Introducing The U.K’s Rising R&B Star: Dolapo

I spoke to Dolapo about all things music and her debut EP ‘A Short Love Story’.

September 20, 2019 Elle Evans

Dolapo is one of the most refreshing and exciting acts currently breaking through the R&B scene in the U.K. The 24 year old songstress, born and raised in North London has just today released her debut EP A Short Love Story.

Music has always been something that comes naturally to Dolapo, even growing up alongside her older sisters performing Destiny’s Child at their home in Tottenham. Or coming downstairs on a Saturday morning to hear her Nigerian parents blasting Fela Kuti through the living room stereo.

Inspired by both present and past icons, Dolapo looks to names such as Jhene Aiko alongside early 2000’s favourite Ashanti “There’s this saying, ‘If it isn’t early 2000s R&B love, I don’t want it” stated Dolapo. Being asked who she makes music for the songstress replied ““I make music for girls who look like me,” she says. “It’s hard to go mainstream if you look like us and make R&B. I want to break that barrier and represent that sound”. 

To now have broken through and recorded with some of the U.K.’s biggest names including Mostack, Tion Wayne, Hardy Caprio and more. One of which you may be familiar with from Mostack’s recent album Stacko on track Make Me Fall In Love and You Can Keep Me Forever, which not only did Dolapo feature on but also co-wrote. It’s finally time for Dolapo to put down the pedal on her solo career and soak in the spotlight.

 A Short Love Story, is based around a relationship turned sour. However, it’s not all negative. Dolapo is still able to capture the early stages of the relationship, it was important for her to capture each phase. Made up of 5 tracks, A Short Love Story also features two previous bangers Down featuring WSTRN’s Louis Rei and Something New featuring Hardy Caprio. Vocally and sonically, her sound really reflects on her love for throwback R&B in which she craves but also holds onto that contemporary essence. Enriched with angelic harmonies and melodies this project I’m sure is going to mark a huge change in her career going forward.

I got the chance to catch up with Dolapo prior to the release and ask her a few questions! 

E: What was the main inspiration behind ‘A Short Love Story’ – Is it based around one specific person or?

D: I got to a point where I knew I was eager to put together a body of work. Around the same time I was going through a crazy period in the relationship I was in. That’s kinda when I wrote the single ‘Changes’. That relationship was short as hell but we literally went through all the emotions we could possibly go through. That’s how I came up with the title of the EP and more than half of the songs are definitely about that one person. 

E: You have two features, both Hardy Caprio and Louis Rei! How did they come about? What were the processes like?

D: Both very eye-opening and both linked in a funny way – I reached out to Louis to see if he’d be down to jump on another song of mine, which he was. We got in session, and once we got started vibing that day, ‘Down’ emerged. 
Then Wstrn invited me to perform the record on their tour and the final London date, Hardy was there and approached me about working on a song he had been working on. I think it was literally the next day, we went studio and started working on ‘Something New’.

E: If you were to pick one track from the EP, which one would be your favourite and why?

D: I have to say ‘Changes’… and I genuinely LOVEE every song on my EP. But ‘Changes’ just does something for me, I don’t know what it is. But I listen and connect with it almost like it isn’t my own song. Even though it was a tough one for me to write emotionally, I’m just so proud of it

E: You are at the very beginning of your career, is there anyone in particular that you would love to collaborate with in the future?

D: I would actually love to see more female collabs. So I’d say Mahalia, Ms Banks – I’m a big fan of theirs. I’d also like to do a major throwback collab with someone from the late 90s/early 00’s. That’s literally my favourite era of music. 

E: You were even a part of Mostack’s ‘Stacko’ album on ‘Make Me Fall In Love & You Can Keep Me Forever’! That’s sick! How did this come about? I believe you did a lot of writing and backing vocals before you became a solo artist?

D: Yes, I did a lot of backing vocals. A lot of that came from me just bumping into people around studio during/after my own session. Same thing with Mo, we met cause we both had a lot of sessions going on in the same block. I eventually got sent that song, and wrote to it/recorded it at home.

E: You’re sound is very refreshing! – What do you think about the U.K.’s R&B scene?

D: I’m excited for the U.K R&B scene. I feel like 2020 will be the year it goes ham and everyone will be ready to fully appreciate it. We definitely have some very talented artists here in the UK, and it looks like everyone is doing their thing!

E: Who have you been listening to recently?

D: I’m loving Mahalia’s album ‘Love & Compromise’. I feel like she’s finally starting to get the love she’s been deserving. I’ve been loving Snoh Aalegra, I still bang out her first album. A lot of Khalid and Ty Dolla as well… and of course, I can never leave out my Jhene!

E: You also have your headline show coming up which is very exciting! Are you looking forward to it?

D: I am tooo excited! We’re currently in rehearsals and my love for singing over live instrumental is insane!! You feel everything so much deeper. I also can’t wait to meet my supporters, they’ve really done the most for me!

E: Is there anything else we can expect from you this year?

D: More music, more features and more shows. I’ll also be supporting Kara Marni on October 17th at Bush Hall. 

You can listen to A Short Love Story here.