British-Nigerian singer and songwriter, Lanre, tells a captivating and immersive story on her new EP “Human”, that launches at Omnibus on 27th May.
Lánre has been an Omnibus regular for a while, so we thought we should find out a bit more about her! We asked about her cultural heritage, who influenced her amazing musical presence, and what drives her on.
Born in the UK, but raised in Nigeria, do you find yourself torn between two cultures, or can you blend them both?
I spent my formative years in Nigeria so it informs the way I see myself.
How was your musical education? Did you have one and do you think it is important to learn music in a formal way?
Music was around me all my life, music in the market, in church, records at home. My siblings and I will come up with harmonies off the cuff by just listening to music on the radio. Then we all joined the choir where most of my music education stems from. So no, I didn’t take music theory classes but a large part of my musical exposure is from just day to day living in a city called Ibadan in Nigeria. Do I think it’s important to learn music in a formal way? Yes, I think it is. I started taking guitar lessons a few years ago and I realised that it’s enhanced my experience as a performer even more.
Would you describe yourself as a natural performer? What drives you to write and play your music?
I am inspired by stories of people around me. I like to share my music with an audience and I enjoy doing that a lot.
Who are your musical heroes?
People who have used their gift to affect some sort of change, people whose music make us think deeper about ourselves and ask those difficult questions. Inda Arie, Nina Simone, Fela, Asa, Foy Vance, Fink, Angelique Kidjo.
I know you felt strongly about the abduction of the schoolgirls in Nigeria, the inspiration for the first single of your EP, My Soul. Can you describe the process behind writing this track?
Who didn’t feel strongly about that evil? There’s no way you’d hear those young girls’ stories and you don’t feel something. Most of us felt and still feel helpless. I write songs and I guess it was only natural for me to respond with a song.
Every Omnibus Unplugged session has your invited guests. Where do you find performers to guest with you?
They are usually musicians I’ve either shared a stage with at some point. Sometimes, people recommend artists to me or I go to gigs and meet artist who I feel will be amazing for Omnibus.