In The Eye, music’s best up-and-coming artists take to an intimate and minimal studio space to perform highlights from their discography, with only one microphone and one take. This time, getting in the studio is Omah Lay, an afrobeats/R&B favorite you’ve probably heard working with some of today’s biggest artists.
The 24-year-old Nigerian musician formally launched his music career by dropping some singles in 2019 and landing a record deal. After taking a few months off, he returned in 2020 with “Bad Influence,” which was a success on social media. Early in his life as a professional artist, he made waves in the industry, with his two 2020 EPs, Get Layd and What Have We Done, and songs from them faring well on the Apple Music charts in Nigeria. Apple took notice, as they prominently featured Lay when they launched their Africa Rising Artist Showcase in 2020.
All this attention has led Lay to work with some major names in the music industry: He teamed up with 6lack on a remix of “Damn,” then just a couple weeks ago, he and Justin Bieber connected on “Attention.” For his performance on The Eye, he went with the latter song. Bieber didn’t swing by the studio to join Lay on this rendition of “Attention,” but Lay was totally capable of carrying the smooth and rhythmic track, which he performed here essentially in its original form minus the Bieber appearance.
In a 2020 interview, Lay explained the origin of his stage name, saying, “Omah was gotten from my name and the Lay is the way my people call people who are far away.” The singer also noted that his original vision for his career was different than where he finds himself now, saying, “I wanted to be a rapper. I was part of a rap group, my name was Lil King [laugh]. I really liked Drake and his flows so I wanted to be like that.”
He went on to say of his success in the afrobeats scene, “I don’t want to sound like God or like a God, but I always knew this was where I was going to be.”
If he was saying that in 2020, imagine how happy he must be with where he’s at now.
Watch Omah Lay perform “Attention” for The Eye above.
Omah Lay is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.