WHERE I’M MEANT TO BE OUT THIS FRIDAY VIA PARTISAN RECORDS
Ezra Collective share “No Confusion” featuring Kojey Radical, the final offering from their album Where I’m Meant To Be, out this Friday via Partisan Records. Arriving alongside the single is the Douglas Bernhardt-directed video of Ezra Collective and Kojey Radical performing at a celebratory dancehall for a 70’s-style party. “No Confusion” follows the dub-inspired track “Ego Killah,” summer-anthem “Victory Dance,” and the album’s opening track “Life Goes On” featuring Sampa The Great, which arrived with a music video directed by Nathan Miller.
“No Confusion” is both a celebration of Nigerian style and culture, and tribute to one of the country’s musical heroes; the late, great drummer, Tony Allen. A pioneer of the Afrobeat sound and longtime musical director of Fela Kuti’s band, Allen was also an inspirational friend and mentor to Ezra Collective’s bandleader Femi Koleoso, who knew him as “Uncle Tony.” “No Confusion” opens with a conversation between Allen and his protégé.
Speaking on the new track, drummer and bandleader Femi Koleoso shares, “Drum lessons with Uncle Tony didn’t just change my life, but Ezra Collective’s. He is the greatest. The most valuable thing he ever taught me was, always be yourself. Never lie. Be who you are. Be proud of who you are. He is an Afro beat drummer. And forever will be. When you truly are who you’re meant to be, you have No Confusion. ‘Confusion’ by Fela Kuti is one of the only recorded drum solos by Uncle Tony. It’s so him, no one else could have played it. This track is so us. We’re at a place where we really know who we are as a band. And there’s ‘No Confusion’ about it.”
Where I’m Meant To Be is a thumping celebration of life, an affirming elevation in the Ezra Collective’s winding hybrid sound and refined collective character. At its core are themes of resilience and resistance. In particular, it’s the unique story of the Black British experience and the beauty and joy that people of the diaspora find as a product of their perseverance and community-building. The album speaks to the understanding that for so many life itself is fundamentally difficult, but to celebrate the spoils afforded to those that push through hardship and find the aspects of life — whether in community, in the arts, in cuisine — that bring us fulfillment.
While Koleoso acknowledges that this is written through a distinctly British lens given the group’s roots, he insists that these themes are universal to Black experiences more broadly. And in the wake of the global pandemic, he suggests that it’s an experience that the whole world can relate to given the changes that everyone endured through the past two years to have made it to this point.
The sound of Where I’m Meant To Be harnesses the energy of celebration after enduring hardship. With its album cover referencing Thelonious Monk’s Underground, the songs marry cool confidence with bright energy. Full of call-and-response conversations between their ensemble parts, a natural product of years improvising together on-stage, the album – which also features Sampa The Great, Kojey Radical, Emeli Sandé and Nao, plus spoken contributions from renowned drummer and late mentor of the band Tony Allen and Steve McQueen – will light up sweaty dance floors and soundtrack summer dinners in equal measure.
The band’s 2019 debut album You Can’t Steal My Joy seamlessly married the delicacies and classic sounds of jazz with afrobeat, hip-hop and dancehall rhythms for a sound that cemented them as one of the UK’s most exciting acts among the country’s burgeoning jazz resurgence. With the project, the band was named one of Rolling Stone’s great musical discoveries from SXSW, one of Pigeons & Plane’s best rising bands to listen to, and one of the liveliest groups in London by The New York Times based on their own fresh and imaginative spin on jazz’s timeless footprint.
With Femi fresh off joining the Gorillaz on their world tour, Ezra Collective will perform a series of in-store record release shows in Leeds, Brighton, London and more to celebrate the album throughout next month. Additionally, Ezra Collective embarks on their 2023 UK/EU tour next February with stops in Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and more including a show at the renowned O2 Academy Brixton in London. Tickets on sale HERE.
Check out “No Confusion” above, see full album details below and stay tuned for more from Ezra Collective coming soon.
Upcoming Live Dates
11/06/2022 – Leeds, GB @ Belgrave Music Hall
11/07/2022 – Nottingham, GB @ Rough Trade
11/08/2022 – Sheffield, GB @ Foundry
11/09/2022 – Brighton, UK @ Resident Records
11/10/2022 – London, UK @ Rough Trade East
02/01/2023 – Madrid, ES @ Lula Club
02/02/2023 – Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz 2
02/04/2023 – Lyon, FR @ L’Epicerie Moderne
02/05/2023 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
02/06/2023 – Cologne, DE @ Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
02/08/2023 – Hamburg, DE @ Uebel & Gefährlich
02/09/2023 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
02/10/2023 – Berlin, DE @ Metropol
02/12/2023 – Lille, FR @ Aeronef
02/14/2023 – Paris, FR @ Le Trabendo
02/15/2023 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
02/18/2023 – Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy
02/19/2023 – Glasgow, UK @ SWG3
02/21/2023 – Dublin, IE @ Opium Rooms
02/23/2023 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
02/24/2023 – London, UK @ O2 Brixton Academy
Where I’m Meant To Be album artwork
Where I’m Meant To Be
November 4, 2022
1. Life Goes On (feat. Sampa the Great)
2. Victory Dance
3. No Confusion (feat. Kojey Radical)
4. Welcome To My World
6. Ego Killah
8. Live Strong
9. Siesta (feat. Emeli Sandé)
10. Words by Steve
12. Never The Same Again
13. Words by TJ
14. Love In Outer Space (feat. Nao)