In his new album “Warrior king”, Ghanaian singer, rapper, songwriter and producer Bayku Ribeiro combines his African heritage with American influences, as well as his personal experiences. In an interview with Kojo Manuel on Y 107.9 FM, he talks about working with other artists and his own rise in the music industry.
Celebrating your roots – that is the motto that motivates singer and rapper Bayku Ribeiro’s music. Born in America’s city of Philadelphia, but having moved to Ghana at an early age, Bayku continues to find ways to combine his Ghanaian heritage with other influences he has experienced throughout his life. He says that he is focused on representing Ghana in a unique way: “We want to make sure that we are representing Africa properly, but in a classy way that is not cliché.”
In his new album “Warrior king”, he lets this attitude flow into his songs. Only currently has he released the visuals to the song “Sake of money”.
Bayku is proud to also be collaborating more and more with quite successful artists. “Unpopular opinion”, for instance, featured Adina Thembi, who is currently on tour in Australia. Bayku says that this is inspiring to him. He comments on her as well as other musicians that he has worked with: “They were already a couple of years ahead of me in terms of how they started. I left, so this is almost like a brand-new start for me because there are a lot of people who don’t know who I am. So, I have to work twice as hard, be brand-new but still use what I’ve learnt.”
However, he uses this as an opportunity: “When I see people who are ahead of me that are my colleagues and I work with, and you see them having success, it’s the most inspirational thing in the world.”
Another artist that the singer sees as inspiration is M.anifest. He calls him “well-travelled and well-educated” and says that his music reflects that. Just as well as the artist of “Unpopular opinion”, M.anifest is also “big on being an ambassador”, which Bayku finds inspiring.
Bayku really focuses on letting his Ghanaian roots be part of his music, and to also make Ghana more known around the globe. “Ghana to the world!” is the motto he lives by. “Once we start realizing how valuable this product that we have, this Art thing that Ghana has, is; once the people see the benefits, I’m very sure quickly the pride and everything will kick in.”
In the song “Unpopular opinion”, Bayku sings about how you should sometimes just live your own life and not care about what others think of that. He explains that, due to social media, a lot of people claim to be experts and know everything better nowadays. This desire to not be concerned about what people are thinking – as long as you are trying to live a good life – is expressed in the song. Bayku says that this mindset is an unpopular thing among today’s society, which explains the title of the song.
“Unpopular opinion” was designed for the album. Bayku and Adina started working on the song before the pandemic and had to interrupt their work due to the covid-19 outbreak. However, this did not have a negative impact on the artist or the music. On the contrary: “Sometimes, life works in funny ways. It’s almost the perfect time for it to come right now.” Although the song is not actually new and the production has started some time ago, Bayku says that to him, it feels brand-new.
The song has an African feeling to it and the artist intentionally let some of the Ghanaian rhythm flow into the music; however, it does not resemble any of the songs that one might be used to. “I think that is my unique offering to the Ghanaian table”, he says. “I am very Ghanaian, but as you can tell, I am a little bit mixed and mingled with a couple of different things and experiences. What makes me-me, is trying to combine this “Africaness” with the little tip bits that I’ve learned outside.”
And the visuals? Bayku promises that there will be a music video released for “Unpopular opinion”. He says that they will start working on it as soon as Adina returns from her tour.