Afrobeats artist Yemi Alade catches the interest of Fader Magazine as she gets featured in their magazine.
In an article titled “How Yemi Alade Hustled Her Way to Become the Queen of Afrobeats“, Yemi chatted about her new single “Tumbum”, music, how being Yoruba and half Igbo helped her in the music industry and much more.
Below is an excerpt of her exclusive interview with Fader Magazine.
Your new single “Tumbum” discusses how food is central to Nigerian culture. Why was this important for you to explore?
In Nigeria, food isn’t just for consumption but is a cultural representation. Different states in the country are known for their indigenous delicacies. Permit me to say, ‘by their food you shall know them.’ It’s true that the “Tumbum” video only briefly sheds light on rural areas in Nigeria; I wanted it to be relatable for Africa as a whole.
How would you compare the creation of your latest album, Mama Africa, to that of your previous one King of Queens?
The process was more of a struggle. After the release of King of Queens I was basically never at home. I was in another country almost every day, and I can’t record on a flight. The announcement system would be all over the record! I didn’t have time to settle down, or to put my personal studio together. But through that struggle, my thought process turned into a goal: to capture all of Africa on one CD.
Has being half Yoruba and half Igbo helped you access different cultures?
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.
Throughout your career you’ve recorded songs in different languages, like French or Swahili. Is that reflective of a desire to reach your fans in those markets?
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.
Written by Alex Macpherson for The Fader
Photographed by Annie Collinge for The Fader
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