Dave Okumu

Many musicians find creative freedom working alone in the seclusion of their room, but for Mercury nominated singer-songwriter and producer Dave Okumu, the most fruitful moments in his career have occurred in crowded rooms. “In my teens I was already on this journey where I was reflecting on the significance of relationships,” Okumu explains, sitting in his South East London studio. “I want to learn how to connect with people and how to communicate because this is what life is about.”

Okumu is the youngest child of eight siblings, born in Vienna, Austria, to Kenyan parents. The family later moved to London when he was 10. Growing up in a musical household, Okumu recalls being introduced to 80s funk and soul by his older sisters and being taught how to play guitar by his brother.

His career took off in the mid noughties’ with the Mercury nominated art rock trio The Invisible. Beyond the band, Okumu also developed a reputation as a producer, session player, and musical mentor with the encyclopaedic knowledge and calming attitude to coax the best out of a cavalcade of artists including, Tony Allen, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Jessie Ware, and his hero Grace Jones.

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