Asuquomo wants to put Ottawa on the map

We spoke to the rapper after his sold-out POP Montreal show.

Asuquomo wants to take his city to new heights. As Montrealers, it can be easy to take our strong music community for granted. The city is spoiled with an abundance of creatives, along with the appropriate outlets to help their work reach the masses. After taking over the 2010s, Toronto will surely be passing the torch to Montreal as Canada’s next music mecca.

Cities with smaller creative hubs like Ottawa pose a variety of pros and cons. At once, its smaller scale allows for tighter, more meaningful connections to be made. However, making it out of the city can be an uphill battle.

Born in Nigeria, Asuquomo moved to Canada for university during his formative years. It is here where he started honing in on his creative side and experimenting with creating music. The young artist has already reached milestones in his touring adventures, opening for Nigerian standouts such as Wizkid and Burna Boy.

We spoke to the Ottawa rapper after his first Montreal concert, a sold-out show during POP Montreal’s 2021 edition.

Asuquomo on his first Montreal performance: “I really loved the show, the energy was there. It’s been a long time since I’ve performed, so every show right now — if you’re having fun, a crowd can tell.”
Last month, Asuquomo rocked his first Montreal performance.

Asuquomo on being an artist in Ottawa: “It does have some gems about it, like you could find a good living situation, find a good band situation with some friends, open mics and all of that stuff.

“One thing in Ottawa is you have to bring the excitement to them. People are not necessarily asking, ‘What’s happening tonight?’ You’re gonna have to really galvanize them. If there is a show tomorrow, make them know why they should be excited for it. I feel like that’s maybe one extra work that artists may not want to do but that’s what you have to deal with in Ottawa.”

“What works for Montreal and Toronto doesn’t quite translate in Ottawa. In Ottawa, you kind of have to figure out your own formula (for success). You have to come up with what works for you.”

Asuquomo on forthcoming projects: “I have a project next year for sure. Between now and that project, there will be a bunch of singles. We’re gonna focus on those singles as if they were projects, throughout the stories and their symbols. Maybe there will be videos, maybe a mini tour.”

Asuquomo on Nigerian music taking over the world: “It’s a great time to kind of be in on what’s going, on what the sound has to offer. I’m going over to (Lagos) go see what I can bring (to Canada) that hasn’t been seen.”

“Think about it: The world is liking Afrobeat, but the world has barely scratched the surface of what’s really happening there. I want to see what I can go unearth in my own way and present it to the Canadian market.” ■

For more on Asuquomo, please visit his website.

For more music coverage, please visit the Music section.