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Asa tunes into music that brings peace to many lives

Singer takes her own route on creative journey

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Nigerian singer-songwriter Asa.
Nigerian singer-songwriter Asa.

Her symphonic harmonies and distinctive African vocals have allowed Nigerian singer-songwriter Asa to establish a signature sound, one that’s unique to her. 

With lyrics that carry messages of healing and teaching, Asa, whose real name is Bukola Elemide, is thrilled that even after a two-year hiatus, the magic in her songs still resonates with many today. 

“My last album was titled V and this new one which I dropped three weeks ago is called Odo,” said the singer of the 2007 hit Fire on the Mountain

“It’s always thrilled me to see where music has taken me. I’ve been able to travel the world and experience different types of countries and their cultures.

“Also, the amazing thing about this journey is having the freedom to create what I feel like creating without any restrictions. I love how I don’t need to remain in the box when in pursuit of my creativity. I believe this adventure is my purpose from God.” 

Born into a home that’s immensely entrenched in music, the French Music Awards recipient’s artistry as a child was highly influenced by her father who along with her mother worked and studied cinematography in Paris during the singer’s toddler years. They later moved and lived in Lagos, Nigeria, for 18 years before the singer decided to move back to Paris to launch her singing career in 2004.  

These were sounds from iconic American, Nigerian, and African soulful singers such as Miriam Makeba, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, King Sunny Adé, Marvin Gaye, and Nina Simone.

After two years of finding her voice as a musician, in 2006, the Nigerian songstress gained fame after the release of her album Asa (Asha)

“I am not the usual. I’m not the type of artist who goes with the noise or what the crowd says. I always take a different route, one where I can find myself. 

“This helps me to be able to tune into composing music that brings peace to many lives. When I write and sing certain songs, the aim is to bring awareness and open discussion of how we can find solutions. 

“Perhaps one day when I’m gone, there will be a catalogue of music that will bring healing, calmness, and elevation to those who listen.” 

As one of the veteran Nigerian artists who have paved the way for the younger generation from her home country, the now 43-year-old singer is thrilled she took on the challenge as a 23-year-old aspiring singer to go behind her imagination by solidifying her name as one of the greats. 

“It’s always good to see the world being so acceptive and loving of African music. Within the past decade, it has been the top genres people listen to and as an artist, seeing how things are turning around only means nothing but good for the continent,” she said. 

“It’s always made me feel good that I’m a part of a legacy and I want to continue contributing till the end. I appreciate where music has taken me and I feel blessed for this experience.”

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