Musician, Composer, Comedian

Ahamefule J. Oluo

From the moment you set foot in Seattle, you can feel it: art is everywhere.

The thriving arts scene is a priority in this city—in fact, Seattle has been recognized for having more arts-related businesses and organizations per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Americans for the Arts. Musician, Composer and Comedian Ahamefule Oluo is one of the contributors to this creative city. Read on for a look at the city through his artistic lens.

Q&A with Ahamefule Oluo

When you aren’t playing shows with your band Industrial Revelation, where do you go hear music?

We play all over—the Crocodile, Neumos, Royal Room, Blue Moon Tavern. I hear a lot of music from the other bands on the bills, so when I go out I usually want to go dancing. I like Nectar Lounge in Fremont—they have all kinds of bands: reggae, salsa, hip hop. I also love ’90s dance night at Lo-Fi on Eastlake. They have theme nights there, like Emerald City Soul night. Just make sure to check the calendar in case you don’t like psychedelic doom metal.

How would you spend a free day in your neighborhood?

The coffee shop is integral to the Seattle experience, so you have to start the day there. I’m in Columbia City so I usually go to Empire Coffee or Caffe Vita. I’d also recommend the Columbia City Bakery—anything you get there is incredible. Then go for a walk or bike ride. Lake Washington is so beautiful, and you can walk around it on the path, or hang out in Seward Park. My daughters love walking around Columbia City. We end up at Full Tilt Ice Cream and play old-school video games.

Which major tourist attractions do you enjoy?

The Underground Tour! When I had a day job, we went there as a company, and even as a work event it was really enjoyable.

Any hidden gems you care to reveal?

The Polar Bar in the Arctic Club hotel has a great happy hour. It feels so glamorous in there, and you can play pool for free.

Seattle is steeped in rich jazz history. Where can people experience jazz today?

To be from the same city as Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, where Ray Charles got started—there’s not another city whose music legacy I’d rather be a part of. The Royal Room is my favorite jazz club. It feels like such a neighborhood place. The Owl & Thistle in Pioneer Square has a Tuesday night late-night jam session that features some of the best jazz musicians in Seattle. And I’m excited about the new Black & Tan Hall in Hillman City—which is within a quarter mile of Columbia City. To have multiple music venues in one area is always a good thing.


Interview by Brangien Davis. Photo taken at the Polar Bar. 


Ahamefule Oluo’s band Industrial Revelation plays a live set on Seattle’s KEXP radio.



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