Afro-Irish singer-songwriter Tolü Makay has been emerging as a powerful force within the music industry over the past two years as her soulful sound, entangled with hints of jazz and R&B vibes, has amassed a steady stream of positive awareness and response; with her earlier singles Ocean and Goodbye gaining over 800K streams on Spotify alone. Following the release of her recent single Don’t Let Go, we sat down with the talented singer to chat about the new single and her journey in music so far. And in addition to this recent single; last week, Tolü released her latest project – her debut EP, Being. For the full conversation with Tolü, keep on reading down below; and make sure to check out Being over on Spotify, here.
BM: Tell me a bit about your journey in music so far?
TM: I was a really shy kid growing up and with time and a lot of self-love this brought about confidence to my venture into music. I started singing at church when I was 8 and because of how shy I was I stopped singing from age 10-14. When I was 14, I went for singing competitions in Daingean my small county in Offaly and won Midlands Got talent. I also took part in a Gospel competition which I also won in 2016 this opened the world of producing, song writing and management. Ever since, I slowly started writing my own songs, starting with poetry. Then in 2018 I released my first two tracks. Reflection and Goodbye and never looked back.
BM: In a few words, how would you describe your style?
TM: (Conscious Introspective) Alternative Soul.
BM: You just released your latest single – Don’t Let Go – last month! As well as a stunning melody, the track also includes some really beautiful lyrics such as “I wish you joy, I wish you peace, I wish you everything you want and need”. What was the deeper motivation and meaning behind the track?
TM: This was a little prayer-affirmation I was saying to myself. I was going through a really tough year in 2019 where I wasn’t sure what direction to take. To some it was probably one of my best years but I wasn’t happy and that really affected me so throughout 2019 this song was what kept me going as I kept singing it and building the actual structure of it with my band.
BM: What was the inspiration behind the instrumentation on Don’t Let Go?
TM: With the way I wrote the song it came by as a melody first. And when I sang it with my guitarist the chords developed from there, till we created the song in the studio this year. Everything about this track was organic. But the drums remind me of a gospel song I love by William McDowell.
BM: Along with the single, you also released a truly stunning music video with some amazing quarantine visuals. What was that whole filming and creative process like; and what did you want people to take away from the video?
TM: The video came by organically. It was shot in my apartment in Dublin when I was going though challenging times mentally. The mess you see is as it was, no makeup was worn it was just me and my friend trying to capture the vision I had for the song.
Don’t Let Go, is about endurance and hope. What I want people to get out of this video is that you as you are, in all the imperfections and mess, is human, is real and you shouldn’t beat yourself down because you aren’t where you want to be yet.
BM: Your new project, your brand-new EP – Being – is just around the corner! What can listeners expect from this record?
TM: An alternative soul fusion made to empower and uplift you.
Inspired by various genres and books.
BM: A 7-track EP; which song from Being, are you most excited for people to hear, and why?
TM: Oh that’s hard because all the songs have their own vibe. I really love each and every one of them. I’ve thought of this question before but I still can’t say yes that is definitely the best because they all have different purposes to express the same message of self love.
BM: Last year, you left your job in Google to pursue your career in music. How would you say that taking that step to pursue music full time changed you as an artist, if at all?
TM: It made me view music differently, What the life of an Artist involves and new pressures it entails. I understood why it’s important to be invested in it full time depending on what you want from it that is. But if your aim is to break certain territories and be the best at what you do your most valuable asset is being disciplined and using your time to perfect your art.
BM: What advice do you have for any aspiring singers and songwriters who are looking to take that leap into the music industry.
TM: You won’t know how things will go till you try, till you go ahead and give it a go. You have to start somewhere an wanting to perfect everything can’t happen in an instance, perfection comes from learning.
BM: Following the release of Being; what can we expect next from you, musically?
TM: An Album. That’s what I am looking to work on next. I’m really excited to work, create, release and express more.