A newcomer to Strathmore and Canada is sharing his musical gift with the world while showing off his new home in one of his latest videos.
Ajirireloja Inioluwanimi (Ini) and his family moved to Canada last year from Nigeria. At only 15 years old it was a big move and there have definitely been some adjustments, but Ini is enjoying his new home so far.
"The weather is one of the biggest differences and the education system here is great. Back in Nigeria, it's great too but I feel over here the learning resources we get, the manner in which we're taught is much different, and that's a huge positive of being here in Canada."
The weather was something that Ini and his family were expecting but he said expecting it and experiencing it are two very different things.
"My first time seeing snow, I was excited when I was inside seeing snow but then coming outside was a whole different ball game. The coldest it has been in Nigeria was probably only 16°C."
Moving from the Capital city in Nigeria to a small community like Strathmore has been another adjustment for Ini, but he says there is a peace and a serenity here that he enjoys and that the people have all been very welcoming.
Ini is a musical artist who has a style all his own that he says is not always easy to describe to people.
"The Type of rap I do is Lofi rap and Jazz rap and Afrobeats, that is what is most popular in Nigeria, so right now I am looking to go into jazz fusing it with hip hop and then Lofi and then Afrobeats and put everything together."
Ini added the chance to express his creativity is the important piece and he is excited to work towards bringing his own unique sound to the genre of music.
Ini's brother Ajirireloja Oluwasemiloore who is also his manager helped him in putting the music video together.
"He's the one that does the whole behind-the-scenes thing. Everything that comes out he's the one that has the sleepless nights, he has worked on everything."
His brother was the one who encouraged him to release the song The Comeback, initially, they were planning to release a different song but once they found out that MaxSPL music had a recording studio in town his brother suggested he release The Comeback. Once they had it recorded Ini said his brother dove into storyboarding and planning the video.
Family support is something that Ini is grateful for and has a lot of from a very young age.
"My dad (Ajireloja Alex) was also the one who pushed me to start music, I started rapping at age 6. I remember a day on our way to church I heard a song on the radio and I was like that sounds pretty cool. I said, let me try and write something like that, then I wrote my first song. It's called God's Heritage, I told my dad and my dad said why don't we just go to the studio and record that."
Performing is not something new to Ini, who at the age of 9 performed in front of thousands of people at a major national competition in Nigeria called God's Children Great Talent (GCGT). It was an incredible milestone for Ini in finding his way on his musical journey, as he placed sixth among many entrants. He said he was nervous but when he was on stage it was like nothing he had ever felt before.
Music, writing, creating, and poetry run deep through Ini's family with both brothers involved in careers that rely heavily on creativity, and he said his father is also a very good poet. Through family, this path came naturally to him.
For Ini it is about the storytelling of where he comes from and the path he is now on; while he called Nigeria a special place he said sometimes thing happen that he can't believe, which compels him to write about it. One of these events was on October 20, 2020. He spoke of a protest going around regarding police brutality and extortion.
"The police officers would stop young people because of the way they are dressed or because of the phones they carry and try to extort them of money."
During the protest, he said that the protestors began singing the national anthem and they were on their knees and turned on a bridge. "The lights were turned off and the military officers came in with military ammunition and shot at the protesters. Countless lives were lost."
Ini was just 12 when he saw live videos from the protestors, and when trying to process what had happened he felt that if he could just write it down it would help him to express his feelings.
"You want to let people know that you are a part of this and you want to fight against things like this."
Ini recently released a new song and it is more of a political song about what is going on in Nigeria right now. He said he wants his music to reach people and make them more aware of the political and economical crises going on around the world.
"I want my music to be able to tell people that (world issues) because not everyone in the world knows about things like this going on. If you don't know you really can't make a difference."
Ini, who is now reaching out to artists not only in Canada but around the world to connect and collaborate with, is excited for his future and the path he is on. Music is his passion, and sharing his story is an important part of what he is creating. With his passion and talent, we can expect much more to come from this young artist.
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org