By: Jessica L. Dupree
Edited by: Darlene Aderoju
International recording artist Ibru has proven himself once again with the Friday release of his sophomore EP, Great One. The deeply meaningful project bespeaks his passion for social justice and mental health awareness. Through his new songs including “Crowned King,” “Feel Your Pain,” “Fall and Rise” and “Don’t Fold” (each uniquely infused with reggae and dancehall sounds) Ibru showcases his ability to use lyrics to inspire and amplify the voices of everyday people.
His all-new, seven-song EP features catchy, powerful and motivational tunes created to both elevate the mind and serve as a form of therapy to those coping with depression or in need of support.
Following the 2019 release of IRBU’s debut EP, titled “I’m So Focused,” Great One effectively solidifies his place as a revolutionary artist. Ibru’s music is original. His message is powerful and his purpose is global.
Ibru opens up to Heart and Soul about the meaning of Great One, the importance of both healing inner wounds and staying true to oneself.
Your song “Don’t Fold” has become a mental health anthem to so many people. In it, you sing that the harder the battle, the deeper the victory. What does this mean to you?
To me, it means nothing comes easily without hard work. We all go through struggles and have trials while striving to achieve our goals. But overcoming setbacks and winning in the end is the ultimate satisfaction.
How have you been able to stay mentally strong despite naysayers?
I think in order to be successful in life, you must first believe in oneself. Personally, I’ve found that understanding my purpose is the key propulsion of my tenacious drive to achieve my goals. People will never follow or listen to a person who does not truly believe in their dream. I know my purpose in life is to affect the lives of many in a positive way through music. So, I will never allow naysayers to shake me or disrupt the course of my destiny.
In your song “Feel Your Pain,” you sing about depression. You write about the inner cuts and scars that people hide. Can you tell me, in your words, what does it mean to be healed?
I feel that to be healed mentally, your old wounds have to be reopened. I think if a person has been hurting [emotionally] inside [because of something] many times, they should revisit some of their worst fears. But also, it’s important to remember that being able to open up to someone who you can trust about past issues can speed up the healing process.
What do you think is the importance of artists’ finding their own distinction in an oversaturated market?
It’s important to be true to oneself. If I be myself, I know definitely there is only one me. I trust and believe in the process. I don’t want to follow, but lead. True leaders will always shine as a diamond in the rough.
The topic of being crowned a king is continually growing. Tell me, what have you learned about your roots? What parts of your royalty have you been able to reclaim? Also, how has this new knowledge impacted your work?
I’d say, you must first embrace your past history before charting your way into the future. A tree that isn’t deeply rooted is bound to fall and succumb to winds. For me, understanding how I connect to the African continent was paramount. My predominant family tree stemmed mainly from Nigeria and Ghana. So that’s why I chose my stage name, “Ibru.” Ibru is actually a Ghanian language name that means “greatness.” The name has a commonality to both Nigerian and Ghanian cultures, so it brought a meshing of two cultures in one word.
What does it mean to be royal?
Being royal comes with responsibilities. You must carry yourself in a certain manner and be the example. It comes with a requirement of learning and understanding leadership. It is important to develop good leadership traits and attributes to effectively impact others.
Ibru’s new EP “Great One” is available on all streaming platforms