10th Annual R&B Song Nominee

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Record Label: Underground Sun/Phanai Media Group

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Home Base: Boston, MA, U.S.A.

Genre: Soul

Category Entered: R&B Song

Work Submitted: “This Time Around”

Artists Featured: David Franz and Francis Phan are co-writers on this song.

Label: Underground Sun

URL: www.iyeoka.com

Influences: Zap Mama made a big impact on me on presenting for live shows. I love how Marie leads her tribe.

What’s the meaning of your band name? ‘Iyeoka’ means I want to be respected in my native language Ishan. When I perform with my full band, my musicians are called “The Rock by Funk TriBe”.

Describe your nominated work: “This Time Around” is far from just a slogan or a silent vow. This Time Around is an anthem addressing the hopes and dreams of each of us, from the individual to the Nation, and the innate power we all have within us to change everything. As we navigate through some of the most transitional periods of our generation, the song was written to speak of the journey that catapults us through the challenges and triumphs and the extraordinary changes we’d like to make in our lives as we continue forward.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 10th IMA’s? We believe in the cross-generational impact of our song and we respect The IMA’s commitment to supporting the independent artist.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? One of my producers, David Franz wrote the first few books on Protools! We had great access to options when building our song from idea to completion.

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? The happy accident was the song itself… we never expected to write such a powerful song within the first few hours of meeting each other. It was meant to be.

Did fans help you fund this project? Yes! February 2010 we ran a $10,000 goal 90 day KICKSTARTER campaign that was critical to completing the project for our kind of ambitious November 2010 album release date. We’ve also had some angel investors that came through when the project was in need of major resources. We have such an incredible team believing in delivering our music to more people.

Who’s sitting in your audience? “TEDsters” mostly these days. I have been traveling all over the globe for various performance invitations after I was awarded a TED Global Fellowship in 2010 from the worldwide TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) organization. Everywhere I present I am now encountering people who have either been to a TEDx event or have watched videos on line. My audience is becoming quite global.

What makes your fans unique? Because I see my fans as members of my TriBe, my fans stand out to me as family and represent the spectrum of many communities. My TriBe consists of a pretty wide demographic because of the nature of presenting work as an artist. I am blessed with elders and colleagues and old co-workers from my other career as a pharmacist. I have TriBe who have been following my journey from the beginning, and others as fresh as high school students discovering me for the first time through my poetry residency work in school systems.

Are there any songs you wish you wrote? Many. I am a true lyric and melody fan. For one of many, I wish I wrote Yesterday by Paul McCartney of the Beatles. Such a cool story of inspiration on how he came up with that song. Stories on how amazing songs are born are priceless.

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? I listen to a ton of country music. The culture of country music has always fascinated me. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I could write a good country song. I’m a lover of a compelling story that cuts through the music. Country music makes good on that intention to tell a simple or layered story.

What is your dream show lineup? I love the spirit behind Festival line-ups with a variety of artists and genres in different stages of their touring careers. Look up any Bonnaroo line up any given year..DREAM lineups. As far as a one night only line ups, I have my heart set on an ultimate dream involving a show with fellow Nigerian/African compatriots: Sade & Seal…that would be epic. I have also had a long standing dream to share a stage along with Michael Franti who I have seen transform a theatre with positive natured music and empowered spirit.

What are your guilty pleasures on the road? whiskey and chicken flavored tofu (miracles!)

Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? All my moments on tour seems to fall into safe categories of lessons, blessings & miracles.

Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? A quick high five to my homies and a slip into the ladies room for a brief cabbage patch and breakdancing session in front of the mirror kicks my spirits sky high before I take to the stage.

Should music be free? Access to music can make a poor man feel rich. Who can deny a poor man that gift! To those living in circumstances of poverty then yes music should be free. On a related note, I respect the direction of creative commons.

How has digital affected your career? All blessing. The access to communicating with my supporters digitally, have made an epic difference in delivering me to a growing career. Years of staying active in the digital world is acting as a great resume of art and journey. Because I am a writer, I can go anywhere in the world and still stay connected with my professional work flow.

Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? The combination of the two is a more likely prediction of future arrangements. There are still a ton of artists like myself who can appreciate the art and the challenge involved in an all out full and intentional album project.

Finish this sentence: The music industry is… EVOLVING…thank goodness.