(Photo courtesy of NPR)

By AMBER AINSWORTH, Editor-in-Chief

He caught my attention at this summer’s Mo-Pop festival and has been on repeat ever since.

Tunde Olaniran’s melody was the first thing to spark my interest as I caught the tail end of his performance. It wouldn’t be until I got home and gave him a listen that I would fall in love with his voice, lyrics and overall sound.

Olaniran blends multiple sounds and styles, managing to avoid fitting into any one genre. His Facebook page lists his genres as electronic, pop and R&B, though it could be argued that his sound is even too broad to fit comfortably into those categories.

His songs are funky, upbeat and potent, mixing catchy instrumentals and beats with deep, resonating lyrics.

In “Namesake,” the song I heard and immediately liked when I saw him over the summer, the beat of the track is quick and high tempoed, but the words pulled me in the most.

In the chorus, Olaniran says, “And everybody’s hoping and scraping and wishing they could be something outside themselves. If I can be me, then you can be yourself. Might not be easy, it’s like we’re never satisfied,”after singing about having water thrown on him in middle school and being the “only brown head in my ninth grade play.”

His personal experiences combined with a chorus that is relatable really hit as a purposeful song with meaning. And “Namesake” isn’t the only song like that.

In “Brown Boy,” Olaniran packs a powerful punch with his words, saying, “I’m every single thing you think of me; I’m a sinner, killer, drug dealer, refugee.”

His songs don’t just sound good—they are good, they are powerful and they tackle issues.

With no defined sound, one thing remains constant across all tracks: Olaniran’s smooth and seamless vocals.

Whether it be a high-key note or a rhyming bit, he flows effortlessly through the songs; changes in pace are well calculated and to always be expected.

Like his songs, his voice emcompasses a multitude of styles and sounds, making listening to his songs an experience that doesn’t get boring, even when listening to his tracks over and over again.

There really is no right way to accurately describe his style or sum up his music in a way that does his raw talent justice; you have to hear it.

Olaniran will be in Michigan on Oct. 14 when he performs at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids.