Gilles Peterson // Worldwide Awards 2015 // Introducing Orlando Julius
December 3, 2014
Nigerian Afro soul pioneer Orlando Julius tells the story of the complex birth of Lamont Dozier’s classic ‘Going Back To My Roots’, tracing its origins to Orlando’s composition ‘Ashiko’, touring with Hugh Masekela, working with producer Stewart Levine in L.A. and hearing Odyssey’s disco cover of the tune for the first time in 2001.
Where in the world…
…are you now?
At my home in Mobi Pako near Lagos, Nigeria
… inspires you
I always cherish my time in the U.S. – I lived there for 20 years of my life and was constantly inspired by the great musicians I worked with there. Equally, when I returned home to Nigeria, it was amazing to find so many people and fans who were happy to see me back home and who loved my music. More recently, recording my album with The Heliocentrics in London was a wonderful experience – I always love to collaborate and look at new angles on my music. So, I am inspired by different places and people at different times of my life.
— have you done your best performance?
There have been many memorable concerts. I was lucky enough to play Carnegie Hall in New York with Hugh Masekela; I met and played with Louis Armstrong and his musicians in Ibadan whilst I was with Eddy Okonta’s band – we had set up a truck and a generator by a main roundabout to welcome him as he arrived and he stopped to talk and play. Also, during my own band’s residency in Ibadan during the ‘60s and early ‘70s, I met James Brown’s musicians and they joined us on stage. All wonderful times.
… has the best food?
I always remember loving the food in Colombia when I was there for eight days playing a festival. It reminded me of home – there is so much of Africa in their culture, including the dresses people wear and the cooking. I remember eating sliced and fried banana with rice and I loved their empanadas too.
… has the cutest boys and girls?
Ah, there are pretty girls all over the world! But Colombia – wow, there were some fiiine girls! Ghana too and Nigeria, of course. Sade’s family is from my village, Ikola-Ekiti, so maybe the prettiest girls are there?
…do you go to escape
I never relax-o! Actually, I always call my studio my “first wife”. I spend a lot of time there and always feel very relaxed when I get to work on my music.
… do you most want to go?
I have never been to Japan – some musicians from my American band are Japanese and I have always wanted to take my music there.
How many languages can you say hello in?
Probably around 10 but I’m not going to go through them now!
Orlando Julius’ album ‘Jaiyede Afro,’ recorded with The Heliocentrics, is out now.
View other artist profiles performing at the Worldwide Awards 2015: