“I come alive when most of the city readies to shut its eyes,” says Steven Umoh also known as Obongjayar, a London-based poet and rapper. With the release of his first EP “Bassey” in 2017, he quickly became known for his distinct and dark Afrobeat sound that blends his Nigerian roots with the rhythm of London nights. Obongjayar still keeps pushing his creativity, spending much of 2018 as part of the Everything Is Recorded project alongside artists like Sampha, and running a party called Sugarcane.


  • How does the night spark your creativity?

The night for me is what goes on inside the  packaging. Away with the uniform of the day. The people are different, the traffic is different, everything dramatically changes. I find this incredibly interesting. The great reveal

  • How does your creative process differ from day and night? ​(How does the contrast between day and night impact you as a creator?)

I’m asleep for most of the day, if I haven’t got anywhere to be. So the only creative thing I’m doing is dreaming. The night has a rugged calm, that keeps me alert and able to focus. I think it’s because everyone else is asleep or going to sleep. And those who are still up, i feel, have a restlessness to expel, or a job, of course.

  • Why do you think young creators thrive in night time contexts?

I can’t really speak to another creators process, I don’t know what their motivations are

  • What are some things you do to stay in your zone?

-Peace and quiet, coffee black, and I’m ready to go.

  • In what ways has your city molded your creativity?

It’s pace, it’s people, it’s competition. Everything and everyone is out to eat, and if you’re not, you’re feed. That keeps me on my toes. And there’s no shortage of stories or subjects to explore here.

  • What do you love about being in your city during late night hours?

The city doesn’t sleep

  • Where do you find inspiration in the city?

It’s difficult to pinpoint a particular place, because anywhere can be inspiring for me. But if i had to, the place I’ve had a lot of my ideas come, is on the train.

  • What’s the best advice you’ve received as a creative person?

Be a collector of Information, document everything.

  • How has the London’s quintessential non-stop creative attitude impacted you in your work?

-The excitement of London sends me into overdrive, there’s way too much going on, to be ignored. There’s a lot to look at, three a lot to feel. It, for me, is beautiful