Welcome to The T-Spot. This series is the official MUSTA Talent Spotlight where we highlight some talented people, from different creative industries.
As Alté music enters a renaissance with young, audacious artists, John Salter offers vulnerable penmanship swaddled in gorgeous melodies and backs it with versatile production. Here, unburdened, good vibes are the order of the day.
In this episode of T-Spot, the 28 year old artist talks about how his parents greatly influenced him to start making music, confesses the cons of a music career and shares a piece of advice he would go back in time to give a younger version of himself.
Hi John Salter! Tell us more about yourself.
Hello, I’m John Salter Oseyi. I’m from Edo State, Nigeria but I grew up in Abuja. I grew up with parents that sang so I was exposed to music throughout my childhood. Thanks to my mother’s membership in our church choir, every Sunday I listened to the harmonies and sounds created by just voices. It always gave me goosebumps. This is when I realized I had a passion for music, and since then, I knew that music and melodies had a special place in my heart. Eventually, I joined the choir.
I’m a creative who has always expressed himself through a variety of artistic outlets. It’s been about music predominantly, but I’ve dabbled in cinematography and digital creative design. I enjoy playing with ideas and I never shy away from trying something new. I explored these creative sides while bagging a degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s in Health & Safety Management in the UK.
Where did your journey as an artist begin?
It honestly originated from something very innocuous and simple. I would sing around my friends and classmates, and for some reason nobody ever told me to keep quiet. I realized there was a reason, maybe I was actually a little bit talented. From there the train left the station and now, here I am.
Fun fact, while in secondary school I masterminded a music crew. We were just a group of friends that rapped and sang. So I thought, why not do it together? Then we began writing and performing originals.
Professionally, I began producing music in 2016 and released several covers before my first single in 2019 titled “Matta”. After my first single, I released another within a couple of months. People around me, and even some I didn’t know reached out and impressed upon me how much they enjoyed my music and that I needed to put out more. I had already been working on a few more singles so I decided I had to give the people what they want. Then in 2020, I released an EP - Salt of the Earth.
How has your journey as an artist been so far?
It’s been a journey of self-discovery that has allowed me to access parts of myself I may not have acknowledged otherwise. As my sound evolves, I express myself in ways I never thought I could.
What challenges have you faced on the way?
My passion vs stability. Unfortunately, a career in music doesn’t always bring the most stability, but it’s what brings me the most joy.
What can you say, is uniquely the best thing about being an artist in comparison to other creative pursuits?
I feel that there is no comparison to be made. All creative pursuits require a certain vulnerability, pouring out your heart in whatever medium you feel is right, be it music, acting, painting or poetry. So for me, in my work, the important thing is being honest.
Can you remember ever having a first favorite song?
Yes. ‘Back When’ by Davido
How has your music style developed from when you first got into music to this current time, do you think this change is reflected in the music you now want to make?
There has definitely been a development in my sound. When I started, all I wanted was to sing. I began to realize that with the way I write and the way I deliver on a beat, I needed to find what makes me unique and package that for the world.
What three words best capture the music you make?
I would say: Afrocentric, smooth and soulful
What's something about music you would tell your younger self who just started in your current career path?
Keep perfecting your craft, and make sure to develop an understanding of the business side of music .
Listen to John Salter here