Marllie's latest single "Pray" addresses racial injustice in America
Updated: Sep 4
"Pray" by Marllie ft. Zilla Oaks is a powerful testament that touches on an important topic.
Independent artist Marllie is a Los Angeles-based artist who's originally from Lagos, Nigeria. He recently released a new record called "Pray" featuring Zilla Oaks and it's a powerful track that speaks on topics affecting society today. Specifically, the song addresses racism in America and the two's experiences living through fighting injustice.
On the track, Marllie shows off his sound as a versatile artist. The song showcases his range and unique style of delivery -- which sets him apart from his peers.
"Pray" is a record I made with Zilla and the meaning of the record is that it talks about hustle and revolution," Marllie said in a recent interview. "We were also addressing the racial injustice and police brutality we face as Black people in today's society.
Keep reading to learn more about Marllie and listen to "Pray" below.
What city are you from/ Where are you based now?
I’m from Lagos- Nigeria. And that’s where I've had most of my childhood experiences from until I moved out to LA, which is where I’m based now.
What is your artist name? What is your real name? How did you get your artist name?
My real name is Ugochukwu Emmanuel Onuoha. Most people don’t know me by my real name, and this is because they address me so much so with my artist name Marllie that they forget what my actual real name is. My artist name was given to me by a girl she coined it from my middle name Emmanuel and how she did it, I don't know lol.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music?
As cliché as this sounds, I started doing music at a young age. I was 12 or 13 when I started rhyming with my friends in class. But it wasn’t something I wanted to do professionally. Not until when I was 16 or 17 where I released a track with a couple of my friends titled “A step to the Dream.” It was then that I realized that I wanted to take this seriously.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
Yes. My upbringing has played a major role in shaping who I am and also my sound. Growing up I listened to so much music because there was so much music created at that time. Lagos is like the LA of Nigeria where many artists come to Lagos to make music. 90% of the time their major target is the Lagos audience -- as soon as they can break into the Lagos scene they are already known. So, with that being said, I grew up to a lot of music because I was raised in the city of Lagos State, which is said to be the home of Afro-beat. This has influenced my sound and style of making music. Anyone that knows Nigeria pretty well would know that where I grew up (Lagos State) is a land of hustle. Lagos is a land filled with opportunities, but it is never a bed of roses. To be able to harness Lagos' opportunities, you need to work smart, build the right network of people and grow in your desired career field.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
My sound, hmm. I feel like I’m one of those few artists that don’t have a particular sound. And this is not me saying I’m a very good artist of whatnot rather it’s just that I have listened to so many good music that I can’t be boxed into a particular song. Like on my upcoming project I have songs on there that are just rap songs, I have trap songs, I have R&B songs and I also have an Afro-pop song. So, in other words it’s really hard to box me into a particular sound.
What ultimately inspired you to dedicate yourself to a music career?
Music inspired me to dedicate my life to music. I want to create good music. I want to make music that would memorable. I want people to play my music and be like “Yo this music reminds me of a time ..." (and they start saying a moment they can’t forget).
What’s one reason you are passionate about music and what inspires you?
One reason I am passionate about music is because of the emotions it makes you feel. One of the major things that inspires me in making music is my surroundings, my life, my day-to-day activities. Those are things that inspires me, and this is because I know that if I make music about these things, I know there’s someone out there then can definitely relate to what I am saying. Who are some of your main musical influences?
Preezie J, Hills, Mide, A Reece, Eli Sostre, Drake, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Brent Faiyez and so much more.
What are some of your music career goals for the future?
Aside from awards and recognition. I want to hear people say my music changed or saved their lives. You know? something like that is more priceless than any award. I want my music to leave behind footprints in the sand of time.
Tell us about your latest project "Pray." What is it about?
I released a single with my brother Zilla Oaks and the tittle of the song is "Pray." In three minutes, Zilla and I were able to talk about hustle and revolution. Black people are always treated unfairly and unjustly and just as the title implies, I pray that one day, people would be able to look past skin color and know that Black people are humans as everyone else. The song was also dedicated to all the beautiful souls that has been cut short through police brutality.
What has the response been like to that project?
The response from the song has been positive so far. The song charted in a couple of countries. I have people I don’t know message me telling me how they love the record and how it spoke truth. Apple music also showed me love by featuring it in a couple of playlist & this is not only a big win for me as an artist, but it is also pushing the song and the narrative of the song itself.
What are some projects you’ve done in the past that you are most proud of and why?
The last project I dropped was a couple years ago but right now, I have been working on my new project. It’s almost out. I believe in that project so much because I put in much work in it. I can only hope for the best and I pray God pushes this project for me.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for? Include some dates if you have them.
Healing Eagle is the name of the new project. That’s all I can say for now. And to be honest I am excited for this one.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music?
I hope my supporters realize my music is organic, it’s about me and what I face as a young adult. Like I don’t try to sound like anyone as much as they inspire me, I am always true to my sound.
Where can we follow you on social media?