UMS: Tunde Olaniran (HE/HIM/THEY) announce upcoming release of new single

ANN ARBOR – Flint-based performer and activist Tunde Olaniran (HE/HIM/THEY) announces the upcoming release of their new single this Friday, November 13.

This is the first of four singles from a forthcoming full-length album that Tunde will release during their Digital Artist Residency at University Musical Society (UMS). The residency will feature art-making across disciplines, community collaboration and co-creation, emergent technologies, and video animation. Through the introduction of the four singles, audiences will be invited to participate in the creative process using building blocks created by Tunde and a cohort of creatives, remixing them to create new artistic outputs. In 2021, the singles released during the residency will become the sonic landscape for a surrealist short film and exhibition curated in partnership with Cranbrook Art Museum and Library Street Collective.

The new song, which weaves together and plays inside various genres of pop and RnB, is titled WDWHI, an acronym derived from the lyrics of the anthemic hook “WE DON’T WANNA HEAR IT.” It addresses what Tunde describes as “the seduction of relying on apathy and consumption as a response to what can feel like an overwhelming wave of personal life challenges and concern over local and global crises.” Tunde uses subtle, intimate vocals and lilting verse melodies to deliver eye-opening lyrics. It’s a track that could only have been written in 2020, with roots in Motown Soul, Swedish pop, and PC Music.


Friday, November 13 at 5:30 pm at
A conversation on sonic, visual, and cultural transgressions in pop music with Tunde OlaniranOlly AlexanderShara Nova, and Siena Liggins
A talk about the social, racial, cultural intersections of pop music and performance with UMS Digital Artist-in-Residence Tunde Olaniran, singer/songwriter Siena Liggins, producer and classically trained vocalist/instrumentalist Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), and musician, singer-songwriter, actor, and LGBTQ advocate Olly Alexander (Years & Years). The four guests will talk about Olaniran’s newest song, WDWHI, where they are as individual artists in 2020, as well as their various relationships to pop music and performance over the course of their careers. They will also answer audience questions. Learn more at .

One of the most beloved fixtures of the Detroit music scene, Tunde Olaniran is a singer, songwriter, producer, rapper, choreographer, author, and activist, as well as a driving force within the growing artistic community in Flint, Michigan, where he currently resides. Their debut album, Transgressor, led to praise from critics at the New York TimesPitchforkRolling StoneStereogum, Noisey, Afropunk, and countless others. On the heels of that release, Olaniran embarked on his first US national tour in support of noise pop darlings Sleigh Bells. He was named NPR’s “Top Artist to Watch” at SXSW 2017 and performed to a homecoming audience of 5,000+ at MoPop Festival in Detroit. Tunde also made his first European appearances in London, Derbyshire (Y Not Festival) and France (Festival Les Escales). He released a second studio album (Stranger) in 2018, which was called a “finely calibrated mix of purpose and playfulness, executed to stylish perfection” by NPR, “pop caffeine” by Bust Magazine, a “totally vibrant declaration of worth” by The FADER, and “at once triumphant and defiant” by The New Yorker.

A recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, UMS (also known as the University Musical Society) contributes to a vibrant cultural community by connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. One of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country, UMS is an independent non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Michigan. During the coronavirus pandemic, UMS has continued to connect audiences and artists through digital presentations and a robust Digital Artist Residency series, giving audiences a window into the creative process through six different projects by Wendell Pierce, Tarek Yamani and the Spektral Quartet, Tunde Olaniran, Cleo Parker Robinson, Brian Lobel and Gweneth Ann Rand, and Joyce DiDonato. All digital presentations are being presented free-of-charge to enable access to audiences everywhere, supporting UMS’s commitment to bold artistic leadership, engaged learning through the arts, and access and inclusiveness. Matthew VanBesien became the organization’s seventh president in July 2017.