Picture this: You’re cruising the streets of beautiful Los Angeles in a Tesla, windows down and the clock striking midnight. The sounds of Suté Iwar‘s latest album, “ULTRALIGHT,” pour from the speakers and instantly lift your mood.
The Nigerian artist and producer has truly outdone himself with this genre-blending offering, showcasing his impressive versatility and talent. “ULTRALIGHT” is an evolution of his signature sound, where he skillfully channels soulful vocals and seamlessly blends them with a variety of genres such as R&B, Alternative and Afrobeats.
For Suté, the album’s title “ULTRALIGHT” represents the highest level of optimism and being the best version of ourselves. Reminiscing on the creative process, he shares that the project didn’t really start to take shape until he made “SIGNS” in September of 2021. “After I was done with that and heard it, it felt like the foundation of a whole new project that was based on that optimism.”, he remarks. He continues, “Life isn’t always perfect, but there are always signs that guide us towards growth. We must always keep moving forward.” This creative spark then led to the creation of other tracks like “JUDAH LION” and “MEDITATE,” which were all made around the same time.
As someone who has always been heavily involved in the production of his music, it’s no surprise that Suté produced over half the songs on the album. However, this project was his most collaborative yet, with many producers he admires adding their touch to the tracks and features from incredible artists like WurlD, Tay Iwar, Lex Amor, Ogranya, Tim Lyre, Efe Oraka, RayTheBoffin, kadiata and Twelve XII.
We had the pleasure to chat with him about the creative process behind the project.
HR: I gotta talk to you about “The Pleasure Principle”. Where was your head at with that and what was the inspiration behind it? It’s a stand out record, in a really good way.
Suté Iwar: I love that song, I think it’s my favorite song on the album right now because it’s so much fun. At the same time it has so many layers to it and it really draws people in. The foundation of the song was already there when I got it from the producer, Ray. He’s an amazing producer and once I heard it I knew I had to add some complexity to it. It didn’t feel like a song I should sing on, it felt like I needed to be direct about what I was going to say. The story I’m telling in the verses of pleasure principle are all based on real things that happen to us as people. Some parts of the story are personal and some are from friends. The general idea is if you decide to chase pleasure there’s no end to it.
HR: I noticed that over half the songs are produced by you. Why did you choose to be heavily involved in the production? Was it intentional – perhaps do you feel that it’s because nobody else would be able to express your sound better than you could or was it something that just naturally ended up happening?
Suté Iwar: That was really natural. I’ve always produced most of my music. If you go check the credits on all my prior projects I’m heavily involved in the production so that’s always the case. Interestingly, this is my most collaborative project ever because while I produced most of the songs I had a lot of great producers that I admire add to the songs and help flesh out the songs. There’s also more features on this project than I’ve ever had on any project and it reflects what the past year and a half has been like for me. I’ve been working with artists that I really enjoy and getting to have their voices on songs.
HR: Which song took the longest to complete?
Suté Iwar: It is hard to remember which song took the longest to complete because some songs start and maybe I’ve done my part and I’m waiting for a feature and sometimes those don’t not come immediately. I can speak on the oldest songs on the project which are ICE DUB and THE LIGHT. Those are both songs that I worked on in 2019 and they never really fit into any of the projects I was doing until this one so those are the oldest songs and I guess they took the longest to complete ’cause they’re just coming out now.
For Iwar, the essence of “ULTRALIGHT” is all about spreading positivity and inspiring people to live their best lives.The album is a personal reflection of his own journey, as well as the experiences of those around him. “I’m just sharing my story and the stories of everyone who’s been a part of my journey,” he explains, “It’s up to people to interpret it how they want.”
“I hope listeners can take away a sense of optimism and the idea of always striving to be the best version of themselves,”
HR: If someone came across you for the first time, and had never heard your music – what is the song you’d tell them to go listen to because you feel it represents you the most?
Suté Iwar: I’m not sure, I guess I’ll tell them to listen to the next song because my current release is always the best representation of me in that moment.
HR: What is it like having a brother that’s also an artist? Do you guys often go to each other for opinions on your music etc, or do you generally keep that separate?
Suté Iwar: We’re always talking about music, sometimes our music, sometimes other people’s music. It’s just an ongoing conversation about music generally, all the time.
HR: This is my favourite question to ask artists because I feel like no one can quite understand your sound like you yourself can. If you were to describe your sound in a car, time and location, what would you say?
Suté Iwar: I like this question. I would say my sound would be a Tesla at midnight in Los Angeles.
As the final notes of ULTRALIGHT fade away, it’s clear that Suté Iwar has delivered yet another masterpiece that defies genre boundaries and leaves listeners in awe. From the sultry lyrics of “THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE” to the standout production and flows in “JUDAH LION”, every track on the album is a testament to Suté’s incredible talent and creativity.