Ochukwu is the first single off Nigerian rock goddess Clay’s soon to be released new EP titled “Roads Less Travelled”. For an artist with a track record like hers, this single is met with a lot of anticipation and curiosity regarding the direction her craft is going to take moving forward.
The song begins with Clay singing “Ochukwu Merem Otua” once in a layered manner to create an echo effect followed closely by chimes. These ushers in the instrumentation as well as the first verse, which quickly leads to a mellow easy-listening chorus.
The second verse and chorus progress in a similar manner leading to a short hook spiced with a warm piano ballad and a sharp drum roll. Clay repeats the chorus twice and the song ends with a chant of “Ochukwu Merem Otua” and a piano ballad outro.
After Clay’s last single I must admit I was a bit sceptical about this one but interestingly, this song is surprisingly pleasant. There is something soothing about the chant Ochukwu Merem Otua – which literally means, “It’s God that made me this way” in Igbo (Nigerian Native Language), and after a couple of listens you might just find yourself singing along to it. I also must commend Clay’s consistency with the infusion of her native language in her songs, as it has slowly become a part of her brand as an artist.
However, there is a negative. It seems to me that Clay has hit a stride and has been able to create a formula that works for her voice and sound. This is a commendable feat, but the challenge is that with time, all her good songs have begun to sound monotonous. I’m not sure if this is her fault or the fault of her producer (and by that, I mean the songs sound similar) but I believe she needs to work on expanding her range when it comes to composition and style. It just feels like we keep getting different variations of the same sound from Clay and Coldflames. They are playing it safe.
Despite all of that, this is a decent song and I can’t wait to hear what she has in store for us on the EP. The music arrangement and the role this particular song has to play overall will be intriguing. Stay tuned!