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Fuse ODG lights up stage in Chelsea

LIVE: Fuse ODG (PA)

IT HAS been an eventful week for Fuse ODG as shown by the London-born artist tweeting: “this month is the busiest month of my life”.

24 hours after that tweet he would win the MOBO award for Best African Act for the second year in a row.

Regarded as a pioneer of the Afro-pop genre in the UK, the growing power of Fuse ODG became apparent when he took to stage this past weekend as part of his UK tour.

The venue located in the heart of Stamford Bridge was at full capacity for the 500 plus fans who came solely for Fuse.

Fuse has certainly widened his appeal as summed up by @danielsyncolu’s tweet: “when an African Artist sold out to an All-White audience, surely you have made it.”

The tweet by a user over simplifies what I witnessed. Surveying the room, the overwhelming majority of those in attendance looked nothing like me. Armed with T.I.N.A branded hats and t-shirts, the make up of the audience signalled that Fuse, real name Nana Richard Abiona, has cracked it.

The challenging task of convincing the masses to believe in your craft, and support it [with financial verification] to part with their money is no easy task.

The performance came with strong production, although a technical hiccup in the backing track forced the apparent perfectionist to restart a song.

Supported by the brilliant live ensemble The Compozers, their rendition of Fuse’s popular hits was second to none.

Of the opening acts special praise goes out to Mister Silva who preceded the headline act with an impressive set that warmed up the crowd.

When performing Azonto, the dance track that launched the Ghanaian raised artist into our homes, a spontaneous battle of the sexes erupted that produced some questionable dance moves but hilarious moments from attendees.

It was at this point that some female fans began barraging the stage for the opportunity to take a selfie with star who has clearly gained a legion of admirers.

For their respective collaborations Fuse was joined on stage by the likes of MOBO award winning duo Krept and Konan, Disturbing London artist GFrsh, Angel and Afrobeat legend Wande Coal.

Rounding up the night with his hit Antenna, his single that has sold over 200,000 copies.

While the sentiment of the T.I.N.A, a philosophy charged with challenging perceptions of Africa are admirable, it was interesting looking around to ask, what if anything, does the concept mean to Fuse’s core fan base.

Speaking to The Voice last year, he explained, “It’s cool to be called an African nowadays. It wasn’t always that way.”

A notion that the predominantly white crowd probably didn’t have to battle with growing up.

Fuse’s universal success has set the bar at a new height for UK based afrobeat talent, but the true teller of his profitability and longevity will be how his debut album will perform in the charts on its release this weekend, November 2.

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