Nigerian singer and songwriter, Yemi Alade released the visual for her single titled “Shekere,” featuring Grammy award-winner, Angélique Kidjo.
What’s most fascinating about the collaborative single is the fact that it was birthed upon a personal request by Kidjo for Alade to revamp her classic “Wombo Lombo.”
According to the press release that accompanied the visual, “the cinematic visual for the praised number opens up in dramatic sequence which displays the authentic and unapologetic beauty of the African continent, a theme which has dominated in Alade’s artistry and has made her hailed as Africa’s championing artiste of her generation.”
Alade who came to limelight after the release of her groundbreaking single ‘Johnny,’ became a household name, and a force to be reckoned with in the Nigerian music industry.
Over the years, her fanbase grew across the African continent, hence becoming the self-acclaimed ‘Mama Africa.’ Her success crossed the international borders, so much so that she became one of the most sought after artists from Nigeria.
With so much success came so much dislike for her music from her home country, a paradox that music lovers, fans, and critics alike find a little confusing. Over a long period, Yemi Alade had to grow a thick skin to suppress the kind of spiteful criticisms that followed her music. Probably why they say ‘a Prophet is not respected in his own home.’
The irony of it all is that the more they hate, the more strides she attains internationally. From collaborations to endorsements, and more awards, Ms. Alade’s success could easily be seen as a thorn in the flesh for those who despise her guts.
I was discussing with a friend about Yemi Alade’s music and he said ‘Nigerians have outgrown her sound and type of music.’ And quite frankly, a lot of people also share in my friend’s sentiments.
While Alade has remained one of the least controversial (female) singers, she’s always been compared to her close rival, Tiwa Savage, who on the other hand is always giving the media something to talk about.
NOW TO THE MAIN ISSUE
Yemi Alade released her critically acclaimed fourth studio album ‘Woman of Steel’ in 2019, an album that featured international stars including, Rick Ross and of course, Angelique Kidjo.
The album was widely accepted and as usual, criticized for reasons known to the critics.
The release of the said visual comes as a strategic move by Yemi Alade, and her team following the big win by Angelique Kidjo at the just concluded Grammy Awards. The timing, the purpose, and the message that the song exudes came at a time people thought she probably had nothing really special to offer anymore.
Furthermore, the release serves as a crucial way for Yemi to announce herself this year.
Now, all of a sudden, the much ‘hated’ Yemi Alade who barely gets enough retweets has suddenly become a hero, and currently trending as at the time of this article.
This goes a long way to show that sometimes, talent is never enough, knowing how and when to put out content is very strategic in the music industry. If she had released the visual before the Grammys, I am almost too certain that it wouldn’t have gotten this type of acceptance.
For me, Yemi Alade’s resilience is something I find entirely admirable. Her enthusiasm for what she does has kept her going and despite the negativity that has surrounded her art, she has remained a ‘Woman of Steel.’