New York, NY – January 25, 2019 – Evolution has always come naturally to Kelechi Okereke. From the incredible success derived from Bloc Party, the pioneer art punk band he co-founded in London’s indie rock heyday in the early 2000s, to his evolution into a dynamic and inventive solo artist, he is a musician in constant defiance of convention. With four solo records — 2010’s The Boxer, 2014’s Trick, 2017’s Fatherland and 2019’s Leave to Remain now asserting themselves beside Bloc Party’s notable and critically-acclaimed output, Kelechi Okereke’s musical path has taken him a long way from his humble beginnings as an English literature student who considered songwriting hobby.
Where Kelechi Okereke’s songbook began as a revelry of youth, his four disparate solo works reveal an artist enlightened by personal growth from the studio and an unwavering desire to bend rock’s traditional norms.
This talented musician is currently in the limelight with the release of his first musical, Leave to Remain. Created in partnership with Matt Jones, a TV screenwriter, and presently showing at the Lyric Hammersmith until February 16 in West London, the play explores the idea of what happens when a gay marriage brings two families together. While the script was written by Jones, the songs were written by Okereke. The songs have been recorded for a new solo album, which is available on iTunes.
There was initially some speculation that the plot of the musical was a replay of Okereke’s own life, an idea which he is quick to repudiate. That being said, the music in Leave to Remain consists of a blend of the West African high-life music of his childhood with electronic dance sounds he heard later in clubs.
The theme of this modern musical is one that‘s close to Okereke’s heart:
“Gay marriage is now legal in a few parts of the world, but it’s rarely seen as something to be celebrated. We want to put out a message that gay love is a beautiful thing and is just as valid and worth celebrating as other kinds of love.”
About Kelechi Okereke
Also known as Kele, Kelechi Okereke is a British singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist, and record producer from East London. Renowned for being the frontman of indie rock four-piece Bloc Party, he has made a distinctive solo career for himself and enjoys tackling a wide range of different subjects in his music.
Having received considerable media attention for being a gay black man, Okereke has touched on the topic of homosexuality in some of his songs in the past, and is currently receiving high accolades for Leave to Remain, his first musical written in collaboration with Matt Jones.