Step inside Nigerian-British singer Oyinda’s virtual world

Since 2014, Nigerian-British singer-songwriter Oyinda has shared her music through a series of black and white images and films. In them, she occupies various architectures wearing structured clothing and doing sharp choreography, articulating the dark, captivating power of her songs.

Advancing the audio-visual work from her second EP, Restless Minds, Oyinda has released three remixes with accompanying 360º virtual reality films. She first began exploring the VR medium in her “Serpentine” music video, where she cast her body in 3D for the first time, and which initiated collaboration with digital artists Pussykrew.

“For these three films, I wanted to expand the world we created for ‘Serpentine’ and dive into virtual reality more,” says Oyinda. “I was inspired by Greek mythologies, sci-fi, traditional Thai dance, and top models. I learned about various kinds of movement so I myself could be statuesque and communicate a kind of strength and self-worth that’s so solid, like ice.”

Though Oyinda’s strength is immediate in the new remix films, the process for creating them required painstaking exactness. “You have to be so disciplined and completely still,” she says. “The machine is like a handheld vacuum. Someone scans your body while you hold a pose. It’s like a laser going slowly over you.”

The process also required Oyinda to wear a specific nude underwear; the ones typically provided are only available for light skin tones, pointing to a lack of diverse representation within the virtual reality medium. “I found it to be so jarring,” Oyinda adds. “There aren’t a lot of people of color shown in VR, which is another reason why I really wanted to go for it.”

For the remix VR film debut below, Oyinda asked a good friend, the singer/producer Empress Of, to give her take on the song, “Never Enough.” The result lightens up Oyinda’s original production to enhance the true meaning of the song—accepting and celebrating oneself.