Released: 14 October 2022
A departure from his folk-led previous output, Ottoline sees L.A. Salami draw inspiration from modern titans of rap, such as Kanye West, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. A 14-track release, the LP features three tracks that have previously been released as singles. The first of which is ‘Desperate Times, Mediocre Measures’, which tackles the “cyclical and corrosive nature of power structures across our societies” and the inevitable impact that has on our day to day lives and decision-making processes. Encouraging people to build change from a place of love and positivity, rather than out of fear, it very much sets the tone for the album. The second and third singles come in the shape of ‘Systemic Pandemic’, a candid release that offers a deep glimpse into L.A. Salami’s artistic soul, and ‘Peace Of Mind’, a track that combines sombre guitars and fluttering percussion with his endearing vocals. Elsewhere, further highlights come in the form of downbeat, psychedelic jam ‘The Full Form’, the wistful twee of ‘Peace Is Fine’, and majestic strings of ‘Lady Winter’, before the melancholic sax of ‘In Honour Of The Street Lights’ ensures Ottoline is closed out on a poignant note.
Also released today is the video for ‘Peace is Fine’ directed by Eleanor Grace Hann. Eleanor is an up-and-coming director, who formally trained as a dancer. Drawing inspiration from movement as a director, she understands the extended voice of the body. She is currently on the Vevo x Raw Material Mentorship programme, with VEVO’s own original content director Jim guiding her through her career. The second video Eleanor has worked on with L.A. Salami, she comments “‘Peace of Mind’ is about finding peace with a romantic partner and the conflicts. Whereas ‘Peace Is Fine’ is all about finding peace as an individual and collectively as men. We loved the idea of showing black men in particular with this peace and journey of healing. Something within society and media, we often don’t allow the space for.”
L.A. Salami’s journey of self-discovery is one that extends far beyond music. Born Lookman Adekunle Salami in Peckham, to a Nigerian mother and absent father, various circumstances meant he spent the first few years of his childhood in a foster home. This feeling of being an outsider permeates his creative output, whether that’s music or the prints he produces alongside.
The London artist performed with Morcheeba in May, in addition to a homecoming headline show at the Scala in 2019. He has had memorable episodes on COLORS and NPR Tiny Desk, and has been championed by tastemakers publications including The Evening Standard and The Observer. In the fashion world, he’s known for designing his own clothes, and has previously collaborated with Burberry. Never confined to just music, he has also released fine prints across art galleries over the years, which are also available to purchase on his website.
A stunning, coming-of-age album, Ottoline is evidence of an artist that grows with every release.