Nigerian-born, London-based musician/singer/songwriter Steven Umoh creates haunting but intense sounds under the Obongjayar moniker, drawing on inspiration from both his Nigerian upbringing and futuristic hip-hop and electronic influences. After contributing to Richard Russell's Everything Is Recorded project, Umoh readied more solo material, releasing his four-song EP Bassey in 2017.
Steven Umoh grew up in Calabar, Nigeria, living with his grandmother until he moved to London at age 17. Active in both the Nigerian music scene and his new home in England, Umoh began posting songs online as Obongjayar around 2014. After releasing several tracks, he completed debut, Home, in 2016, a five-song EP that offered an early look into this mixture of raspy vocals and strange, rhythm-heavy production that melded together organic and synthetic instruments. Shortly after that, he became involved with Everything Is Recorded, offering vocals on the 2017 song "Washed Up on the Shore." With growing visibility, Obongjayar released the Bassey EP and also did some support dates opening for King Krule. Throughout the next year, Umoh contributed to more Everything Is Recorded tracks as he issued several Obongjayar singles. He began 2019 with the release of the single "Frens." The song would be featured on his 2020 mini-album Which Way Is Forward? alongside "Still Sun" and "10K." ~ Fred Thomas