“With a lot of my stuff, whether it be sad or angry, there’s ultimately a sense of excitement and, hopefully, joy,” says the multilingual and multidisciplinary musician Nnamdï. “The ultimate intention is to be uplifting in some way.”
His new album, Please Have a Seat (out October 7), excels, much as his previous four did, at a riffy, mathy kind of nerd rock. But there are other genres to be mastered, and master them he does. Art pop? Post-punk? Falsetto-crazed R&B? This record reconstitutes them all in Nnamdï’s likeness.
The son of Nigerian immigrants, the 32-year-old was raised in south suburban Lansing; he began playing in bands while studying electrical engineering at UIC and became a fixture on the local indie scene.
This fall marks a level-up moment. Please Have a Seat is Nnamdï’s debut on the illustrious indie label Secretly Canadian. And after years as an opening act (recently for Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and Black Midi), he’s headlining his own 15-city tour, including a hometown show at Metro on October 22.
Even so, Nnamdï has no interest in scaling the meritocratic ladder. “I’m very much of the ideology that people shouldn’t gauge their lives by productivity, like ‘I’m only worthwhile if I’m creating something,’ ” he says. “I feel like that’s a pretty dark place to be.”