New Music

New For 2021

Ijale | The emcee putting his heritage and culture front and centre

We're shining a spotlight on the best new Australian artists set to dominate 2021. Welcome Melbourne based emcee and producer Ijale.

Nigerian-born, Melbourne-based emcee and producer Ijale is the sort of creative that doesn’t come around often. And when they do, it is imperative that you sit up and take notice.

Taking influence from, and blending together, a melting pot of Afro-centric sounds and western influences – from African percussion to layered electronic textures, to hallmark genres of black creativity including jazz, soul, R&B, and hip-hop – his music is a direct reflection on and culmination of his Nigerian heritage, Australian upbringing, and influence of the internet.

If his hard-hitting production wasn’t enough to stop you in your tracks, then his flawless smooth flow and sharp, socially conscious lyricism will definitely do the trick. 

Completely in control of his vision and output, not only does Ijale produce his own music, but he also engineers, mixes, and masters it all. What you end up with is an artist wholly unique to today’s Aussie music landscape.

An emerging voice on the local scene, Jerry Agbinya began releasing music in 2017, but he has been perfecting his songwriting and production skills for years before that. 

Taking his musical moniker from not only his middle name but in tribute to his late uncle, he chose the name to ensure his culture and heritage are front and centre to his music.

Dripping in confidence and swagger, Ijale has already shared the stage with the likes of Winston Surfshirt, Raiza Biza, Jordan Dennis, Nasty Mars, and more.

Continuing to defy expectations with every release, you’ll want to get Ijale on your radar now.

MMusic – MERGE – IJALE – Australian Tapestry Workshop

The Ijale Story

From the beginning

Ijale: “At age 11 or 12 I wrote my first rap, but it wasn’t until I was around 16 or 17 that I started to make music. I was just messing around with friends having a lot of fun doing it.”

What you’ll hear

Ijale: “My sound is a mix of a lot of things I grew up on like jazz, hip hop (new and old), soul and R&B, but I think my sound started to take shape more when I started to incorporate West African influences into my work. That helped me stand out and to celebrate my culture all at once.

“Rapping came into the picture after the production. I used to pitch my vocals up or down like Quazimoto or Tyler The Creator cuz I was shy about putting myself out there like that, but I adapted to my own voice with time.”

Influences & inspiration

Ijale: “Madlib, J Dilla, MF DOOM (RIP), Tyler the Creator, Nigo, Martin Margiela, Salvador Dali, Little Simz, Haruki Murakami, Frank Ocean, Anime / Manga in general, Jean Michelle Basquiat, Flying Lotus, Mac Miller, Solange Knowles, TOKIMONSTA, Terrance Nance, Travis Scott, James Baldwin, Zaha Hadid, Skepta, Julie Adenuga and the whole Adenuga Family, and the wealth of amazing artists that are doing great things in Australia.”

For the love of music

Ijale: “Making music gives me the freedom to create my own version of myself, a version that does what he wants, when he wants, without borders or restraint. Music helps me figure out who I am through the making of it and helps me be confident in my own skin.”

Kicking goals

Ijale: “My biggest highlight is releasing my debut EP independently. I recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered the whole thing. I’m very proud of that. But also I’m really proud to have a team of solid people around me now who are smart as f*ck and invested in my art.”

2020 taught me:

Ijale: “I’ve learnt how to take control of my emotions a bit more this year. I’m able to get a hold of myself and change my mindset with intention a little more than i was able to in the years before. I try to respond and not react these days.”

The year ahead

Ijale: “I have a mixtape that I’m working on right now that should be out in 2021. I’m also working on a few side projects in film and other media that I’m very excited about too.”

When we chat in 12 months…

Ijale: “I hope to be in the position where other artists are hitting me up to produce or executive produce their projects. I mix, produce, engineer, and master so I wanna be knee deep in projects that I’m excited about with people who are talented and motivated. I wanna be feeding myself through my creativity and not working some other place that isn’t music related to ‘make ends meet’.

“If I play some festivals and tour Australia off the back of my own music that would be dope too. I want my fanbase to grow. I really wanna get to know you all.”

Essential Listening

Ijale – Hotlines

“The intro to ‘Hotlines’ is spoken by one of my day ones and frequent collaborators Rara Zulu. We spoke about the concept of having a hotline for POC’s to vent about micro-agressions and such during a rehearsal we were doing for a show of hers and I thought of recording her as one of the hotlines operators. The outro was us just talking and running with the idea. The recording of that was so much longer and so much funnier than I had time to include.”

Ijale – CCTV

“‘CCTV’ is a real personal one for me. It was written during a really tough time in a previous relationship where things were getting too intense, but I didn’t feel like I could really talk about it, because I didn’t want to talk badly about or disrespect my (then) partner. I would think to myself, if there was a fly on the wall, or a CCTV camera around to capture certain events, then maybe people would understand what I was going through, without the guilt I felt from opening up about it back then.”

IjaleCoffee Cups

“‘Coffee Cups’ was a really fun, effortless process. I made the beat and thought it was sick, invited the homie Zephyr Greene over to my spot to jam and this was one of several things we laid down that night. It’s my favourite part of the song. Then when I was finishing up the project, I sent the demo over to the homie Finn Irregular to lay down guitar and the track really opened up. I had to rethink what was accompanying it after that cuz what we did was such a vibe.”

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