Monday, February 7, 2011

Aṣa - Parisian Nigerian Soul

When walking through any of the many Metro stations in Paris, it is impossible to miss all the Aṣa posters plastered everywhere. So finally we asked ourselves, who is this chick?!

Aṣa (pronounced "Asha") is a Nigerian French singer/songwriter. Born Bukola Elemide, her stage name Aṣa means "Hawk" in Yoruba. She was born in Paris, France to Nigerian parents, but when she was two years old her family returned to live in Nigeria, and Aṣa grew up there in the city Lagos. She developed a deep love for music, which led to her learning to play guitar in a mere 6 months. She began songwriting and developing her sound - songs in English and Yoruba, somewhere between pop and soul, inspired by her heritage.

She released some music in Nigeria, but in 2004 she decided is was time to return to Paris. She immediately broke in into the music scene, playing with artists such as Les Nubians and Manu Dibango (2 artists that we've featured on the GLOBAILE podcast). Meanwhile, back in Nigeria, her first single, Jailer, was beginning to get airtime. MTV chose her as the ambassador for South Africa and her popularity became so big that when she came back to Nigeria she opened for big names like Akon, John Legend, Beyoncé and Snoop Dogg amongst others.

She has now released 2 albums and continues to put out heartfelt, soulful, yet catchy songs, a bit reminiscent of India Arie. Here is the first single and video off of her most recent album, Beautiful Imperfection. The song plays with that retro Motown sound that is so popular in Europe right now...

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