Interviews

Tar1q: The Afrobeats Messiah

Tar1q offers a symphony of auditory pleasure, establishing himself as the anointed royalty.

Tar1q Afrobeats Messiah
Tar1q [PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram/@tariqforkeeps]

Tar1q, pronounced TAH-reek and known by his real name, Tariq Oluokun, is swiftly making a name for himself in the music scene. He is proudly affiliated with Nu Trybe Records, a subsidiary label under the umbrella of Chocolate City Records. A closer look at Tar1q’s Spotify biography sheds light on the intangible qualities that have propelled this gifted artist to his current standing.

Patience, a commendable work ethic, and an ambitious pursuit of sonic perfection emerge as key elements in Tar1q’s artistic journey. These soft skills not only define his character but also contribute to the compelling narrative of his ascent in the music industry. As a fast-rising singer, Tar1q showcases a unique blend of talent and dedication, making his mark on the musical landscape.

In the linguistic tapestry surrounding the concept of the Messiah, various cultures have woven unique expressions to convey the essence of this awaited figure. In the Hebrew tradition, the Messiah is often denoted as “melekh mashiach” (מלך המשיח), where “melekh” signifies ‘the Anointed King.’ The Greek Septuagint, translating the Old Testament, consistently renders the Hebrew term “mašíaḥ” as “Khristós” (Χριστός).

The Arabic language contributes its interpretation with “al-Masīḥ” (المسيح), signifying ‘the anointed,’ ‘the traveler,’ or ‘one who cures by caressing.’ This term is embraced by both Arab Christians and Muslims. In contemporary Arabic, it serves as one of the multifaceted titles attributed to Jesus, acknowledged as Yasūʿ al-Masih (يسوع المسيح) among Arab Christians and Īsā al-Masīḥ (عيسى المسيح) within the Muslim tradition.

In the vibrant realm of Afrobeats, Tar1q emerges as the Afrobeats messiah, not merely crowned with exceptional talent but also moving dynamically, his vocals traversing the airwaves and delicately caressing the ears of all who encounter them. With each streaming moment, Tar1q offers a symphony of auditory pleasure, establishing himself as the anointed royalty.

In the musical landscape of 2022, Tar1q, a singer-songwriter, made his introduction after meticulously crafting his sound through underground work, gradually honing his craft under the guidance of recording executives at Nutrybe. His inaugural body of work, an extended play titled ‘Son of The Moon,’ marked the commencement of his artistic journey.

For ‘Son of The Moon,’ Tar1q collaborated with affiliated vocalists Blaqbonez and Ria Sean, adding layers of depth and richness to the EP. The project resonated well with audiences, attracting new listeners and serving as a proclamation of Tar1q’s musical prowess. Notably, the EP showcased Tar1q’s inclination towards aesthetic experimentation, exemplified by the creative stylization of song titles through unconventional letter structures.

[Fireboy DML] is intentional artist, and he is one of the few Nigerian singers whose creative process seems to come from a genuine place.

Tar1q, 2023.

Building on the success of his debut, Tar1q unveiled his latest and sophomore project, a soulful Extended Play titled ‘All I Felt.’ The four-track record signifies an evolution in his artistry, as reflected in the profound messages conveyed through his lyrical dexterity.

In an exclusive interview, Tar1q delves into the artistic concepts behind ‘All I Felt,’ shedding light on the influences that shaped his musical journey and offering insights into his creative process. This conversation provides a glimpse into the mind of the emerging artist, exploring the depths of his musical expressions and the stories woven into each track of his latest EP.

Tar1q The Songwriter

As a young Nigerian boy who enjoyed solitude and daydreaming, music was one of Tar1q’s ways of escaping into his four-walled imaginative island. It was often in this fantasy land that he picked up the knack for songwriting, a trait he considers his strongest. Tar1q formed the habit of rewriting some of the popular songs that ruled the airplay at the time. He would hear a song and instantly work on a Tar1q version of the song. This was how he began forging his skills as a songwriter.

I fell in love with songwriting in secondary school. It was something that I did to pass the time.

Tar1q, 2023.

Tar1q did this so frequently that he garnered enough confidence to pen original songs. Writing songs became Tar1q’s coping mechanism, and he diligently worked towards perfecting this craft. Tar1q got so enthralled in the process that he would write about almost any experience or emotion that he felt. If he was having a bad day, he would write a song about it. If he felt antagonised, he would write a song about it. If he felt blissful, he would write about it, and so on. “For as long as I can remember, I fell in love with songwriting in secondary school. It was something that I did to pass the time. I am a person who likes his own company, so it was an easy route for me, plus I also wrote poems, which ultimately helped me become a better storyteller. Then afterwards, I graduated into performing at music competitions and all that.”

As a music artist who takes pride in writing his songs, Tar1q shares an indifferent stance about singers who employ the services of songwriters or ghostwriters in their creative process. When asked if the usage of ghostwriters or songwriters by musical acts diminished the artistic essence of a song, the singer simply opted to incline that to each man his own.

Sonic Influences

In a tweet by the singer, he implied that he didn’t have a lot of friends before going on to say that it was his fault. When asked to elaborate on what he had meant by the post, he said he wasn’t trying to come off as introverted or antisocial but rather was trying to say that he had a tight circle of like-minded people and that was enough for him. He further said he understood if the tweet was taken out of context; however, his intentions were as benign and non-anti-social as possible. 

Tariq’s biggest music influences are artists who the singer says have impacted his songwriting over the years and he name-drops some of the biggest stars, from Post Malone to Frank Ocean to The Weekend. “I love Frank Ocean, I think he is one of the greatest musical minds of this and any generation, frankly.  Post Malone and The Weekend are also singers that I have spent time listening to. From Nigeria, I will say some of my major influences are Burna Boy and Fire Boy DML. I still remember the first time I heard a DML record, I knew immediately that he was an intentional artist and he is one of the few Nigerian singers whose creative process seems to come from a genuine place.”

All I Felt

Getting signed to a record label is a typical budding artist’s dream. For Tar1q, this dream came true when he least planned for it. While performing at an intimate bar in Lagos, the youngster caught the attention of a Nutrybe executive who had been there for relaxation purposes, and this led to his being signed onto the label. One of the most notable highlights Tar1q has had so far since joining the label was a semi-viral clip that saw a link-up between Tar1q and popular South African rapper Nasty C in November. The singer says the link-up felt full circle considering how much he loved the rapper’s music, and the moment became even more surreal when he remarkably delivered a rap verse taken from the rapper’s song.

All I Felt is a short compilation of emotions that I had dealt with in the past months.

Tar1q, 2023.

The Afro-soul singer crystal balls his art, evolving grandly in the future. Someday, Tar1q hopes to explore deeper themes than he does already and ultimately transcend from being a singer-songwriter into a holistic artisan who provides wholesome experiences. 

The singer has yet to attain his set goal; however, his works showcase a very promising future. Such is seen in the impeccable delivery in his sophomore four-track EP, ‘All I Felt’. All I Felt weighs in on the dynamics of Tariq’s emotions as the singer explores grief, love, and heartbreak in her body of work. 

His conceptual mind frame for the E.P. was artistic sincerity. According to Tar1q, that is the oresonatermula to resonate with a discerning audience.

“I tried to be as honest and vulnerable as I could be on the album. I don’t wanna make something that I or others can’t relate to. All I Felt is a short compilation of emotions that I had dealt with in the past months and I am proud of the work, especially because I was actively involved in the creative process”.

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