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William Onyeabor Does First-Ever Radio Interview with BBC, Discusses New Album and Future Plans

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Dec 16, 2014 11:34 AM EST

William Onyeabor spoke about his newest LP in his first radio interview with BBC Radio 6.

Throughout the past week, BBC Radio 6 aired a series of segments from elusive electronic artist William Onyeabor’s first radio interview conducted by Lauren Laverne. In the interview, Onyeabor discusses his plans for a new album to be released by Luaka Bop.

“I’m sending out another LP now, but this time around I’m talking strictly about Jesus Christ. It will come to you through my men from the U.S., from New York [Luaka Bop],” he said.

This interview comes at an exciting time for Onyeabor, whose complete discography box set was named “Best New Reissue” with a 9.0-rating from Pitchfork. Onyeabor is a bit of a mystery to the music world. Following the eight albums Onyeabor self-released between 1978 and 1985, he became a born-again Christian, refusing to speak about himself or his music again.

Various biographies can be found online. Some say he studied cinematography in the Soviet Union and returned to Nigeria in the mid-'70s to start his own film company, Wilfilms. Some say he was a lawyer with a degree from a university in the United Kingdom. Others portray him as a businessman who for years worked on government contracts in Enugu, Nigeria.

In the small town of Enugu, Nigeria, in the 1970s and '80s, Onyeabor made synth-heavy electronic tracks that still sound futuristic in 2013. When Luaka Bop contacted Onyeabor six years ago, it found that he had become a born-again Christian, had turned his back on music and now refused to speak about his work. Luaka Bop insisted for years, and Onyeabor finally relented and agreed to license his music to the label.

Lauren Laverne chatted with the enigma that is William Onyeabor all about his music, his travels and his future projects. Check out the interview here.

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TagsWilliam Onyeabor, BBC, BBC Radio, Pitchfork, New Album, Luaka Bop

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