Yemi Alade dubbed “Queen of Afrobeat” as she reveals how she hustled to the top
By Sewe Ishola,
Nigerian female singer, Yemi Alade has just gotten a new appellation, as Fader magazine, a music and lifestyle calls her “Queen of Afrobeat” in a moving feature on her.
The Johnny crooner, who had spoken to the magazine was portrayed in a colourful manner, showcasing her talent, music, enormous success, international appeal and how she is bridging her continent’s cultural divides to become one of its biggest stars.
She spoke extensively with the magazine on different spheres of her career and how her biological background had helped her musical career.
On why she sings in other languages, she said;
Definitely. I’m a lover of languages, and sometimes I’m even a lover of accents. The French version of “Johnny” was for fun, but for “Kissing” there was more of a goal — I wanted it to mean more to my listeners. If I sing one of my songs in your language, you can totally own it. My dad is Yoruba and my mom is Igbo, so those two languages are kind of in my pocket. I speak English — something we call vernacular pidgin English — but when it comes to international languages I’m stuck on French right now. I’m working on Swahili and hopefully at some point I might learn Portuguese.
On her dual tribal identity:
I couldn’t have put it better. Tribe is a very strong factor in Nigeria, and coming from two major tribes is a big plus for me. Personally, it’s helped me embrace both cultures, and you can see through the fact that it’s all just one culture. Just some different names attached to it and different languages.
On her journey from Peak stage to the international stage, she said:
Four years is a very long time, I tell you! I was faced with so many obstacles that I reached the point where I wanted to stop music and use my degree to get a job so I could finally sustain myself and have a life. I had 10 singles already out there; I’m lucky I had [my producer] encouraging me.
At the time, I had no idea that [“Johnny”] was my numero uno hit that I was writing. The lyrics just came to myself and [producer] Selebobo when we were trying to get into the mood of the song: one line came out, then another, like, Continue, continue! I kept laughing. When you read the lyrics they’re very funny, it’s about a cheating lover in an almost friendly way. In fact, the song wasn’t officially released — it leaked. If it hadn’t, I could have just kept the song, like, Oh, no one’s going to like this. It was very different from anything I’d recorded so far.
Photo credits: http://thefader-res.cloudinary.com/