Nigerian born American pop singer, Jidenna, in an exclusive interview with Pulse Nigeria has addressed a number of issues relating to him, Afrobeats, and the Nigerian music industry.
In the interview conducted during his current visit to Lagos, Jidenna spoke about his love for Nigeria, working with Wizkid and how much love he gets in return from his birth country.
He also shared more on the rise of Afrobeat and its derivative sounds from Nigeria. He recognizes its growth, and admits that it is positive for the continent.
“I have been waiting for it my whole life. Afrobeats didn’t exist in this form when I was younger. But just to have a sound that comes from the African continent, especially Nigeria, and now the whole world says that’s cool now. I’ve said this before, being teased for being African when you are little. I came with a very thick accent. Even my sisters were saying ‘you are bush. The way you talk is so bush. The way I pronounced all my words. So I will change how I spoke. Now, the people that get teased, have become the cool people that everybody want to be.
That’s what this Afrobeats movement is showing. It’s the beginning of a larger movement for Nigeria, for Africa to move into the world’s spotlight, be respected, be more understood, be appreciated for what we bring. It’s starting with music and dance, but it’s gonna expand to everything. To me, that’s what this signifies; it’s the beginning of a turning point.”
Afrobeats has steadily grown in Jidenna’s sound, with his latest single, ‘A little bit more’ containing African drum patterns and pidgin English. He attributes this to a creative evolution process, and reveals the happiness it gives him to have people connect with the new fusion.
“It’s a natural evolution, you know. The whole album is a variety of sounds, because I have lived in a lot of different places; in the US, in Enugu, and of course in Lagos. So I wanna make sure that each record feels like a new world. ‘Chief don’t run’ is a prequel to ‘Classic man’, and a prequel to ‘Long live the chief’. What happened? Who was Classic Man before he was a man, who was he when he was a boy? When his mom came to the US with him. So that’s what the video shows a little bit.
“The sound of a little beat more – the Afrobeat flavor fused with some of the sounds that I’ve already been doing – it was natural, that’s what came to me that day. When I was making the records, with people from Wondaland Records like Roman GianAurthur and Nana, who I make all the music with. For the pidgin: I am a trickster, so I like when you are on the radio in the US, and you don’t expect to hear pidgin anywhere in the US. I thought that I could sneak it in there, and I did. So now it’s funny hearing it, because I can’t believe that I have people from Utah singing it and saying ‘What is a ‘wahala’? I like that. It’s the same thing with ‘Classic Man’, it’s all tricks you know.
On what he aims to take away from this trip, he explains the need to shoot his documentary, and throw light on the positives from the country.
The swank king, popularly known for his hit song,‘Classic Man’, is in Lagos, Nigeria for an exclusive album launch party which will take place on September 1, 2016 at the music hub of Nigeria.
Jidenna will be debuting his album “Long Live The Chief” at Hard Rock Café, Lagos, on Thursday, September 1, 2016.
Jidenna will tour the African continent for a series of exclusive performances, album release parties and the filming of a BBC documentary, which will chronicle his homecoming journey to Nigeria.