Selector’s Afrofuturist series highlights the work of emerging BIPOC talent in electronic music.
COVID-19 has completely uprooted the music industry. In the midst of the pandemic, however, we’ve been provided with an opportunity to connect with artists in ways never before imagined. Afriqua has married a number of eclectic influences in his latest, “Wagwan Bhagwan?”
In the single, Afriqua’s command of the keys is on full display. The gifted classical pianist and groove technician makes the song’s complex aural textures seem like light work. Dreamy glissandos, jazzy chord progressions, and a shuffling groove are all laid out on his pair of keyboards. It’s remarkable to note how much the medium informs his music.
Afriqua’s rich, soulful sound is informed by a divergent patchwork of experiences. Raised in Virginia on a diet of hip-hop and classical piano, he showed early promise as a traditional musician and disc jockey. He entered his first DJ battle at 11 and became a student at the Interlochen Center for the Arts at 16. By the time he finished school he had been admitted to London’s Conservatory of Music, and had already established his sound in dance music. As he attended one of classical music’s most lauded institutions, he continued his education in a mecca of electronic music.
The allure of club culture proved to be too strong, and he was bounced from The Conservatory. In true rave fashion, he turned this bit of bad luck into the start of his career as a house producer. He dove into production and quickly signed his first records, and thus Afriqua was born.
“Wagwan Bhagwan?” is available as a download on Bandcamp.