Charles, the eldest son, continues his father William Onyeabor’s electro-funk music legacy, this time across the Atlantic.

William Onyeabor, the Enugu-born funk musician famous for his soulful renditions in the late 1970s, passed on quietly in Enugu on 16 January 2017. Two years later, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world and forced everyone indoors and into a reflective mood. One decision that was made in far-away Italy today resurrected Onyeabor’s music.

“When he passed away in 2017, a voice in my head insisted that I should continue his legacy. However, I disregarded it until the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It was during the three-month lockdown in Italy that I had time to think back on my life. That was when I decided to pursue music.”

This was Onyeabor’s first son, Charles, talking to The Punch in an interview.

 Charles Onyeabor is today an Italian-Nigerian singer, songwriter and businessman. Although he grew up and was educated in Nigeria, he emigrated to Italy in 2003.

He soon hit the studio to record his first single, They Can’t Pull us Down (featuring Miriam Taylor). The song received positive reviews, although it passed largely unnoticed in his native country.

Charles Onyeabor is however undeterred. He has since recorded many successes of his own. One of the most memorable was the March 2023 Afrobeat Invasion in Germany. He played alongside Nigerian starts like PSquare.

He released his latest 20-track album, Like Father, Like Son, in November last year.

The young man told The Punch newspaper that doing music is his way of continuing his father’s legacy.

 “I have always been a part of my father’s artistic journey and I observed what he did, and occasionally joined him in the studio. I suppose that inspired me as well, but I did not act on it.

Charles’ latest album features a lion and a cub on the cover, symbolizing not only the filial relationship but also the influence that his father has on his music.

“Many people who were close to my father have told me repeatedly since I began my musical career that I sound like him. He was my main source of motivation. He also influenced the way I think about music.”

Check out his music channel on YouTube here

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