Right of the start of the ‘It’s Alright’ music video by the North London up-and-coming talent Dolapo, I think to myself, she is so underrated, I bet she’ll blow up soon. Dolapo gives off 90s vibes with lava lamps, flip phones, and old school video recorders in her newest music video for ‘It’s Alright.’ She serves undeniable beauty with a voice that calls for a big crowd to be heard.
Watching Dolapo’s work, you wouldn’t really guess she’s shy and has struggled with self-confidence. However, this was the reality for the young singer/songwriter and a reason for a two-year-long break as she lost touch with writing. When Dolapo was 14, she went to a music club at a local youth club every week, and she would write produce and record with a friend. “I think I always had the inkling that I could sing. The songwriting part was definitely encouraged by my friends and just being in the studio from a young age”, Dolapo says about her beginnings.
Coming at you from Tottenham, North London, Dolapo has always been surrounded by various influences from an early age. “Being the baby of the house, I grew up with sooo many different genres around the house! With my Dad playing Classical music or Afrobeat (Fela Kuti & Lagbaja) to my Mum dragging me to Church and singing along to Gospel music, to my older sisters blasting all the R&B & Hip-Hop you could find. I definitely took a little something from everybody”, she elaborates.
Talking about North London, I asked Dolapo to compare her ground with the rest of the city, and her answer only highlights the current diversity coming out of London. “That’s a hard one cause I feel like all over London we bring the heat. I would probably say North London has an undeniable range. Our talent can go from the hardest of grime MCs to having one of the best drill artists right now to r&b queens like myself and Miraa May to pop-soul legend Adele”, she says.
While losing touch with writing, Dolapo decided to take a break, I wondered what got her back in the game: “I think my passion and love for music; I couldn’t just let it go. Realising that I really wanted to embark on my solo career and my team just gassing me up to believe in myself”, she replies.
It is fair to say it was Dolapo’s fans and her closest circle of friends that helped her build back up her confidence. She admits the responsibility to perform was a push factor: “Constantly throwing myself in the deep end. When people are showing up for you, buying your tickets and just generally rooting for you, you have no choice but to show up and show out”.
I don’t think people as fans realise what level of vulnerability and ability to open up goes into making a song. Artists end up pouring their hearts out to producers they might’ve known for a few weeks. Dolapo gives us her insight: “It’s very rare that someone I’m working with for the first time will just wanna get right to it lool. I actually enjoy the little icebreaker conversations we have first, and I think it’s very important. I’m about to sing about my life with you; I have to be comfortable or trust that the right vibe is going to be understood. If it’s someone I’ve worked with before, my true, the probably annoying or funny side might come out more.”
Dolapo’s debut EP ‘A Short Love Story’ released in 2019, gives us a snipper of her talents and abilities to tell a story. This particular one covers the whole spectrum of emotions you might have for someone; she explains: “For me, ASLS goes through every possible emotion you could go through with someone from the honeymoon period vibes on ‘I Swear’ to “I’mma head out “with ‘Something New’. I love when people reach out about the songs they relate to on there”.
I briefly touched upon Dolapo’s most recent single ‘It’s Alright,’ but let me say this, the song is a smash. She actually reveals why the energy may feel different: “I feel like this song was just another fun persona for me to step into. Usually, I’m very reserved, very quiet. I don’t usually gas myself up toooo much lool. But one day I just woke up on some boss-ish like, Yo, I bring this to the table, I ‘ma upgrade you, just some different energy. It was fun.”
What is even more fun is the music video for ‘It’s Alright.’ I’m getting the 90s aesthetic similar to Ariana Grande’ 7 Rings’ and the undeniable confidence Beyonce served in ‘Upgrade U.’ Along with lava lamps and flip phones, Dolapo in her blue wide-leg jeans seems in her element like never before.
Even in her Instagram bio, Dolapo adds ‘2000>>>>2020’ that clearly demonstrates her appreciation for the 90s. While talking about how she misses the excitement of the era, she also mentions TRL that every 90s kid was crazy about. “The dope fashion is already making its way back. So I’m gonna say, the exclusivity of the stars back in the day. I feel like I grew up only feeling close to my idols when I’d see them on TV or a computer screen or running through rush-hour crowds in Central London after school with my older sisters to catch the celebs on TRL. I think I miss that excitement and thrill”.
Another honorable mention among Dolapo’s project is her collaboration with Hardy Caprio on ‘Something New.’ “I loved working with Hardy. He’s very funny, very clever and amazing writer. He actually approached me about the idea and the song, and I defo could relate, so we just built the song for a while until we finally felt like it was ready”, and the result is spectacular, might I say.
Dolapo also shares his piece of mind on the Black Lives Matter movement and shares her feeling of hope: “It’s a bittersweet feeling for me. I’m so happy and maybe even (dare I say it)excited for the future. This is probably the first time I’ve ever felt that a change is gonna come, it’s just also heartbreaking that it took and is taking so much blood and pain. During Blackout Tuesday, I actually used that day to educate myself even more and learned about being more conscious about spending more in black-owned businesses in my day to day and how quickly money leaves the black community in comparison to others”.
Words: Karolina Kramplova