Mannywellz Expands His African Fusion Sound on 'Mirage'
Emmanuel Ajomale, also known as Mannywellz, is a singer and songwriter blending R&B and pop with his African roots. As a follow up to 2018's SoulFro, Mannywellz returned with the release of his Mirage EP on October 9th. The nine-track project features an expanse of Manywellz' African fusion over contemporary R&B, alt-R&B, and afrobeats production. Tems, VanJess, and Wale join Mannywellz for features on the project.
Speaking on the making of Mirage, Mannywellz shared with DJ Booth,
I recorded and produced the majority of Mirage in 2018, mainly by thuggin' it out with the vibes in my aunt's basement. There's a diverse set of songs here, but the songwriting is pure. I'm writing about love, toxic relationships - you know, human things. I had assistance from guitarists like Ariel O'Neal, Kel, Nigerian vocalist Tems, and more. As well, I was inspired by Nigerian juju percussion, which is heavy. Blending the power and sound of those drums with, say, trap's style makes the African influences in my sound more digestible for non-African aware listeners.
I would say that he succeeded in creating music that can be enjoyed by the casual R&B listener as much as an afrobeats or afropop enthusiast. Whereas tracks like "So Good" and "Floating" could appeal more to the former, "Sweet & Tender" and "A Million" may appeal more to the latter. But everything on Mirage feels effortless and cohesive. We're looking forward to watch Mannywellz continue to bend genres and re-contextualize African music in new ways. Listen to Mirage below.