Tuesday, 13 January 2015

This Is New Africa: Fuse ODG unveils mission to change the world's perception of his motherland through music

He burst onto the scene back in 2013 with the infectious song Atenna which helped launch afrobeats in the UK chart. But keen to prove he wasn't a one hit wonder, Fuse ODG unleashed the monster of a track Azonto which went onto to become a massive dance craze. 

Now with the release of his debut album, TINA, the 26-year-old rapper is hoping his music will change the world's perception of Africa. Speaking to Empty Ice Cream Tub about the release, which is an acronym for This Is New Africa, Fuse revealed that the journey to the creating the LP was a life changing experience.

Letter To TINA

The MOBO Award winner said of his choice to become an afrobeats artist: 'It was a conscious decision to reconnect with my African roots and African music so I could bring it to people outside of Africa in an authentic way.

'I took that decision in 2011 when I went to Ghana and I was learning about the culture again and learning about the music.'

Continuing he added: 'But I realised that it actually became bigger than what I was going to do when I started to share my story of Africa as it started to inspire other people and that's actually how TINA came to me.

'I realised that there has to be something that encapsulates what Africa is now and not the old Africa that they keep showing, and that is how This Is New Africa came fruition.'

Born in London but raised in Ghana, Fuse ODG, real name Nana Richard Abiona, came to capital at the age of 11 to begin his secondary education an experience which he admits was difficult and scarred his perception of his African heritage. However it was an eye-opening trip back to his motherland three years ago which set his music career in motion and his need to showcase his view of the continent.


Alongside the likes of D'Banj, Wizkid, Ice Prince, Sarkodie, P Squared and Davido, to name a few, Abiona has played a crucial role in helping afrobeats into the mainstream. Explaining how it feels to be a part of the movement which is changing the clubbing scene, the rapper asserted: 'Right now being African is so cool and it's because all these platforms are playing our music.

'Trust me when I was growing up if afrobeats was as big as it is now my school life would have been so much easier. Growing up in the UK would have been so much easier, I would have felt more proud to be African.'

He added: 'When I go to clubs and I hear African music being played like as part of the main playlist to me it just means that we're moving forward as a continent, we're moving forward as Africans and it's not just the negative impression that they used to have, we've given them other stuff to talk about.'

With four top ten singles under his belt, Fuse's debut body of work TINA was released to rave reviews and features collaborations with Wyclef Jean, Sean Paul, Angel, Krept & Konan and G FrSH. Describing the LP in his own words, the Antenna hitmaker said the album is made up of 'feel good songs' embedded with messages. 

Fuse added: 'It's an album that showcases my experiences of Africa just packaged in a form of music.'

Come Closer

Monday, 5 January 2015

Three Things Beyoncé Taught Us In 2014

Following the spontaneous release of her fifth solo album in 2013, Beyoncé Knowles was destined to have an epic 2014. No doubt her most explosive year yet, EmptyIceCreamTub looks back at what Queen Bey has taught us over the last 12 months...

1. How To Throw A Party
Ringing in the new year with an uber stylish bang, the Carter-Knowles clan threw a New Years Eve party to shut down all others. Hiring the Versace mansion, the dance floor at the soirée was filled with some of the world’s hottest supermodels, musicians and fashion designers. Beyoncé and husband Jay Z then made a sleek exit from their bash on a scooter where they headed to P Diddy’s extravaganza.

2. Composure
In May sensational footage surfaced which saw Solange Knowles launch a vicious attack on her brother-in-law Jay Z as they departed a Met Gala afterparty via a lift. Standing in the middle of the fight, the 33-year-old kept her cool and did nothing as her younger sister turned violent. Upholding her royal standards, Queen Bey merely pulled her dress aside while her bouncer played the role of Olivia Pope. Months after the ordeal Beyoncé addressed the fight in the remix of her single Flawless, where she asserted: ‘Of course sometimes s**t go down, when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator!’

3. Dancing In A T-shirt & Knickers Is Cool
Rounding up the year on a high, Beyoncé proved she wasn’t done yet with the release of 7/11, which made dancing in knickers and oversized jumpers and T-shirts officially cool. Not only that but the visuals also taught us that hotels make for great music videos and we never ever have to worry about tidying our rooms again but most importantly to never drop that alcohol!

*Bonus* Fringes Don't Always Work
Even as the Queen the crown may sometimes slip and one may fall short of perfection. This was certainly the case in October when Beyoncé touched down in London for Frieze Week. Accompanied by hubby Jay Z and their daughter Blu Ivy, there was a collective sigh from hairstylists throughout the globe as the Flawless singer showed off her new barnet. A couple inches too short and in serious need of John Frieda's Frizz Control, Beyoncé's bangs sent the Twittersphere into frenzy as fans and critics alike tried to get their heads around the short fringe. But regaining control it didn't take long for Beyoncé to realise her hair no-no and she quickly returned to her sleek long locks.