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Toronto-Based Real-Life Princess (Like, REALLY) RnB Rising Star ZOCHI Releases "Alone (Whole Again)"

Opening for Jully Black at Grand River Black Music Festival, Kitchener June 15, 2024

 

While the supposedly religious try to claim God’s favor for themselves and deny it to anyone they see as “other,” Canadian Afrobeats queen Zochi – and a real-life Princess in royalty, too - has something more open-hearted in mind. Her new single, “Alone (Whole Again),” sees her praying for the consummation of a same-sex attraction not just because she wants it, but because the Lord must too.

 

Taking inspiration from 1 Corinthians 13:13—you remember, the one that says love is even greater than faith or hope—Zochi applies her persuasive purr to a romantic sentiment that’s positively holy in its urgency. “Maybe you’ll show up this time in the night when I’m all alone,” she imagines, in what could be a reference to the object of her ardor or to God himself. “This your love you give me so/ E dey make me whole again.

 

“Since embracing fearlessly my sexuality, my experiences with God’s love—for me, and for other people—testifies to me that the book is true,” she attests. “Not only is this song important to me, but I also believe love can and will save the world. It doesn’t matter who is loving who. We just must love.”

 

It’s hard to disagree when the argument sounds this gorgeous. The instrumental track Zochi and producer RoyMade (Roy Msiska) have assembled has the reassuring calm of the truly divine, and her vocal line—her first experiment with writing to the cadence of African instrumentals—has her singing against herself on opposing tracks, with some judiciously applied autotune for extra character.

 

It took some doing, however, for the song itself to be made whole. Zochi recorded an early version in 2021 that had a different backing track, only for its foundational beat to be purchased out from under her by a certain Interscope act (cough Byron Messa ft. Burna Boy cough), who now owned the exclusive copyright to it. So she sent her vocal stems to producer RoyMade and instructed him to devise an entirely new underpinning for them.

 

“That was how ‘Alone (Whole Again)’ came about,” she explains. “I did it alone, and now it’s whole again.”

 

Back to the Princess for a moment – her grandfather is the Late King Samuel Paul Uwakwe (S.P.U OGAN) of Okrika Rivers State Nigeria. He is also referred to as the Amanyanabo of Okrika. So, Toronto has literal royalty amongst us in the music community.

 

With the creative process behind “Alone (Whole Again),” she says, “I just wanted a visual that feels good because the meaning of the song feels good. The song’s emotions or feeling is like the type some accept, and some don’t. Yes, that latter hurts when you’re not accepted, but the feeling - being yourself loving who you are are/becoming - itself before validation from people, for the one who is experiencing it, always is good. So, we stick to that and don’t care what people say about who we are. I have a wild imagination, I love art, I love drawings, I love architecture, and I wanted all those elements in my video. So, I linked with Anastase Maragos and Ariana Donovan, to shoot a video that allows us to play with our imagination and I think and hope my viewers will feel seen and accepted for who they are, after watching the video.”

 

Born in Nigeria but a resident of Regina, Saskatchewan, since 2013, Uzochi Lolia Ifeanyiukachu is the only Afrobeats artist currently working in Canada, and she has the recognition to show for it. In 2022, she was nominated in the Contemporary Artist of the Year category at the Sask Music Awards—just one of numerous appearances she’s made at top Canadian awards shows, festivals and industry symposia. She’s also been seen on high-profile programs on CBC television, and heard on Black-focused radio shows in Canada and Kenya. Her 11 singles have been streamed more than 40,000 times on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud and other major services. 

 

Even before “Alone (Whole Again),” Zochi had been collaborating with RoyMade on a handful of other tracks that will finally see release as an EP on May 17, 2024. And of course, you’re going to want to reserve a place in your heart for it. Because love, after all, is what God wants.



“Alone (Whole Again)”

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