“Cascade”

2. a process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is successively passed on.

"the greater the number of people who are well briefed, the wider the cascade effect"


At its core, Cascade is reference material for BIPOC in creative spaces. It focuses on bolstering the amount of representation of BIPOC in the arts through photographs, interviews and profiles. It gives artists across various mediums the space to speak candidly about their experiences in their relative fields- to inform, guide and hopefully inspire current and future generations. 

Cascade was made possible with the support of the TAC.

 


Ojerime : Musician

Photography & Styling : Othello Grey
Interview : Othello Grey & Michael Nyarkoh


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Ojerime wears glasses by Rick Owens, Jacket by Craig Green




Othello : What was the first thing you discovered that caused you to seek out being a musician?

Ojerime : I learned I could play CDs in the car rides with my dad, it would just be us two running errands or I’d have a keyboard lesson then we’d get food. As I grew up, it became my role to control the music in car- eventually I knew the songs off [the top of my] head and I would try and sing all the afflictions in the artist’s voices. After years of singing around the house, my mum asked if I wanted to explore singing [instead of] my talents in performing arts & dance. I didn’t really go for it until I started receiving encouragement from those around me, I made my first YouTube cover to Jazmine Sullivan - Need U Bad and it grew from there.






Michael Nyarkoh : B4 Breakdown was such a magnet of feelings on a record. How much of those feelings have held on when making new music?

Ojerime : It’s helped me become looser with my recording process. BIBD is a very raw record and a reflection of how I can create demos with limited resources. On the contrary, I am a perfectionist, so I’ve adopted those new methods to be as free with my writing as possible, then I’ll refine over time and be slower and more patient with the process. I’ve always written my own music, so I spend hours listening back to my old records to hear what needs improvement, so it’s [those errors aren’t] included in future records. I only want to give my best.


Vest by A-COLD-WALL*, Pants by Jil Sander


MN : Knowing the weight of your work, do you feel obligated to make for yourself as the final receiver or for your listeners?

O : It’s so personal, like a journal. I realise now how impactful my lyrics have been to people’s lives. It’s beautiful that my audience is so expressive in letting me know how it touches them.



OG : Your sound feels both nostalgic and new - what advice would you give to musicians trying to shape their sound?

O : Spend time getting it right for you. This can be done by diverting from trends and focusing on what’s in your heart. Slow growth is still growth, it’s taken me 10 years to get where I am and I’m still learning.

OG : What is the experience like navigating the predominantly male music industry as a Black woman?

O
: I was a baby when I started, early in time, I felt I’d been unscathed by men until I grew older. I became aware that I wasn’t being taken seriously when it came to my vision. Budgets, respect & a lot of other things looked a little different. Male peers often project their jealousy onto women within the industry in the most obscure ways. I’d say it takes a lot of ‘successful’ moments to receive respect but that can also have the opposite effect so you can’t really win. I’ve avoided that energy and never looked back lol.

OG : Do you find patriarchal systems in place that affect your ability to either produce the music you truly desire / affect the opportunities you’re given?

O : I create what I want sonically but there are a lot of changes at play that have meant the arts go underfunded, there are less spaces/incentives to support Black women in music or focus on artist development- like studio spaces, residencies or communities. We hear about artist development now through DIY bedroom projects (which I really love- sign of the times). Despite my image being personal to me, as women we are digested through the male gaze. There’s still a lot of work to undo here & there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Black women specifically but examples include the hairstyles, skin shade, features, styling choices, how little or how much we speak, even down to how we react in stressful situations, there will be a microscope on us in those moments. These all [collectively] affect your opportunities. As fortunate as I am to be an independent artist, I still jump through patriarchal hoops to appease the higher ups, to prove I’m worth the investment & at certain points in my career I still wait double the time to get mine.

OG : Are there any key moments you can reference that defined the scope of how you create your music now?

O : 2018-2020 I went through a lot personally which made me a stronger & even more emotionally intelligent person. Great ingredients to apply to my art visually & sonically, I’ve painted a lot of ugly pictures (lessons learnt) to make way for the beautiful ones (lessons applied).

OG : What are your thoughts on the idea of perfection in regards to your music, do you often get caught up trying to attain the ‘perfect word/melody/beat’? How did you navigate that on your previous projects vs going into your next project?

O : Sadly I’m a perfectionist. I’ve been working on the [source] of this but it’s definitely shaped how meticulous I’ve been towards my art. BIBD is my statement against perfectionism and I learned throughout that with future art I make, the ‘perfection’ [aspect] can be [adjusted] in creative ways. For the new project Bad Influence I wanted to showcase vocals, beat selection & strong visuals so I really focused on those three. But the imperfections left were my lyrics, as they’re honest & packed with emotions I probably didn’t compute at the time.



OG : How important are accolades and awards to you ?

O : As long as I can live a comfortable life, I’m easy. I just want to wake up every day and be able to create what I like on my own schedule. Awards/accolades are great but they’re not tied to my worth.

OG : With that in mind what do you want your legacy to be? When the name Ojerime is brought up in conversation, what dialogue would you want it to incite ?

O : ‘I like it so’ [is] the meaning of my name, I’m already known for liking things in my life to be a particular way, that’s a legacy I’d like to continue as my art expresses who I am, I’d want those that come across me to[think] ‘this is how Ojerime wanted it’.