattoo that represents one of the seven characters of myself, not seven different personalities per se, but seven different vibes and expressions I like to show” speaking on a doodled tattoo on the right side of his stomach. Tatted in the middle of his chest is a word that’s accumulated in meaning since it’s permanence onto his body. “It’s strange, I got Ífaradá tattooed on me before I even thought of having it as the title of my EP.” And with plans of a new EP drop in summer 2022, perhaps we’ll find that the title is another word somewhere already living on Loshh’s skin.
Beneath the garments he uses to express himself, are tattoos that tell stories of different parts of Loshh. As he skates off into the distance, shades on, looking cool as always, it’s so hard to not want anything but success to be written into Loshh’s story. As someone who’s constantly been on the move but has seemed to have found home south of the Thames, perhaps this is the balance needed to bring turbulent times to an equilibrium.
Editor – @elliefmuir
Photography – @rhysbawilliams
Photography Assistant – @al.vstz
Words – @igweldn
Styling – @rachel.parisa
Design – @jack___sharples
Production – @pifivy