Student musician fulfills childhood passion, expands fanbase

Bōlají is a musician and a student at Baylor University who makes R&B and Indie music. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Tyler White | Reporter

Houston freshman Bolaji Oyedepo, known by his artist name Bōlají, has been doing music since he was a child, starting with piano around the age of four and choir in his church. He said he continued playing piano and singing random things until around age 10 or 11.

After taking a break from music for a while, he picked up his art again around the time the COVID-19 pandemic began. He said his mom encouraged him to make a song with his sister, so they wrote a track and recorded a video to post online. The song was featured on the news and set his career into motion.

“I was like, ‘Dang, I got to like, show people I can do better than this,’” Oyedepo said.

While in high school, Oyedepo said a speaker came to his school and spoke about not wasting this life and not embracing what you love and taking advantage of it. This revealed how much he missed music, so he decided to start doing covers and finding himself in his music again.

“It was kind of hard for me to find myself, but when I did find it and it reflected in how I present myself in my music, I just stayed true to myself,” Oyedepo said.

Transitioning from high school to Baylor, Oyedepo said it was a completely different reality. He said it was difficult coming into his freshman year while balancing music, which made his first semester tough.

“I slowly was getting discouraged because I didn’t have time to make content like that,” Oyedepo said. “I wasn’t having time to do and make stuff.”

At the end of the semester, he sat down and began planning out his days, setting aside time to make content and write music. He said this allowed him to make the most of his time and take advantage of every opportunity to expand his musical reach.

Beyond just his solo work, Oyedepo is also a part of a producer-musician duo, Palace Floor, with producer Chicano Blues. He met Chicano Blues online and took the risk to fly out to visit him in Atlanta, and it has allowed him to grow musically.

“It’s definitely played a big role because that’s the first thing that kind of gained attention, then people from there are going to go find my solo stuff as well,” Oyedepo said. “The biggest part of this thing is just taking risks.”

With balancing his solo work, Palace Floor and school, he said what continues to motivate him is that this is a passion of his. He said even when it doesn’t go as expected or his music doesn’t reach as many as he wanted, he just continues to remind himself of why he’s doing it.

“You just have to keep reminding yourself what your goal is and where and why you’re doing it,” Oyedepo said. “If you don’t have that, you know, it’s hard for you to keep going.”

At Baylor, he has been working hard to expand his reach with his music across campus, whether through greater outreach on social media or promoting any of his concerts going on. He has been able to perform at open mic nights at the Common Grounds 8th Street location and even recently had a concert on the top of the 8th Street parking garage.

San Antonio junior Milo Langmore, part of the Baylor Music Industry Club, said he reached out to Oyedepo to help him promote his music around campus. Though they didn’t have a huge influence, he said they worked their best to spread his music and make his name more known.

“I think we’ve helped be able to spread his name a little bit more to students who don’t really search for music as much,” Langmore said.

Langmore said it’s been easy working alongside Oyedepo because of his ambition. Throughout everything, Oyedepo has continued to work alongside the club and worked hard to make his name known, taking the risks and embracing his music.

“If there’s an opportunity for him to have more people listen to his music or be able to just perform at all, he will take it,” Langmore said.

As he continues to develop his music and name, Oyedepo said he wants to continue to be consistent in his work. Even when he doesn’t feel like he has much time or doesn’t feel particularly motivated to continue, he wants to strive for success in all that he does.

“I feel like I’m in a good space right now,” Oyedepo said. “Just keeping my head in the right space.”