My Tribe

My Tribe

Blessing Offor keeps it real. The gospel singer, songwriter, and musician is joyful in both conversation and music, but he also knows that alongside great joy often comes profound struggle. On My Tribe, the Nashville-based, Nigerian-born artist—who has lived with blindness since the age of 10—shares messages of hope grounded in the realities of making it in the real world, doing so with an unabashedly infectious sound that spans pop, funk, R&B, and old-school gospel. His personal theology mirrors the commitment to balance and nuance found on the LP. As Offor tells Apple Music, “God is not your teddy bear. He doesn't just have to live in these safe church walls that you claim to hold him in, so to speak. He’s out there in the wild, meeting people wherever they are and being there with them, next to him. I think that’s beautiful, and I think that’s something worth saying to people and worth exploring as the untraditional ‘Christian artist’ that I hope to be.” Standouts abound on My Tribe, like the funky, feel-good embrace of chosen family on the title track, which is featured on a Coca-Cola commercial, and the clear-eyed optimism of “Brighter Days.” Another highlight is the deliciously soulful “Rollin’,” which Offor fittingly describes as having “high stank-face potential.” And he ends the LP on a contemplative moment with “Looking for God,” a relatable snapshot of grappling with holding on to faith in the face of tragedy and inequality. Below, Offor shares insight into several key tracks on My Tribe. “Brighter Days” “I’m leery of ever being the pie-in-the-sky cheeseball, you know what I mean? When I wrote ‘Brighter Days,’ I said, ‘If we’re going to give people a chorus this high on the positivity factor, we have to give them verses that are pretty real and honest and in touch with things as they are.’ For me, personally, I hate listening to things that feel like a lie. If someone just walks around telling you, ‘Nothing ever goes wrong, ever,’ you’re going to be like, ‘Ew.’ But if someone says, ‘Hey, stuff’s really, really, really hard. But once in a while, there are these moments of transcendent joy that will let you know everything’s worth it,’ you go, ‘OK, that’s fair.’” “Feel Good” “That song, me and my boy Max Stark, we were in our Bootsy Collins, Parliament-Funkadelic moment. We were also in our Justin Timberlake Trolls moment, that song [‘CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!’]. I was like, ‘How could you Bootsy Collins that song?’ We were like, ‘Let’s write a version of that but one that has this little extra little bit of grit to it.’ Honestly, we finished that, and we were like, ‘How do we get this to Pixar?’ Because there’s a kids movie that needs a giant ball of joy, and that’s what this song is.” “Rollin’” “That is a song that, at the end of it, I just want to repeat again because I think it feels like everything I love about soul music. It’s this song that feels grittier than what it’s actually talking about. For lack of a better word, the ‘stank-face’ potential on it is high. You’re going to listen and you’re going to go, ‘Oh, that feels so good.’ It makes your face scrunch up when the bass player hits the lick and all that kind of stuff. There’s this intangible grit to it, even though it’s saying, ‘Hey, you’re the rock when I’ve been rolling. You’re this comforting piece in my life.’ Again, I feel strongly that if you’re going to say something that’s borderline cheesy, you’ve got to balance it with some things that make your face scrunch up just so it doesn’t give you diabetes.” “What a World (Akwa Uwa) Pt. 1” and “What a World (Akwa Uwa) Pt. 2” “The album was down to the wire, and I was like, ‘I just feel something’s missing. I need to bring something quintessentially Nigerian and personal into this record.’ I said, ‘There’s this song I used to sing when I was a kid and back home and with my uncle that I need to do because that song says a lot about who I am.’ It captures the philosophy of what it is to be from a Third World country, where things are materially very difficult but spiritually and emotionally very rich; where people are hungry, but they’re happy; where they don’t have a lot, but they have everything.” “My Tribe” “I wanted to conceptualize this album coming from all the different corners of the world I’ve had the honor to come from. I wanted to make a record to pull all of those people together and all of those experiences together. I think the commonalities that I found—whether it’s in Africa, Connecticut, LA, New York, Nashville; in country music, pop music, soul music, whatever it is—I’ve found that, really, we’re all just people doing our best and trying to get through it together. ‘My Tribe,’ both as a song and as a record, is my attempt to give credit to all of that, both the people and the experiences, by saying, ‘Listen, I would not be here without that tribe, without those things. You can keep your money. You can keep your gold. I’ll keep the ones who want me and never let me go.’ That’s the record and that’s Blessing Offor in a nutshell.” “Looking for God” “My intention has always been to make a record that my friends who have never been to church can walk into and still love. And not even love, but almost not even know they’re listening to anything different. I wanted to make a record that had a low barrier to entry. Because you don’t have to know a bunch of ‘Christianese’ to listen to this record. It’s just music. It’s good music. So, ‘Looking for God,’ for me, is the distillation, I think, of what anybody who’s honest with themselves has to ask at some point. All these people in the world, going through all these things—surely God is there for them.”

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