We seem to have an unhealthy fascination with the age of young artists when they first break through. Burna Boy was given a collective side eye when he disclosed that he was born in the early 90’s and not the early 80’s that his mature look suggests. Davido posted the data page of his passport when similar murmurs about his real age got too loud and one of the insults Linda Ikeji used to pepper Wizkid with when their issues reached boiling point last month was, you guessed it, his age –

And no, darling, you’re not 25! We know your real age!

But you know what? The blogger also added that she hoped Wizkid continues to have an amazing career and indeed the singer has continued to do just that in the last few weeks. But it’s not only Wizkid, the truth is that all of the aforementioned artists have gone on to have amazing careers of their own. So at least Kiss Daniel can take solace in the fact that he is in great company.

The singer however didn’t need the company of his A-list contemporaries to deliver hits such as “Woju”, “Laye” and “Mama” and he doesn’t need their company to deliver his debut opus New Era either. In fact, on the album’s opener, he crowns himself “New King” over everyone else boasting –

No collabo, still collecting / On my own, imma show them I’m royalty.

The song is delivered with the urgency of a man who seems intent on making a name for himself on his first time out. Daniel admitted that the decision to make label mate Sugarboy the project’s only feature wasn’t actually his own but it’s a decision that he’s comfortable with all the same. Sugarboy is an upcoming artist with dance hall roots, so it’s no surprise that 2 of the 3 songs he’s featured on are heavily influenced by sounds of the Islands (“Napo” and “Upon me”). The third is the rough “Ghetto boys”, a failed attempt to birth a label anthem but the album experiments with even more genres.

“Jombo” is an Eastern, high-life love story about an Igbo lady Mr. Daniel did a lot more than give a kiss to and now that she’s with child, her parents will hear nothing about their marriage plans. The song was produced by Masterkraft and the boardsmith shows his dexterity by delivering a more contemporary sound to “Sin City”. The song begins with all the club banging swagger of a typical DJ Mustard record and Kiss Daniel damn near raps over the beat but midway through, that West Coast bounce gets drowned by dark electric guitar riffs. The singer describes his music as “Afro-centric”. To my ears, his style is a motley of percussion heavy, indigenous sounds overlayed by a distinctly hoax voice but delivered melodiously at the same time in a mixture of Yoruba and English. When he delves into the struggles of the music business and his newfound fame on “Another day” his style works like a charm but when treating less weighty topics like having an affair with his neighbour’s wife on the rebellious “Nothing Dey, his style works too.

Sometimes the subject matter gets too playful though, like the peurile “Kiss me” that sounds like the type of JS2 lip-locking tutorial that your friends who just had their first kiss would give you. That said, the album has 20 songs, no interlude, no intro, no outro – you’re bound to have a few misses in a selection this large. Thankfully, when New Era misses, it doesn’t miss by much.

In April, when Kiss Daniel promised to publish a press release telling us his real age, little did we know that he was going to release an album in May that would announce his coming of age instead.

Buy/download album Kiss Daniel’s New Era album here

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