Nairobi-born, Adelaide-based singer, rapper and producer, Elsy Wameyo has released her debut EP ‘Nilotic’ out now via Music in Exile. A bilateral journey of spirituality and personal growth, Elsy’s debut collection, Nilotic attempts to claim back, fix and uproot the world’s evil while processing frustration and sadness through her music. Hailing from the Nilotic tribes of Kenya, and informed by an Adelaide upbringing and singing in church choirs from an early age, Elsy poses questions about heritage and the equity of societal structures as she unravels her self-identity across six self-produced tracks. In a voracious effort to understand and educate herself through years of relentless research, in-depth conversations and dedicated learning, Elsy has applied her self-taught creative talents across production, songwriting and singing, to unravel her feelings and thoughts on what it means to be a Nilot in 2022 on tape.
Opening Nilotic, is the low slung bass melody of the EP’s second single, “River Nile”. Swiftly added to triple j, double j and community radio across the nation, Elsy’s self-assured swagger hits hard with fire-speed raps and choral shout-outs taken from a chopped out sample. The track signifies the beginning of Elsy’s Nilotes journey. Next up, “Promise” is Nilotic’s latest single, jazzier in nature and led by trumpets that mark Elsy’s arrival. Comfortably scatting across the melody, Elsy speaks to knowing your own worth and paving a journey that is never defined by the external influences of this world.
The third track, “Sulwe” was written in Elsy’s mother tongue Luo and translates to ‘star’. Taking inspiration from Lupita Nyong’o’s book of the same name, Elsy delves into defining the star that lives inside everyone. Low-end bass and flourishes of horns accompany hazy layers of production, as the track’s swinging and intoxicating mood sinks in. Next, the spoken-word track “The Call” is Elsy’s ad-lib introduction to the fifth eponymous EP track “Nilotic”. Written from a first take in the studio, “The Call” is an ululation, tone-setter and call to Elsy’s warriors and Nilotes to gather round.
The EPs first single, “Nilotic” is an assertive and telling story of both how Elsy sees the world and the spiritual journey she embarked on to arrive there. Sampled shout-outs are interspersed throughout, as the track concludes with the resounding final words, ‘never forget who you are’. The track received triple j and community radio additions soon after its release, alongside the support of tastemakers nationwide. The final track, “Hunger” Elsy claims as the most difficult of the EP to write. Deeply personal, introspective and built from hours of painstaking research, the finale is the last puzzle piece to complete the EP’s journey of self-identity and strength. Beautifully written, “Hunger”s grand chorus and choir-led vocals are a triumphant and climactic finish, with stampeding drums punctuating its power.
Elsy Wameyo says of the EP: “Nilotic is the byproduct of God’s grace in my life. What you will hear is the journey of a confident, frustrated and sad Elsy trying to claim back, fix and uproot the evil of this world. However, what you won’t see is the spiritual journey I took with my Father, where I learnt, through obedience and true faith, that alone I am a mere mortal, but with him, I can do ALL things. This EP was never the point. God, in his full grace, chose to bless me with a product I can use to showcase his works in my life.”
Elsy Wameyo embraces her beliefs and life experiences to forge an insightful wisdom that is shared via flawlessly soulful rhythms in her music. Self-producing her own work and exploring new production techniques has led to Elsy finding her own style and control in sonic direction. This approach compliments a fusion of gospel and traditional sacred sounds that shape Elsy’s musical vision, alongside a force of contemporary hip-hop and R&B influences. Elsy’s comfort in her own voice is evidenced through her poetic verses woven with stories, metaphors and hard-fought questions to challenge perceptions and detail lived-experience.
Elsy has shared stages with artists such as Grammy award-winner Printz Board, Maségo, Sampa the Great, Adrian Eagle and Hilltop Hoods. She adds to this with festival appearances at Groovin’ The Moo and St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, after being awarded Young Kenyan of the Year by KASA at the annual Madaraka Day Gala in 2018, and winner of people’s choice Best Hip Hop at the annual South Australian music awards. Most recently, Elsy performed to crowds from her city of upbringing, Adelaide’s WOMAD and SANAA festivals, and Red Bull Melbourne Unlocked. Next, she’ll be taking her 7-piece band to Strawberry Fields, followed by a special VIVID LIVE show alongside Mo’Ju in May. Elsy has been featured on numerous ‘Ones to Watch’ lists, including Red Bull and triple j Unearthed, and to date, named triple j’s Unearthed Feature Artist, scored Feature Video on Rage, and applause from the likes of Acclaim, Sniffers, NME, Purple Sneakers, Pilerats, Complex and more.
From a refusal to be passive, and a beckoning to tap into an emboldened energy, the multi-talented Elsy Wameyo has come to create a beautiful and scene-defining body of work with her first ever EP, Nilotic available to listen now via Music in Exile.
Connect with Elsy Wameyo on social media on:
Featured Image by Leon Tran (@notbad.ungood)