Nonso Amadi has now produced a body of work since he captured the imagination of a section of the public with the singles ‘Radio’ and ‘Tonight’.

At 6 songs, his new EP Free is far from a deep dive but substantial enough to give his fans something to hold onto and newcomers an idea of what he’s like. So what is he like?

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Well, Nonso Amadi is cool, young, and quite influenced by the softer music of the west. All of this is not strange to anyone familiar with his music. What is new is Mr Amadi is now courting the Nigerian audience more. It is not that the music now features heavy drums. It is not that he’s now singing in pidgin or Yoruba. It is not that he’s more cheerful than before. It is that he’s now featured artists who have claimed the hearts of Nigerians. Simi and Mr Eazi are tapped for two singles.

The Simi feature, ‘Better’ sounds closer to a Nonso Amadi song, with its suggestion of romantic longing. You could argue that the Mr Eazi feature isn’t a Nonso Amadi song. There is no other way to say it: the song is too celebratory given Nonso Amadi’s modest romantic accomplishments in previous songs.

It is the equivalent of finding the office sad sack doing the zanku on a Monday morning. You want him to be happy — but maybe not that happy. At the risk of sounding like a bad-belle, you want to ask: since when is Nonso Amadi so successful, he’s bragging about girls rushing him on a song? Whatever happened to the troubled lover?

The songs are pleasant to listen to. Nonetheless, the previously released ‘No Crime’ is the must-listen. That and the title track ‘Free’. On both songs, he’s romantically challenged in some way. The latter is especially good, as it shows some growth in terms of production: the sound is dynamic, switching elements and tempo from time to time and even uses a whistle at some point. In its way, it interprets the freedom the singer demands on the chorus and the album’s title.

Maybe the album’s final message is for early fans: The romantically troubled Nonso Amadi is still in his soul — but the musician wants to be free from that image.

HIGHLIGHTS: No Crime, Free, Better ft Simi

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Nigeria’s most acclaimed writer-reviewer. Business: www.criticsandbylines.com.

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