Lekan Is Keeping The Faith With ‘So You Know’ Ahead Of Opening For Tems On Her World Tour

“I consider this EP to be a very beautiful introduction to me – both sonically and creatively, and how I process things like love, heartbreak, and joy.”

The future is looking very bright for Lekan. The Columbus, Ohio-born singer is just a few days removed from the release of his debut EP So You Know, and in less than three months, he will begin a nine-show run as an opener for Tems on her Born In The Wild World Tour. It’s been a long time coming for the singer who brought his talents to Los Angeles, where he is currently based, with the goal of achieving all his music dreams. So You Know and the Born In The Wild World Tour are the beginning moments on that journey.

Fresh off the release of So You Know, Uproxx caught up with Lekan to discuss his gig as an opener on the Born In The Wild World Tour, his So You Know EP, and more.

What was your first reaction to hearing that you’ll be an opening act for Tems’ Born In The Wild World Tour?

I for sure screamed [laughs]. Outside of that, I was just super grateful because when you getting somewhere, you never really know what that actually looks like. So when you get somewhere to that extent and to that platform, you’re just thankful for never really giving up. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.

What helped you stay patient in the time before your breakout “Need Somebody?” How did you remain confident that your moment was coming?

The work. I knew that the work that I was doing was just eventually going to have to be seen because I wasn’t going to stop. I knew the work that I was putting out was quality, it was just only a matter of time until the world would figure it out. I just kept doubling down on just quality work and it would speak for itself.

What was the moment that you realized things were changing for the better?

It’s really interesting because a lot of stuff that the world is starting to figure out, is something that like I feel like I was showing a long time ago. I’ve always say where it started to really changed for me was when I moved to LA. That was really when it started changing for me. From there, I was just like nothing’s ever gonna be the same. So I just kept making sure [that] I put myself in position to be aligned with like-minded individuals who could see my vision, could see my life, and could prioritize me to help me make this into a thing. It only made it easier because I would just want to run with them.

For the tour with Tems, what are you most excited for and what are you most nervous about?

I’m not nervous. I truly feel like I’m just gonna keep doing what I’ve been doing, if anything, just do at times 10. I have no fear about that because it’s just something that I’ve just been doing. What I’m most excited about is to be able to really see the people, to see the real time interactions with new fans or even just supporters that came out to see me. Seeing what that actually looks like, seeing the actual impact of these records in real time, watching people actually singing along, the experiences that I’m going to have along the way in different environments, and then also sharing that with my childhood best friend who produced the title track who’s gonna be on the right side of the stage with me for every show. That’s what I’m most excited about.

What do you hope fans takeaway from hearing So You Know and seeing you perform from it?

I just want them to be sonically introduced to me. I want them to know that I care about the music, the craft, and the advancement of this sound to see how much it can really impact people. I was blessed with a gift to be utilized when it comes down to music, but I just want people to understand that it really also just stems from taking initiative, having faith in something bigger than you, but also yourself. None of this stuff is happening without confidence. So, just take that, run with it, and apply that within their own system.

Bongo ByTheWay is your right-hand man in your career so far, I feel like he’s to you what D’Mile is to Lucky Daye. How did this relationship start and what makes him the perfect collaborator for this point of your career?

It’s really helped, honestly. You can come to the table and then you just see what someone else can also just bring to the table, as well. He’s someone that had accolades and just experience walking into this. For me personally, it was dope to see someone who looked like me, as far as like Nigerian American just out here really making a name for himself. When him and I started to work together, he just affirmed me. He was just one of the first people to really put his arm around me and really be like, “Nah, he’s the one,” and just affirm me, really believe in me, and push me ultimately. He definitely pushed me and got a lot out of me. I’m really grateful, forever indebted to how he just did that off of discernment, honestly. He could have handled it in so many different ways, but he did the right things in handling it. I’m grateful for the relationship that him and I have built.

You once tweeted that you have to listen to Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 2” and The Kurt Carr Singers’ “For Every Mountain” or your days feel weird. What are some other things that are key to your routine? Especially before a show.

Before a performance, I always got to listen to jazz or Anita Baker — just certain things that keep me in such a very mellow mode. It’s a lot of noise, you just got to be able to find your way to stand firm and find your own little process of things that you need to do to keep you firm within whatever’s going on. Also family, I always gotta talk to a loved one of mine every day. If it’s not all of them, it’s one of them for sure. I have to do that.

What song on this project do you think speaks best to your artistry and the experience can best define you by?

If I had to choose, I would say “Change.” That’s one thing that is solely just me which is something that I wanted to highlight. I felt like it was a very important part of my process for people to understand. I do stuff like that all the time, I have albums-worth of like stuff like that. It was just really important for me to make sure that the world understand the identity, the texture, the intentionality, [and] the care, that stuff takes a lot of time. It might be probably 8/9-hour sessions for just to do that one song. It’s definitely nothing light, it’s definitely not nothing easy. Yeah, I think that something that I would like for the world to really understand like, “Okay wow, this dude’s sound is… he definitely cares about trying to push the sound.”

If there’s one word that could describe the last year for you, what would it be? And what do you hope the next year brings you?

This year, I would say is affirming. It’s been affirming to everything that I’ve always believed, everything that God has always shown me, everything that I’ve always known to be true, which is that I could do anything that I put my mind to through Christ that strengthens me. Every time I gotta circle back bro because I could say that I’ve done everything on my own strength and put myself in position, but there’s a lot of stuff that is just simply based off of His favor and based off of me being faithful to focus on what He was showing me when it didn’t look like it. So, I guess affirming will be this season [and] this year and then next year will be faithful. Just continue to stay faithful to the craft, faithful to the grind, [and] faithful to the goal which is to inspire the masses. What comes with that is just gonna come with that, and it’s gonna be a lot, but I’m only just gonna get stronger to be able to withstand it.

So You Know is out now via At The Studio/ByTheWay/Human Re Sources. Find out more information here.