A lot of people in Nigeria either ask, or imply that I must be big in my own country and get surprised when I say they have absolutely no clue who I am unless they’re especially interested in Afrobeat. That number in Norway is extremely small. Though the Fela tribute concert I went to in Bergen during the Felabrations indicated that if properly promoted, Afrobeat could actually get a fair following here. I noticed names of different bands being noted down on phones all around me to be looked up on Spotify, so maybe one day more than the 15 or so Afrobeat enthusiasts will know the name Lioness Oyinbo, my family and friends not counted.
I got discovered by Nigerians and was invited to Nigeria to develop my music. This couldn’t have happened in Norway and possibly not that easily in the UK, where I experienced that being a white Afrobeat artist was just that little bit awkward. So Nigeria was the only place I could really develop.
My reply to those people who ask if I’m big back home is that “I’m an African, Nigerian export” and I’m proud to say that I am. Now, I am accepted as the white Afrobeat singer everywhere, simply because I, musically speaking, come from Africa. My music is being played on all continents, but mainly on African outlets. I hope to be played on mainstream radio stations in Europe, America, Asia and Australia one day, but this is something many African artists alongside me are dreaming of. And if I were to choose between one or the other, I’d rather be on an African radio station playlist among the big names that I admire than be on a mainstream station playlist whilst the people of Africa are don’t want anything to do with my music.
So there you have it guys. As an artist, I’m one hundred per cent African and proud of it.
Lioness (Feat. Chidinma) Love Me JejeOn my birthday which was two days ago, I finally released my track featuring Chidinma entitled Love Me Jeje.
Jeje is Pidgin English and means something like happily, fully, or something along those lines. The song has received really great critique and a lot of people who normally don’t like Afrobeat love this one.
I am grateful to have released my fourth single without the backing of a big label. And to have my song out there alongside big names in the industry. I have faith in this one.
The song can be purchased on iTunes
And it’s Also available on most streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, and GooglePlay and so on.
For my visually impaired readers the video is me and Chidinma performing the song while models are acting out the story. The story is about a couple who are going through hard times before things get better. I believe you die, says the girlfriend, which means I’ll trust you till the end. The video looks invissible to me even though I did include it on the post, so in case screenreader users wanna watch it, I added the link at the top.
Well, I can’t really talk about Femi, without talking about Fela.
The Felabrations are in full swing, particularly in Nigeria. But other Fela fans around the world are also doing their bit to celebrate this very complex legend.
Apart from creating music that certainly transports me into another world, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a political activist who got arrested pretty much every time he released a new single, because he criticised the government.
The current president Buhari, even through him in Jail back in the 80s when he was a dictator.
Despite tmarrying 28 wives (27 of them at the same time), he was also fighting for women’s rights and Funmilayo Kuti, his mother, was the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car.
In short. You think you get Fela, but then you don’t. that’s certainly how I feel. And though everything he did wasn’t wise, I admire that he always followed his heart and gave every cause he worked for his absolutely all.
His music has inspired and is still inspiring great artists such as Paul McCartny, Michael Jackson and Alicia Keys as well as Nigerian acts like Wizkid.
Fela is such a complex and interesting character that describing him is difficult. I don’t think there’ll ever be someone quite like him.
For the Felabrations here in Oslo, I went to a screening of Finding Fela, a lovely film everyone should watch. Whether you know fela or not.
‘RIP Fela. May your soul be united with your loved ones.
I know. It looks so easy. Recording in the studio, appearing in the media, performing on shows, getting nominated and winning awards and have lots of fans telling yu every day how much they adore you.
Yes. There is this side to being an artist. And nothing feels more fulfilling and rewarding than, when you do these things and they go well.
But to get there, you need to work hard and take chances. Many artists before me have experienced working with dodgy labels, being rejected over and over and puzzle over how on earth to get together money for a good promo for their new single. Many artists after me will experience the same things. I am going through these things.
Though you know you’re not the only one going through these things, you can often feel really alone and isolated when you do. And it’s easy to lose faith in yourself and start a negative cycle of thoughts.
When I feel particularly down related to my career, I cheer myself up by reading, or listening to success stories of artists who are doing well now.
And who I see as my role models. One such artist is Femi Kuti. He is the son of the legendary Fela Kuti. And in my opinion, a legend himself.
I Recently came across a very lovely interview with him on youtube. Don’t let the title fool you. This is deep, personal and to me it was super inspiring.
I may not agree with every single of his viewpoints, but I share many of them and it would be a dream come true to one day work with him.
Not many, if any women is doing this type of pure afrobeat. With my soon-to-be released single, I’m going to be doing a pop version of it. But how cool wouldn’t it be to perform at at the Fela Shrine with Femi and his band?