Tobi Oluwo

Student. Photographer. Beat producer. Renaissance man. These few words depict this man of a few words. However, he's starting to make noise in the DMV scene and beyond. He's taken photos of J. Cole, Chaz French, Rae Sremmurd, Julz and many more. He just started making beats in the spring of last year--they sound far from amateur. So, with all these gifts it seems Oluwo should already be bubbling. In due time. theboyintime, in due time.

What made you pursue your passions?

Over my life I moved around--I was between Nigeria, London and Nigeria again. But, I moved here in 2013, but I didn't have much going on at the time. I had to wait till January 2014 to get back into school. So, I just decided to pick up a camera and go out and take more pictures again because that's how I connected with everything around me--and pretty much how I made most of the friends I have in the DMV. It just made me more focused, [I] took more chances and I just tried to be a better person.

So why did you decide to major in information technologies instead of going the artsy route?

Ever since I was young, I just didn’t fit in with most of the stuff that goes on—it sounds a little bit cliché but that was just me. I just didn’t mess with the s**t people used to do. I guess the arts are how I communicate with people better and say how I feel. I’m not too good with words either.

What was a standout moment with your craft?

I think coupled with the fact I moved here and I was in a new environment with people I could relate to, it kind of made me know I was doing the right thing. The work ethic I have with my art helps drive my academics too. So, that just made me more passionate about everything. Yo, 2015 was like a stepping stone to good stuff that’s definitely going to happen this year. I did a couple of festivals, did some concerts, I had my first art show, I went to California and all that stuff. The photo shoot that stood out the most was the Soulection show in D.C. I had to sneak my camera in at the show and yo the shots I got—they were too lit. That was how I got into two more concerts to shoot over the summer. This year, I’m trying to do things bigger and better—another one.

So why did you decide to major in information technologies instead of going the artsy route?

Ever since I was young, I just didn’t fit in with most of the stuff that goes on—it sounds a little bit cliché but that was just me. I just didn’t mess with the s**t people used to do. I guess the arts are how I communicate with people better and say how I feel. I’m not too good with words either.

 What made you get into beats?

Music pushes my work. But at some point, you can’t wait for Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West to drop a new album and be like, “Oh wow, I’m super hype,” now I’m going to do a new shoot. But, I put [music] out in the same way because [that] is how I feel at the time. There is this one guy who is a photographer and beat producer at the same time—it’s Ta-ku. I followed him on Instagram for like two months and after I listened to some of his stuff, I was like, “Wow, why don’t I go ahead and reverse engineer the process.” So, I wanted to see if I could make music and push that out and inspire people while I try to find new fire in myself to do bigger things.

What is the name of your EP and what does it mean to you?

Blossom—that’s the name of the EP. It’s pretty much the foundation for everything I stand for. You’ve just gotta grow, you’ve gotta get better, become greater and be true to yourself. If I played you my old beats and then played this you’d be like, “Yo, did you jump time?”

Blossom EP

So, tell me your creative process for photography and when you make music. Are there any similarities or differences?

Well with photography, you have to constantly think about new ideas—just try to evolve. So, it’s all about how the things you take in your environment and how you put it back out. Music for me, it comes in the moment. Last year, I didn’t even think I was going to do an EP. But, my friend pushed me to do it and in about a week I made seven songs. I started to get better at making music in September or October of last year and all of a sudden I do seven songs in one week—the hell just happened? They might be amateur but it’s still a big move for me. But there aren’t major differences [in my creative process.] As long as you’re driven and focused, you’re gonna come through with something good. 

Check out the full interview below:

 

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