It is the first quarter of the year 2020, cities are on lockdown, flights are grounded, and music concerts are being cancelled all over the world. From Wuhan in China, it has crossed vast sea and land to both near and distant places across the globe. Nevertheless, in the middle of this bleak and unfortunate time, new music provides positive energy to millions of people who remain connected by the internet. In the meantime, we wait for world-class biological scientists to provide us with a vaccine.
World music has evolved with many technological advancements incorporated. Yet music and science are seen as unrelated fields to many people. One person who has made strides to bring a closer connection between the two is Dr Azunre aka Dr Pushkin, a Machine Learning Engineer who holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who doubles as a Hip Hop/Afrobeats artist and poet.
In 2019, Dr Azunre made international headlines for his contributions to advancing the state of Optical System Design optimization algorithms. He developed an algorithm that can guarantee to find the “best possible design” to an optical design problem. Being a scientist, people have made Dr Pushkin feel “different” as an artist. “Because I have always been a bit of a bookworm or nerd, people have been suggesting to me that I should not be making music for as long as I remember”, he says. “At the end of the day, I don’t care about what people say or think, just do what I love, work hard at it and let the chips fall where they may”.
This strategy seems to be finally working for Dr Pushkin, who released two afrobeat singles in 2019 – “Zunguzika” with artists Alchemy Thabigdawg (Zimbabwean) and Ataman Nikita (Ghanaian), as well as “Fantasy” with Soorebia and Ataman Nikita (both Ghanaians). These garnered significant streaming traction and buzz in 2019.
In the year 2020, Dr Pushkin is cross-pollinating ideas from music and engineering, focusing on exactly the things that make him different from other artists to gain an advantage. He has invented a new technology for making music videos. In his own words – “As a machine learning engineer, I have innovated a computer vision pipeline over the past couple years, that uses neural networks and artificial intelligence to create a uniquely stylized animation and video.” The technology he has applied on his new music video released this March.
As a Ghanaian, Dr Pushkin believes his work will spark innovation from our very capable music artists and will put Ghana Music out there as an innovative music culture. He encourages engineers to contribute to the music industry by employing innovative ideas from various fields.
The song is available on all major platforms streaming platforms including Apple Music, YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud.
Dr. Azure is also a former winner of the 2002 National Science and Maths Quiz with Opoku Ware School in Kumasi.