At 17 years old, most of us were day-dreaming about our crushes, hopelessly scrolling through social media fantasizing about the glorious day when we don't live with our parents. Unless you're Obai, one of Gen-Z's hottest rising stars who just seems to understand the industry so early into his career.
His music has a hint of nostalgia- a sprinkle of 90's R&B, a dash of passionate soul, and a whole lot of catchy pop lyrics lie within his songs, where he croons about growing up and relationships. He's one-of-a-kind in the sense that he has his sound developed and his music refined at such a young age. Music is a gift, which is why Obai is receiving his flowers and garnering a dedicated fanbase.
It started when he was just 12, posting covers anonymously on an Instagram account. Growing up listening to late 90's and early 2000's R&B greats like Nelly, Ne-Yo, and Alicia Keys, Obai was influenced by some of the best...and it shows in his music today, which immediately sent me back in time.
In his newest project, his album called svnteen, he's found his stride. Leading singles like "girls like you" showcase his vocal range, which is silky smooth and earworms its way into your brain. "girls like you" is the the epitome of Obai- blending pop and R&B, lighthearted and reminiscent of all the Neo-soul icons we love. He warns the listener, "I fall for girls like you..."
It's a valiant effort for a debut album, one that is almost flawless. You rarely get the honor of hearing an artist produce a cohesive nine track album their first time around...and yet, Obai does it. You can stream svnteen here:
POPDUST svnteen RECS: "dancefloor", "girls like you", "missed call."
He's one of the most exciting rising artists in the game right now for a reason. Obai has the talent of storytelling, songwriting, and vocal range all in one. I got the chance to speak with Obai about this exciting time in his career, what this album means to him, and more!
Check out our exclusive interview with Obai below!
PD: Congratulations on svnteen! What was the inspiration for the EP?
The inspiration for svnteen really all came into bits and pieces of my everyday life at 17, also mixed within my friends' lives, and what they go through in relationships! I wanted to shed light on many topics that ran through my head throughout the year.
PD: What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned while making these tracks?
That sometimes stuff doesn’t need to make sense in the moment and that you’ll one day find the clarity you've been searching for as long as you try and stay present within yourself.
PD: Which was your favorite to create?
Probably "flyest in the room" or "weekend"
PD: When you were 12, you made an anonymous Instagram to post covers…when did you start to reveal yourself as the voice behind the account?
Haha, people just kinda knew after a certain point cuz my voice wasn’t too far from my regular talking voice at the time so when they started to comment new songs for me to sing and they started mentioning my main account. Once that happened, I chose to own up to it fully and not be anonymous anymore.
PD: How did it help you really get into making your own music?
I’ve always really wanted to make music, but I will say that seeing people ask for different songs for me to sing made me start to take my voice seriously and pursue my own thing creatively.
PD: Who were your favorite artists to cover and how did they inspire your style now?
There were definitely a couple great artists for sure. Off the top of my head, I remember singing a lot of Mario, Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Bryson Tiller, and of course Justin Bieber. Truthfully, they are all I listened to when I was trying to get better with singing! Literally would sing their songs every day.
PD: If you could pick three words to describe the EP, what would they be?
Moments, youth, infatuation.