Keziah Jones

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Keziah Jones
Keziah Jones at the Eurockéennes de Belfort 2011
Keziah Jones at the Eurockéennes de Belfort 2011
Background information
Birth nameOlufemi Sanyaolu
Born (1968-01-10) 10 January 1968 (age 56)
Lagos, Nigeria
GenresBlues, Funk, Yoruba music, soul
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, photographer, poet, playwright, painter
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, piano, bass, percussion, clarinet
Years active1992–present
LabelsDelabel Records
Virgin Records
Because Music
WebsiteOfficial Site
Unplugged concert in Strasbourg, France, September 2008

Keziah Jones (born Olufemi Sanyaolu on 10 January 1968) is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He describes his musical style as "Blufunk", which is a fusion between raw blues elements and hard, edgy funk rhythms. Also his Nigerian roots in Yoruba music and soul music can be considered a major influence on his sound.

He is known for his distinctive style of guitar playing, including his percussive right-hand technique which is similar to a bass guitarist's slapping technique.

Life and career[edit]

Olufemi Sanyaolu a.k.a. Keziah Jones is the son of Oshodolamu Sanyaolu; Chief of the Yoruba people and successful industrialist and Abiola Sanyaolu. Born on 10 January 1968, Jones spent his early childhood in a large family in a part of Nigeria in the city of Lagos. From a young age he was being prepared to follow his father's footsteps in the family concern and was expected to have an academic career. Therefore, his father enrolled him in a Public School in London and he left Nigeria at the age of eight to be educated in England.

"I had to find a way out of all that, and music was it!"[citation needed] By the age of 13 he had discovered the old school piano and taught himself how to play and write songs. Three years later he switched to the guitar, increasingly neglecting his studies. After scraping through exams he went against his father's wishes and family tradition even more by skipping school and busking in the streets, clubs and London Underground, constantly avoiding the police.

Jones led a bohemian lifestyle for several years instead of the one envisaged for him. "Lose all time, love your mind, free your soul!" were words from his song Free Your Soul. Moving from London to Paris and back again frequently accompanied only by his guitar, the young Jones acquired a reputation as a talented musician and charismatic performer with a unique "hard funk" style. In 1990, whilst busking in London's Portobello Road, Keziah was discovered by composer and ex-keyboard player for Sailor and Culture Club, Phil Pickett quickly evolving into full-time management of the artist. Pickett signed Jones to a long-term songwriting agreement with Hit & Run Music Publishing (photo Billboard 1990) whose executive, Dave Massey, had recorded songs by Jones when at Chrysalis Music. Massey continued to be involved in Keziah's career for the next 8 years. After a brief but near disastrous flirtation with Capitol Records in the US, in 1992, Pickett signed Keziah to Emmanuel de Buretel's Delabel label for his debut album Blufunk Is a Fact. Recording in London with producer Kevin Armstrong, included in the worldwide success of the project was Keziah's first single "Rhythm Is Love". Jones attributes his Parisian subway experiences as highly instrumental to his by now blossoming career in his official biography.[1] By 2008, Jones had recorded five albums and one live DVD. After performing many shows and festivals throughout the world between 2009 and 2012, late in 2012 Keziah Jones was back in Lagos preparing to record his new studio album set for worldwide release on Because Music in 2013


Keziah often cites Fela Kuti, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix as important influences.


Keziah Jones also draws, paints and writes poetry. He is a photographer and has produced short films, including one entitled BLACKSPEEDTEXT This film, his music and the other facets of his artistic life reflect his experiences on the streets.

Personal life[edit]

Keziah was married to Anglo-Nigerian singer Akure Wall in 1994. They separated in 1996.[2]

On 14 January 2012 Keziah married Hauwa Mukan, they separated in December 2013.[2]


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected details and chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions


Blufunk Is a Fact
  • Released: 23 March 1992
  • Format: CD
African Space Craft
  • Released: 27 March 1995
  • Format: CD
95 16
Liquid Sunshine
  • Released: 10 May 1999
  • Format: CD
39 38
Black Orpheus
  • Released: 22 April 2003
  • Format: CD
13 22
Nigerian Wood
  • Released: 1 September 2008
  • Format: CD
73 31 4 14
Captain Rugged
  • Released: 1 January 2014
  • Format: CD
169 58 97

Compilation albums[edit]

List of compilation albums, with selected details and chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Rhythm Is Love – Best Of
  • Released: 2 November 2004
  • Format: CD


  • Frinigrô Interstellar (1991)
  • Live (1993)
  • The African Anarchist (1999)


  • Live at the Elysée Montmartre (14 June 2004)


List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Rhythm Is Love" 1992 40 Blufunk Is a Fact
"Where's Life?"
"Million Miles from Home" 1995 92 181 African Space Craft
"If You Know"



  1. ^ "Keziah Jones - Faites fructifier votre argent". 20 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b Hart, Beth (10 February 2014). "OH, NO! Another Beautiful Marriage Crashes!". – Nigeria news. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
    • Top 100 peaks to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 148.
    • "Million Miles from Home": "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 27 Aug 1995". Retrieved 4 July 2017 – via (original document published by ARIA). N.B. The HP column displays the highest peak reached.
  4. ^ "Ultratop > Keziah Jones in Ultratop Vlaanderen" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Ultratop > Keziah Jones dans L'Ultratop Wallonie" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b " > Keziah Jones dans les Charts Français" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b " > Keziah Jones in der Schweizer Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Chart Log UK 1994–2010 > Jessie J – JX". Retrieved 4 July 2017.

External links[edit]