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Congregational Voices: Bisi’s Song

Bisi Obateru knew about Glide Memorial Church before ever stepping through the Sanctuary Doors. On multiple occasions, friends in San Francisco would ask him, “Have you ever heard of Glide?” He was being called to the San Francisco institution for years, and knew it was only a matter of time.

In 2016 he finally ventured to the Tenderloin to experience the place for himself. Six years later, he has become a core member of the community. Bisi is involved with many areas of the Church, as a Congregational Life leader of Speak Out, an arts and empowerment group that meets weekly to share creative expressions and support each other’s artistic journeys. Bisi is also a member of the Glide Ensemble and an accomplished, soulful musician.

When members of the Glide community reach major milestones, our church celebrates them. Bisi will be releasing his latest album on February 14, 2022, which is in two parts: Survivor pt.1 & 2.

Bisi’s upbeat and melody-driven sound binds elements of acoustic guitar, marimbas, pop, and reggae. His lyrics are about hope, humanity and our collective longing to live our best lives. He draws from inspiration from ‘90s hip-hop, fusing afrobeat rhythms.

“My style is unique because I don’t approach any of my songs in the same way. I like to leave a deep message with playful lyrics to a good-time party sound with an acoustic guitar, happy bass lines, while sprinkling in some high register vocals.”

Bisi’s Survivor began after a long streak of EP releases in 2020, as the world of touring and performances came to a halt. Survivor started brewing shortly after End SARS, a youth movement to end police brutality in Nigeria, where he is originally from. The struggle of his nation’s youth inspired the creation of Survivor.

Survivor came to full fruition in 2021, as Bisi started to document the experiences of the various artists who participated in Speak Out, which meets every Thursday, 6–7:30 pm online. The artists share their stories of surviving through art, through love, through pain.

“2020 to right now has been a very telling time of where we are at,” Bisi says. “I hope that people will connect to the stories of survival in this new record.”

Survivor pt.1 is available for purchase, on www.busybisi.com, and will be available soon on other platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud.

For more information, visit www.busybisi.com.

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