© 2024 The Duluth-Superior Area Educational Television Corporation (WDSE)

The North 103.3 FM is licensed to The Duluth-Superior Area Educational Television Corporation (WDSE)
Locally Curated. Community Owned.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Every Wednesday at 4pm the North 103.3 highlights global artists during Northland Afternoon

World Music Wednesday: Obongjayar

Salome Gomis-Tresizé

World Music Wednesday is a new weekly segment on The North 103.3 FM. Every Wednesday at 4pm on Northland Afternoon, we will feature a brand new release or a significantly important past work from our vast library of music from around the world.

Support for World Music Wednesday comes from Simply Ballroom in Duluth's Craft District. https://www.simplyballroom.com/duluth

This week's World Music Artist Spotlight is Obongjayar.

Obongjayar was born in Calabar, Nigeria. The stage name Obongjayar merges ‘Obong’ which means King or God, and ‘Jayar’ which comes from the “Junior” of his birth name Steven Umoh, Jr.

Obongjayar was raised by his grandmother. Growing up, he fell in love with US Hip Hop artists like Eminem, Snoop Dog, and Kanye West while also getting involved in the Nigerian music scene. When he was 17, he relocated to London to live with his mother who had left Nigeria to escape Umoh’s abusive father.

While attending the University of Norwich, he worked at a shop and was exposed to R&B, Soul, and Afrobeat music, and began listening to artists like Radiohead, Billy Bragg, and Fela Kuti. Obongjayar fell in love with musicianship and knew he wanted to be more than just a rapper who rhymed over beats.

He began recording his own music in 2016 incorporating elements of afrobeat, spoken word, soul, and electronic music and began uploading his music to Soundcloud. His music was discovered by an executive at XL Recordings and in 2019 appeared on the album You Know What I’m Saying by Detroit Hip Hop artist Danny Brown.

In 2021, he was featured on the Mercury Prize -winning album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz, appearing on the single Point & Kill.

In 2022, Obongjayar released his solo debut album Some Nights I Dream of Doors to critical acclaim. The album explores themes of spirituality, politics, and his experiences as a Black person and features award winning tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia.

His latest single Just Cool was released in 2023 and blends 70’s West African funk with his unique vocal delivery.


Shane German comes to the North 103.3 via community radio station WYCE in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was the Music Director for 6 years. He's excited to explore a new city, and new terrain - and to engage with a new community.
Related Content