Nigerian-born Brit and Peckham-raised Aadae could be ruling both the airwaves and our concert halls with an inventive sound – an eclectic fusion of Afrobeats, pop, jazz, soul and church music peppered with the dynamic sounds of traditional Nigeria. Feferity interviews the South London singer whose message is bold and her style, hugely compelling…
In a 100-word concise description, tell us about Aadae the songwriter-performer-musician
Being born in Nigeria and raised in London has greatly shaped how I see the world and interpreted it through music. As a songwriter, performer and musician I draw from everything that surrounds me. I grew up in Peckham amongst a large West African community which meant that I had the best of both worlds – British Culture with Nigerian roots. I guess I am a child of the African Diaspora.
Photo Credit: AadaeMusic /18
Most artistes lay claim to separate their private life from the stages. Is there a private side to you?
I think there is a definite crossover between my life on stage vs being away from it. Whilst I don’t give ‘all-access passes’ to everyone, you can hear and see glimpses of who I am privately in my music – and even more specifically, in the subject matter of my songs.
What inspires you in songwriting?
My life, and other peoples’ lives in all its fabulous (and sometimes not so fabulous) nuances. I think a song can come from anything or anywhere. I have been inspired by everything from dreams to news headlines.
Who is your favourite musician of all time?
My friend Tosin is actually my favourite musician of all time. He really is that talented and plays almost every instrument perfectly. But, if you are talking about my influences there are too many to just name one fav…Can I give you two? (for different reasons of course): Fela Kuti- because he was fearless and revolutionary in his message, and an extremely well-rounded musician and accomplished musician- not to mention he is an icon too. Growing up he was a staple in my musical diet – my Dad listened to his music all the time. Erykah Badu – During her ‘Baduizim’ era she was the first women I saw embrace her African ancestry so boldly – this gave me so much confidence in celebrating who I am.
Are you more of a singer or a songwriter?
I started as a singer and then found my feet in writing – I really think I am both of both. I see them as different sides of the same coin. I love the freedom in songwriting – you can be really honest and unapologetic, whilst singing allows you to explore the art of storytelling bringing life to the words in performance.
Any plans to dabble into acting, modelling or other spin-offs that artistes are often wont to do?
I haven’t actually thought that far ahead, but outside of music I am quite fascinated with all things interior. So, given the chance maybe something interior design related. What can I say…I love nice things!
After the release of the EP, ‘Agape’ in November 2017, what are your current projects and what ‘s the next big thing to expect?
At the moment we are working towards my next single release. I am also playing festivals during the summer this year including The Great Escape, Neverworld Fest, Latitude, Greenman to name a few. I am always writing, so more music is on its way. When the time is right an Album will follow.
‘Agape’ the EP opens and closes with samples of a Yoruba church service in Nigeria. To what extent do worship and spirituality influence your art?
Worship and spirituality are absolutely integral to who I am and how I grew up. My music is an extension of me and so worship and spirituality are part and parcel of my sound. I always found the relationship between religion/ spiritualty and life interesting. I feel that religion as a whole informs many parts of Nigerian culture and customs. Within my family there are both Muslims and Christians, attending church services was a massive part of my growing up. I specifically wanted to explore West African styles of worship and prayer within my project, you can hear this within chants I include in my vocal arrangements.
“Born in Nigeria, but raised in Peckham”, as the Southbank Centre website profiles in your recent outing. How significantly does this background impact on your songwriting and performance?
Being a Nigerian-born Brit is at the heart of my identity so naturally, it feeds heavily into who I am as a creator of music. Songwriting and performance wise I draw from Pop, Electronic music, Soul and traditional Nigerian styles of music, think: Afrobeat, Highlife, Juju, Fuji (these were all staples in my Dad’s record collection).
Tell us your most remarkable concert till date and why this is so…
The most amazing concert I have ever seen was Grace Jones at Afropunk London two years ago. She is queenly! Her confidence and energy is insane- but what more do you expect from a legend?!
Watch Aadae performing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer, London’s South Bank
[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8xdNqBa4rw” mute=”yes”]
- Full Name Aadae
- Fav colours White, Coral and Magenta
- Fav food Smoked Salmon or Plantain
- Most treasured My family and friends
- Fav London scene/building/sight Coldhabour Lane Brixton or Peckham Rye on a Sunday (I am partial to anywhere south of the river)
- Fav ways to relax when not performing Eating out with my nearest and dearest
*Aadae’s new single, ‘Just Found Out’ was officially released Fri 8th June, 2018. Listen to her new single here: https://soundcloud.com/aadaemusic/just-found-out-2
She plays Archspace in London in October*
QUICKCHAT! arranged by Segun Fajemisin
Perfomance pictures & video by: Franklyn Frantos