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Rukmani: “Clear Road For Softie” [Excl. Interview]

I can never separate because my art is very personal to me. How can I express myself without expressing exactly what needs to be?

– RUKMANI ON BALANCING HER ARTISTIC AND PERSONAL LIFE

In a world where the pressure to put up a tough front is rife, balance is imperative. There are situations that call for macho and urgency, while a more measured approach is more fitting for some. Confidence must accompany one’s chosen mien, even when it runs contrary to general expectations. There are hard gems, and there are soft gems.

Rukmani.

Soft gems tell many stories, shaped by an enduring and evocative luster. Rukmani, born Udogie Omosigbo, is a fitting example of such gems. In a relatively short run in the industry, she has crafted a definite artistic identity hearkening to deep sensibilities and relatable experiences. After a string of singles beginning with 2021’s ‘Bruce Wayne’ and ‘Satori’, Rukmani yielded her first body of work, Angel On The Run in June 2023.

Following the release of her subversive single, ‘No Social Media‘ on the 16th of February, 2024, our representative engaged with Rukmani in a virtual interview. The interview primarily touches on her evolving outlook on life and her approach to her artistry, as well as her early and contemporary musical inspirations.

AT: Surely, the sentiment in your latest single, ‘No Social Media’ is a relatable one. Was the record inspired by a specific moment or the general state of things?

Rukmani: I’ll say that in some moment, I realized what I have been doing generally and I put that in a track.

AT: That’s alright. You have also come a long way from your 2021 debut single, ‘Bruce Wayne’. Your 2023 EP, Angel On The Run, has also reinforced your status as an artiste to look out for. Approaching your third year in the industry, what do you consider your biggest lessons?

Rukmani: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is to be vulnerable, but be wise with it. Not everyone needs to know everything about you, no matter how much you might want them to know you. Be human. Love, care, give without expectations. But don’t bring your guard down too much or else someone will definitely overstep.

AT: Certainly. That being said, do you ever feel the need to separate your personal experiences from your artistry? How much of an impact does the former have on the latter?

Rukmani: I can never separate because my art is very personal to me. How can I express myself without expressing exactly what needs to be? I honestly don’t get that. I need people to know that I’m just like them—only I’m me and you’re you.

AT: A tried and tested recipe for resonance. What influenced your choice of genres though, notably Neo-Soul and Afro-RnB?

Rukmani: As a 2000 baby, I remember listening to a lot of Styl-Plus, Resonance, P-Square and let me even say 2Face. I remember singing ‘Olufunmi’ by Styl-Plus over and over till my brother would just chase me out of his room. I think I carry these legends and more somewhere in my subconscious mind where they influence my music without even my knowing.

Rukmani.

AT: These make for really sweet memories. Asides these OGs, who are your biggest musical influences?

Rukmani: Well, apart from the OGs I’ve already mentioned, I’m gonna say Burna Boy. I listen to a whole range of artists though, so it’s kind of hard to pinpoint who exactly influences me the most.

AT: Have you ever felt the nudge to make more mainstream music?

Rukmani: Call me bragging, but I see all my songs as mainstream. And that thing that we Nigerians see as mainstream? I can do that too. I have done it and I will do more and still do something different from it.

[LISTEN] Rukmani – No Social Media

AT: As a Port-Harcourt native, do you hold a sense of pride over the musical heavyweights your city has produced over the years?

Rukmani: I’m an Edo babe. Not only did I grow up in a city that brought forth amazing artists like Burna and Omah Lay, I come from a state whose people are also taking over the music industry. I’m very proud of this.

AT: How important is community to you as a creative? What does your support system look like?

Rukmani: No man/woman is an island, and I will forever be grateful to my community and to my team. I am nothing without my people.

AT: As the year 2024 gradually takes shape, what can listeners expect from your upcoming releases?

Rukmani: I can’t say what to expect, but I can say, ‘Clear road for Softie’ because it’s my time.

– This interview was conducted and written by Clinton Durueke, an Album Talks writer (X: @ClintCDurueke).

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