Music as an Art
In this article, Yemi Alade is on our Artist Spotlight. But before we proceed, lets talk briefly about music as an Art.
Music, for ages, has been a source of expression. Victor Hugo rightly noted that “music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”. Irrespective of one’s gender, age, race, tribe, or language, a composition of sonorous tunes never ceases to be felt; it is the great leveler, the universal language of mankind. It is something that people with a lot of differences agree on. Music has always been a matter of energy, a question of irrupt strength. Ranging from the gospel genre to rap, the power of music cannot be over-emphasized.
An American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri once said:
“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death is a tone unsaid.”– Langston Hughes
In Nigeria, music is a business, where sponsors and patrons invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance a concert.
Artists like Yemi Alade are part of a new generation of African pop stars who are connected to the rest of the world through social media. With her music videos and viral dance challenges, Yemi Alade has built a large fan base across the continent. In the meantime it even fills halls in Europe and not even with Africans from the diaspora.
Who is Yemi Alade; Short Biography of Yemi Alade
Yemi Alade in an interview once said, “at first I didn’t actually plan to become an artist. Everyone knows that the respected jobs in our society are doctor or lawyer. I was studying geography when I suddenly won the final round of a talent show on TV. That was in 2009. Today it is much more respected to be a musician, DJ or social media influencer. A lot of money can be made through sponsorship deals. And artists are now collaborating with international pop stars. This is how songs were created that the world public can no longer ignore. I see a bright future for African pop. “
“Artists are brands or products, only that we don’t hang on any shelves, we lead a life ourselves. As a pop musician in Nigeria you are always an ambassador for economic advancement. This is why many artists invest their sales directly back into their careers to keep their businesses running. This is also the reason why Nigeria’s pop music is so trendy today around the world. Instead of waiting for things to happen, we have taken our fate in our own hands. Even if I unfortunately cannot buy myself in the ‘shop’. “
Officially known as Yemi Alade, Yemi Eberechi Alade is a Nigerian Afropop singer, songwriter, actress and activist. Born on March 13, 1989, Yemi Alade made her official plunge into music after winning the Peak Talent Show in 2009. She signed with the Effyzzie Music Group and had a hit with her single “Johnny” in 2014. Since then, Yemi has been waxing stronger having releasing several albums. She has gained prominence in the Nigerian and global music industry with her creative and overwhelming stage performances, fashion and music videos.
Yemi Alade sings in English, Igbo , Pidgin , Yoruba , French, Swahili and Portuguese. Her music has been influential in many African countries and around the world as she is celebrated as “Mama Africa” for her versatility in dealing with different African languages and dresses in her songs and music videos. Alade’s father was a Police Commissioner of Yoruba ancestry while her mother is of Igbo ancestry.
As an African pop star, Yemi Alade embodies the new lifestyle of a young, dynamic, digitally networked middle class that is always linked to prosperity.
Yemi Alade’s Achievement in the Music Industry
She won the MTV African Music Awards for Best Woman in 2015 and 2016 in a row, and was nominated Artist of the Year in 2015, making her the first woman to be named Best Woman and Artist of the Year twice in a row by the MAMAs. In 2015, Alade became the first Nigerian woman to be nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) for Best African Act and was nominated for the BET Awards for Best International Act: Africa in 2015 and 2016. She won The Headies Award for best performer twice, in 2018 and 2019 . The slot was initiated at The Headies in 2018 and she was the first female artist to win the category.
Yemi Alade’s “Johnny” is One of Nigeria’s most watched video in 2014
Yemi Alade reflects in her music the contrasting reality of life in Lagos. The Nigeria’s coastal metropolis is the second largest city on the African continent with over 24 million inhabitants and, as in so many other places, men are often in charge here too.
That’s why Yemi Alade wants to empower women with her pop music, like with her big hit “Johnny“. The music video has over 133 million views and is Nigeria’s most watched music video. In it, a TV reporter goes to a village in search of Johnny. A guy who tears up several women, one proposes marriage and another is expecting a child.
“It’s not a stereotype, it’s part of our lives. Of course there are also women who play their games. With my music I address people who are not afraid to deal with what it means to be an African today. This is one of the reasons why I wear natural hair and clothes made from African fabrics, even if it is not considered progressive and urban on Instagram. “
Unlike most of Lagos’ pop stars, Yemi Alade still lives on the mainland today, in a closed residential complex, but she did not move to Lagos Island. Their high society cavorts in chic residential areas such as Banana Island or Lekki.
Yemi Alade has remained true to herself. The 32-year-old can tell stories from her glamorous life, but also embodies the culture of the poor neighborhoods of Lagos. Ajegunle is one of those neighborhoods that serve as the first port of call for anyone coming to Lagos for a better life. Well-known football players, musicians, painters, and other creative people grew up in such poor areas of the city.
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