Azekel (meaning “Praise the Lord”) was born in Abuja, Nigeria to Nigerian parents who relocated to London when Azekel was just 5 years old. The eldest of four boys, Azekel grew up entrenched in the Nigerian community of East London with Yoruba being spoken all around him. Nigeria was always a huge part of Azekel’s identity and upbringing with his parents constantly playing music from their homeland including Fela Kuti, Sunny Ade, and of course Afrobeats.
Azekel loved music from childhood and was initially inspired to perform by his mother buying him his first guitar and telling him that he could be the next Jimi Hendrix. Although rooted in his Nigerian heritage and culture which dominated life at home, Azekel was also a product of his environment and fast absorbed the sounds of his new streets and all the influences he was experiencing in East London’s melting pot…. from electronic and rock music through to hip hop, grime and bhangra. He developed a passion for soul and R&B whilst at the same time learning about Nigerian funk and psychedelic rock and was soon studying Music Production at Uni to develop his producer skillset.
His own releases quickly followed with Prince and Nile Rogers co– signing Azekel and propelling him into the spotlight. His unique vocal deliveries were adopted by artists such as Massive Attack and Gorillaz and he fast became one of the industry’s most exciting trailblazers.
Driven by emotion and introspection, Azekel’s music narrates his own personal experiences with love, loss, modern masculinity, fatherhood and the community around him. His most recent newly released mixtape, Analyze Love ( the first of a trilogy) was exec produced by Grammy winner Om’mas Keith and is distributed by Nigerian star Mr Eazi’s label EmPawa Africa. It features collabs including NAO, Ebo Taylor, Made Kuti, Kwesi Arthur, Kojey Radical, Ivy Sole and anaiis. Artistic oversight was from Ib Kamara, now newly appointed successor to Virgil Abloh at Off-White
“Analyze Love” challenges views on Black masculinity, shifting the narrative on Black British artists representing hyper masculinity and hyper aggression. Azekel says “Masculinity is being redefined now. I feel like there’s strength in expressing one’s emotions. There is definitely a time to be stoic but I recognise there’s also a time to be expressive and to be passionate. It’s a really good thing.”