‘Intution’ by Lami Phillips is one of those rare albums that seem to just appear and you wonder, “where did this come from?” Sixteen tracks, solid production, strong lyrics, strong vocals with diverse styles ranging from hip-hop, spoken word, pop, soft rock and melodious ballads, it seems too good to be true, at least that was my reaction when I listened to Lami’s Freshman Album initially and countless times after.
Right from the first track titled ‘Music Intro’ which is an intro in a spoken word format, Lami defines very clearly what music means for her and what ‘Intuition’ is all about:
“Music for me is the essence of communicating life as we know it. Music takes you there. Music heals. Music Speaks. Music teaches. Music guides. Music is more than words, more than notes, more than beats. Music is life’s way, my way of communicating and conversing with the human mind. Music births, Intuition.”
Lami after the above introduction sets out to connect the dots on the beautiful qualities/essence of music that is “intuitive” taking her listeners from laughter, empathy, sadness, funky, sexy, cool to fun!
Not losing momentum and in seamless transition, Lami launches into her second track on Intuition titled ‘Rectangular ft. Ikon.’ In a style reminiscent of Jill Scott with IKON (who sounds a lot like Jay-Z) providing rap lines, Lami sings about the dating games men play. Ladies you will relate to this so well!
“ . . .Why would a girl fly like me be in the West Wing of your contemplation?” Lami boldly ask? “Why won’t you call me?” she further inquires. “Baby all of this hesitating is driving me insane. Your procrastinating makes me feel like the shape of your heart becomes rectangular,” she sings feeling and sounding down.
“Rectangular was a back and forth concept between myself and IKON. We were just talking about how guys and girls relate and how frustrating it is for a girl to realize how badly she needs a guy to call or try harder!” explains Lami to Ladybrille Magazine when asked about the idea behind the track.
Still following her ‘Intuition’ and letting go of the guy who won’t call, Lami finally finds THE ONE. ‘Him’ the third track on the album begins with a style reminiscent of the artist Sade. It is cool jazz with smoky sexy vocals and lyrics to match.
“The very first time I saw you, I knew we would be. The very first time I heard you, I knew it would be forever. You my darling were made for me before stars were stars and man was made. Before, birds could fly and I could sing. Before hearts could love, we were joined and the crazy awesome thing is we are one.”
Independent of the lyrics and beautiful hook, what can’t be ignored are the beautiful instrumentals, particularly the piano and the drums. Her vocals are never in conflict with the musical instruments at play and the production is well executed and allows even the background artists to shine without overshadowing the main act, Lami.
The jazzy feel carries through to the next track ‘Know’ which is a duo with MTV Africa award winning rapper and producer MI. “MI and I are good friends and he makes intelligent music that is easy to listen to,” says Lami to Ladybrille. “That’s the genius of MI Abaga! He’s also a fab writer so it was very easy to work with him. He produced four (4) of my songs and I’m sure we have more collaborations in us . . .fingers crossed.”
Lami does not limit herself to jazzy sounds. She shows her versatility with an Afro-pop dance track guaranteed to make you move titled ‘Ere Ife.’ ‘Ere Ife’ has a ‘world music’ feel to it. Featuring artist Eldee another big name in Nigeria’s music industry, Ere Ife (love play) basically says, ‘quit with all the talks and promises, follow me let’s go home and play a game of love.’ Lami, on this track, is a woman who knows what she wants and how to ask her love interest for it.
Taking it a notch down with an ultimate increase in tempo, ‘Truth’ the next track on the ‘Intuition’ album conjures up the style of musician Seal, particularly his 2003/4 “Love’s Divine Album, in Lami’s unique way. The song starts with one specific drum beat that is emphasized through the track as Lami in a confrontational manner ask the ‘Truth’ be known. The climatic point of the song introduces more of a rock element with a voice shouting “don’t let go of my hands.”
“Give or take, win or lose, live or die. It is time to choose. This here now is who we are. What will be? The truth or her?” . . .
‘Truth’ logically transitions to ‘Over Me’ and deals with the end of a relationship when it is over but someone in the relationship pretends but the signs are obvious. Lami calls out the obvious end of the relationship, after ‘Truth’ came out. “I was watching the movie “Cadillac Records” and started reflecting on the different perception of heartbreak, girl versus guy. The thing is when a guy is done, he’s done. Many times we ladies think (we) can hold on, try harder, be better but when it’s over, it’s over and you know it! (laughs).”
‘Semi ft ID Cabasa,’ ‘Cold’ and ‘Nuttin’ bring back the party element. ‘Semi’ still deals with the end of a relationship but the beats provide for an upbeat take on the song.
The next series of songs come even more highly recommended, ‘Love,’ ‘Find,’ ‘You.’
‘You’ is simply beautiful and shows versatility not only in style but in vocals. Lami sings mostly in Alto clef throughout the album but in ‘You’ she shows range venturing into the treble clef. ‘Find’ guaranteed to be a hit among the ladies, urges the guy in your life to try to make it work.
“. . .These eyes are tearing and I am afraid I need you so much more than I care to breathe. If you could find me, won’t you take a minute for me like you did before? Find me with your love. Show me who you saw when you decided this girl is the one to love. Love me. See me for who I am all inspite of me. So, I ask one more time, Find me with your love. . . I need to be your reason to smile. You know how to love, teach me how.”
‘Love’ is even more magical. “I wrote ‘Love’ from the most sincere part of my heart, hoping to communicate the truth about Love in a world where it has been translated wrongly,” Lami tells Ladybrille Magazine.
“To find love, you’ve got to define love. ‘Cos see the definition specifies the destination of a search that lies ahead for each heart. The seed of love is birth when the soul identifies the need for it. I have been in places so far from what I craved. Behaved in ways I scared true love away, pretended I had figured it out when sincerely I was on the wrong route, heading for loneliness and second best alternatives, cheap substitutes for the real thing. Love is hidden not so it can’t be found but so that it can be embellished. Love does not want to be taken for the mistake or romantic notion that it can be created or depicted by a rose. Love is what it says it is. Not some teenage disease that communicates with a kiss. Love is undeniably a brother of truth . . . love deserves to be known . . . Love is committing suicide to your past and letting the present breathe in you . . .”
Kaleidoscope ft MI track #14 brings back the upbeat, funky pop sound with some rap lines delivered by Lami and MI. “Kaliedoscope is the song that just reflects my questions about life and my own effort to try! It’s my “early morning, be motivated, you can do I in your own unique and special way!” song,” exclaims Lami to Ladybrille. For African music insiders and fans familiar with MI’s sound, you can feel his imprint on this track as producer with the way Lami delivers her rap lines, a style similar to MI’s in terms of word play and delivery.
Lami completes the album with ‘Always’ a soft ballad and ‘Psalms’ a soulful outro, recalling advice from both her parents about life and reciting ‘Psalms’ in ‘Yoruba,’ her native language.
Lami took eight months to complete the album working with numerous producers. The album cover was styled by Bolaji/Pink & Ruffles. Lami is signed to Veritas Musik.
Album rating: 4.5/5
Listen/Purchase Album, for a limited sale of $4.99, here
~Album Review by Uduak Oduok
~Get the scoop on Lami and her background here