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Rooky Finds Enlightenment On ‘Satori’

Written by on June 15, 2022

Pictured above: Rooky from the music video for “Inna Eyes,” via YouTube.

Nigerian-Canadian Afro-fusion artist Oghenerukevwe Jegede-Ikpen, otherwise known as Rooky, uses Afrobeats and R&B to lament on love and relationships.

Starting out listening to a wide range of music with his parents and singing in the church choir throughout his childhood, independent artist Rooky now records and produces his own music. He performs live regularly at festivals and events around Saskatchewan, Canada, with the support of his live band the BAD HVBITS.

“We are just a bunch of hardcore music lovers who just happen to have our love for music as our ‘bad habit,’” Rooky reflected.

Exhibiting growth in both production and instrumentation from his first single, “CNTRL,” in 2020, Rooky debuted his full-length album Satori this March. Satori, a Buddhist term meaning “sudden enlightenment and a state of consciousness attained by intuitive illumination,” discusses Rooky’s own journey toward enlightenment through the lens of relationships and vulnerability.

“Inna Eyes,” the lead single preceding Satori, explores falling in love through the lens of emotional vulnerabilities, softened boundaries and forming deep connections with another person. The single was featured on Vocalo’s “Poised To Break Through” playlist for May.

We heard from Rooky about his new album, how he describes his music and what plans he has for the future…

Where are you originally from?

I am from Delta State, in the southern region of Nigeria.

You’ve described your musical style as a fusion of Afrobeat with rhythm and blues. What initially inspired you to combine these two sounds? How do you feel they complement each other?

Afrobeats in itself is a genre born out of a mixture of different sounds all united with African influences. I grew up listening to a wide variety of music, and R&B has been one of my favorites, so basically the union is a show of my creativity as well as my personal interest. 

Where does the name “Rooky” come from?

Rooky is short for Rukevwe, which is also a short for my native name, Oghenerukevwe, meaning “God has done me well.”

How did you meet the members of your backing band, the BAD HVBITS? Do you prefer using live instrumentation over backing tracks? Why or why not?

I met my band members through various mutual friends. We are just a bunch of hardcore music lovers who just happen to have our love for music as our “bad habit” — thus, the inspiration for the name. I prefer live instrumentation, as the energy is unmatched and pure. You can never experience a band play the same way twice, and that’s a unique experience I want my audience to enjoy.

(Left) Rooky and the BAD HVBITS, courtesy of the artist / by QC Fried. (Right) Rooky performing live, courtesy of the artist / by Rick Davis.

In addition to being a musician, you’re also the graphic editor and photographer for the University of Regina’s newspaper, “The Carillion.” When did you first develop a passion for journalism and photography? Does your work there influence your music at all, or vice versa?

I have always had a flair for journalism. I have worked as a radio and TV presenter back home in Nigeria at a prestigious media house. My work in journalism does not influence my music, as they are separate sides of my being, so they both function independently. 

Your single “Inna Eyes” was featured on Vocalo’s “Poised to Break Through” playlist for May. Can you walk us through the song’s creation?

“Inna Eyes” was created in collaboration with my producer called Cools, my guitarist from The BAD HVBITS Band called Will and myself. We wanted to make an Afrobeat record that tells a story about the effect a love interest had on me, and this guided my writing process.  

What role do you think “Inna Eyes” plays in the tracklist of your album Satori? What’s something you most wanted to communicate with the song?

“Inna Eyes“ speaks mainly about the vulnerability that comes with falling in love. The sacrifices we make when we decide to let go of whatever boundaries we have and allow our feelings for a lover dictate the affairs of the relationship. As Satori was a project that speaks about my enlightenment, “Inna Eyes” shows the role of vulnerability. When you go deep in the project, the track “Zoned Out” shows you the flip-side of the vulnerability and how quickly that strong love and affection can transcend in hate and despair.

What inspired the shadowy visuals for the “Inna Eyes” music video? Who made the intricate masks featured in the video?

We wanted to create a unique style that hasn’t been used for an Afro-themed music video before, and the burlesque feel was the best idea we came up with. We had so much fun shooting that video. The videographer, Chris of Phantasma Studios, had the mask as one of his props and he thought it would be cool to ironically cover my eyes as opposed to the obvious name of the song.

Your website mentions you’re an avid writer and reader. What was the last book that you read? Thoughts?

Truth be told, I haven’t being reading as usual this year, but I have a couple titles I am looking forward to reading such as Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and Pimp by Iceberg Slim.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2022?

I have been working on some features for other artists in my city. Also planning another concert for the fall of this year, and of course been working on a project for next year as well. I may have a collaboration EP coming out with a friend and longtime producer also, but it’s still in the works. I’ll keep you updated as things become more clear.

Stream Rooky’s music on Spotify below, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Interview by Morgan Ciocca and George Chiligiris

Introduction written by Morgan Ciocca

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