In 2016, Maleek Berry made a significant public addition to his musical practices. From solely producing records, Berry took a brave jump into the pool of singers daring to disrupt the African pop stereotype with his scintillating vocals and multi-dimensional sound.
His entry was ushered by the release of his acclaimed debut extended playlist titled the “Last Daze of Summer”. Drawing core influences from his Nigerian and British background(s), Berry created a masterpiece that was suitable for the summer.
Two years later, Maleek Berry has attempted to put his musical dexterity on display with the release of his self-produced sophomore tape titled the “First Daze of Winter”.
Ten days to the release of the project, the singer disclosed that the EP will see him in a vulnerable state as he intends to let out his emotions like never before. In truth, the tape was opened by a romantic poetry. “Baby I’ve been calling, you don’t wanna answer me, all day I’ve been calling, you don’t wanna answer me”, He sang emotional on Been Calling as he begs for the attention of his love interest. He continued to swim in the bosom of his emotions on the preceding tracks – Pon My Mind and Own It as he layered his vulnerable verses on the breezy, electro-influenced instrumentals that ensured a smooth transfer of his emotions.
As if to offer a break to the emotional spree, Berry went a bit uptempo on the fourth track “Sisi Maria”. While this record is not totally free from the vulnerability that was displayed on the previous tracks, the groovy highlife rhythm heavy on the Nigerian south-eastern keyboard undertones ushered in a happy atmosphere. On this record, Berry attempted to be flirty; “Sisi Maria, she carry front from Bayelsa, Sisi Ngozi she carry back from Anambra” – maybe this was in a bid to take our minds off the uber-emotional persona that he had been displaying. Oh no, it was simply a break… now back to emotions.
The emotional ride continued with the fifth track “What If” and the tape eventually closed out with “Pulling Me Back” where he went on about his unexplainable attachment to his lover.
Maleek Berry is assumed an absolute ladies man but on this project, he simply mirrors an angle of his persona that the public might be clueless about. An average Nigerian man typically prefers to put up a tough front and sell the “no emotions” narrative but Berry has publicly exempted himself from that craze, providing a well organized emotional outburst. The sonic technicality of the project is equally dynamic. From electronic, dancehall to traditional Nigerian rhythms, Maleek Berry flexed his production prowess sending a reminder that he is still a production genius.
On why Maleek Berry, however, considers this EP an accurate soundtrack for the winter still remains unknown. The winter as we know is a rather cold season and to drown in our emotions during these cold times doesn’t quite come off as a healthy prescription.
Overall, the First Daze of Winter EP is not a let-down.
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