Several years have gone by but their jams still get us grooving each time we hear them. Without fail, those melodies evoke feelings in us that even the toughest hearts cannot resist. Ladies and gentlemen, while this group of young men may be past its heyday, there is no denying the extent to which STYL-PLUS shaped our lives.
In 1997, Shifi Emoefe, Tunde Akinsanmi, Yemi Akinwonmi and Lanre Faneyi banded together and created the musical group which they called STYL, an acronym for their first names. A year later, Lanre died and the group was renamed STYL-PLUS after Zeal Onyecheme joined up. It has been 22 years since their story started and looking back, it is difficult to remember the period when they were the greatest gifts to Nigeria’s music industry and not feel even the tiniest bit of elation.
Olufunmi had us feeling the sorrows of a thoroughly heartbroken lover. We felt the extent to which a lover could go to prove the feelings of love and experienced the feeling of emptiness heartbreak could bring. The remix of the song which featured a rapper, Da Capo, was even more heartbreaking to some. Despite the tears, however, we still laughed whenever Iya Basira came up on air. No one could resist Zeal’s comical look as a food addict under Iya Basira’s spell. The police officer’s fate was no less funny. His dismissal of the case was unquestionably hilarious.
While Imagine That left us questioning the existence of true love and encouraged us to dance away our heartbreaks, Run Away showed us the commitment of true love and, till date, a lot of people unconsciously remain single because they await a lover dressed in white who will come professing undying love, a love which complements the love they are willing to give, after which they would both elope on a white horse to an endless happily-ever-after.
Call My Name was the anthem for hopeless romantics. A whisper in a restaurant led us to believe that someone had found his dream lover. Then, suddenly, a “deep voice from behind” rudely awakens us and brings us back to reality. So sad!
STYL-PLUS didn’t always sing love songs, though. As advocates, they lent their voices to the HIV awareness campaign through Stay Alive, and the soft melodies and soothing rhythms of Ima reminded us of the need to give back to the society, to develop the country by being more empathetic. Unforgettable, also, was Four Years which told their story in moving voices and danceable tunes.
From the hilarious to the romantic, all these songs remind us of lives we lived and they bring back memories, fond and otherwise. Undoubtedly, STYL-PLUS will always have a special place in several hearts. P.S. For those who want to hear the latest of STYL-PLUS featuring Shifi and Zeal, check out Aso Ibora which was released in 2017.
This article was written by Ifeoluwa E. Igili; connect with him on IG here