Maleek Berry’s skill in picking out a convincing melody is the most important part of this project.
EP – "First Daze Of Winter"
Artist – Maleek Berry
Record Label – Berry's Room (2018)
Duration – 20 minutes
This is Maleek Berry at his finest. He’s wooing a lady from start to finish, offering his heart, body and spirit in the pursuit of wholeness in passion. And while he doesn’t always win, he scores points for being earnest, sincere and melodious.
This is only Maleek Berry’s sophomore EP, but it is appearing at a time when his profile stands very tall. Think of his previous body of work – “Last Daze Of Summer,” – which arrived at a time when the star was just trying to balance out his celebrity and sound brought on by the hit song ‘Kontrol’. Future releases have cemented his spot as one of the most exciting voices in African music, a position that he has explored to generate value for himself and the culture. In December 2017, he held his first headline concert in Lagos, Nigeria, selling out the prestigious Hard Rock Café.
“First Daze of Winter” is a 6-track extension of that run, and the start of a new chapter in his career. Berry is pushing and hoping for more reach and fans on this one. While its predecessor had romance as one of its themes, this project carries it as its guiding light and definitive arc
‘Been calling’, a 2017 hit record starts off with a vulnerable Maleek calling for attention from a love interest. “You know I’ve been calling, you don’t wanna answer me…,” he pleads. This ‘seeking’ theme extends to ‘Pon my mind’, another single where he explains the mental workings of desire. “You got me tripping all up in your timeline just to see you ah/And you got a man are you gonna keep it all on the low…”
Elsewhere, he embraces the percussion of Highlife for one of his most descriptive records yet. This is pure woman-worship, dripping with syrupy lines delivered in Igbo, and a genuineness that carries the record to completion.
‘What if’ will resonate with anyone who’s navigated the perils of modern dating, and knows the heart-twisting mixture of pain and ecstasy that comes with a half-relationship with someone who won’t commit any more. Maleek transfers the responsibility of pursuit to the lady, who somewhere along the way managed to let emotions lead her to love. But like most of these things go, love loses in the end. “You’ve been trying to get my attention, see you throwing shades in your mentions…”
Much of what makes “First Daze Of Winter” win is the grooves. Maleek Berry’s skill in picking out a convincing melody is the most important part of this project. If all fails, the entertainment will lead you on, giving you happiness at the most, and occupation, at the least.