In the Summer of 2021, BIMM Berlin welcomed a selection of its students to the House of Music to record the ‘BIMM Berlin Album 20/21’. Eight projects, hand-picked by industry panels to showcase the best music emerging from the college, each recorded one song over the course of two weeks.
With the legendary Pete Smith (Stevie Wonder, Sting, Sheryl Crowe) on board as producer and giving extensive feedback and input, the students enjoyed access to a wealth of industry experience. With genres ranging from ‘jazz metal’ to electro-pop, the songs make an eclectic and awe-inspiring body of work.
We caught up with each of the eight acts featured on the record to find out more about the meaning behind their track. Here Ingri Galanti and co-producer Jonathan Olowookere (also known as BOYEGA) tells us about ‘Born In Fire’.
How would you describe your music?
Ingri: I’d say my music so far is a mix of soul, R&B, Rock and a little bit of Electronic.
Jonathan: As a music producer the sound of your productions depends on the artist’s wishes and their sonic aims. So far many of the artists I´ve worked with strive for a (modern) Pop sound, which I am also comfortable with producing and might even consider one of my most relevant foundations. My personal sound is closely tied to the projects I am working on for others since I learn new techniques, sonic combinations of tastes with each one.
What made you want to become a musician?
Ingri: I’ve always performed since I was a child, whether it was dancing, singing and theatre and I’ve always had a passion for music. I started to realize I wanted to become a singer when I attended a music program with my school and started performing in small venues in Italy. I could see myself doing this as a real profession.
Jonathan: Growing up on the drums and the piano I have always loved playing music and sharing those moments and experiences with other musicians. Writing songs in bands and having the need to capture ideas closely to how I envision them in my head made me become very interested in music production. Combining that with a curiosity for the mechanisms and systems of the music industry made me be interested in pursuing a career in music.
Who or what inspires you as an artist?
Ingri: I’ve had a lot of musical influences from my parents, such as Queen, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin and many more. Basically all rock, soul and pop music from the 60’ till the 90’. More contemporary artists I take inspiration from are singers like Beyonce, Anastasia, Emilie Nicolas, Paolo Nutini, Harry Styles and Zayn. And bands like Nothing but thieves, Måneskin, 5sos, X Ambassadors and Highasakite.
Jonathan: I get inspired by a lot of things, ranging from single sounds to new production techniques. I also love when artists come to me with song compositions and ideas that are meaningful to them. That often sparks something in me wanting to help them bring their songs to life. Based on that there´s some great music I´ve gotten to work on.
What’s the meaning behind the song you recorded for the BIMM Berlin Album?
Jonathan: The song comes from a place of building the confidence to take on the world and expressing that to yourself. I hope whoever listens will gain trust in themselves to overcome the obstacles they might face.
How did the song come about and how did you write/produce the song?
Jonathan: Initially the lead line came to me just before going to sleep. Some of the instrumental features I wanted the production to have were very clear right from the beginning, like the heavy drums, the synth melody or the intense vocals. I recorded what I had in mind on my phone and carved out the arrangement in the following days /weeks. The voice I believed could bring this song to life needed to be strong and show a lot of character. In one of the End of Term gigs, I saw Ingri Galanti perform and she got me hooked right away. The basic writing was done when I got to her, but we worked on finishing the writing together. Pete Smith had crucial input on the song structure and the writing as well. We had the demo production before starting the recordings at BIMM, but working with Pete Smith, Fabio Buemi and Ruby Smith made “Born In Fire” into the song it is now.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
Ingri: It depends if I’m working alone or with someone else. If I work with someone else I have a melody line for the song idea and then I write the lyrics usually on the spot and then I revisit them when the song is completed. If I’m working on my own I usually have the melody first and then lyrics later. But sometimes if the ‘right’ lyrics are not there yet I have a few streams of consciousness kind of pages of lyrics where I take inspiration or phrases depending on what I need.
What projects are you currently working on?
Ingri: I have a few solo songs ideas that I’m trying to finish and then I can start building up the instrumental parts. These are more ballad or acoustic kind of vibe. And then I have a few finished songs with an Italian friend/ producer which I am currently working on and they are more R&B/ hip hop orientated.
Jonathan: I have finished the productions for some of my student colleagues. Currently I´m waiting for the release dates for 2 songs with Isis Silva, 1 song with Lili Nitsche and 1 song with Kris Berntsen, while I´m already working on the second songs for Lili Nitsche and Kris Berntsen. I am also producing remixes for Isis Silva and Kris Berntsen, which will be a collaboration under my own artist project called “BOYEGA”. There´s also a bigger project with Ella Raatikainen who studies Vocals at BIMM. We´re forming a music group called “Sonder Park” and we are currently writing and producing songs that are planned to be released in 2022.
What are your future plans as an artist?
Ingri: I initially thought I wanted to be a solo artist but as time goes by I’m looking for a full band that I can work on permanently. The idea would be a rock-oriented band but very flexible on mixing up the genre with soul and electronic sounds.
Jonathan: My future plans are to produce music for artists, helping them to narrow down their sound and helping them to grow. The band project “Sonder Park” is the main ambition, we want to write more songs and eventually play live shows. And my personal creative endeavours will hopefully come to fruition under the artist name “BOYEGA”. These 3 things will be my focus for the coming times.
Ingri Galanti and Jonathan Olowookere’s track ‘Born in Fire’ is featured on the BIMM Album from Berlin. You can read more about the album and the other artists + tracks featured here.