When the name, Nneka Lucia Egbuna is mentioned in a circle of world music lovers, a smile lights up the room. Nneka blazed into our ‘earlight’ in 2003 with her gripping voice, her infectious rhythm and most importantly her politically and social conscious lyrics. She has literally toured the world and headlined many concerts. She has three albums to her name as well as several singles under her belt. Unlike many African musicians who forget their roots when they are embraced by those from outside Africa, that isn’t Nneka’s story. Nneka holds tightly to her Nigerian heritage and in her videos, she isn’t afraid of speaking in pidgin language. She is simply phenomenal and we are so excited and honored that she was willing to be interviewed on this site. A very quick interview but we hope that you learn a little more and you go out and get her cd. Her most recent CD -soul is heavy is great.Who is your biggest inspiration and how do they influence your music and the genre of music that you perform within?
I am inspired by my life story which often features stories of pain and agony. From a spirtual standpoint, I am inspired by my tie with Jesus and God.
It is no secret that many times where the industry label artist's genres is often quite different from what that artists think. What genre do you put your music under?
Honestly, I really do not care about labelling. You can put my music anywhere, there are different musical influences that you can hear on there. So really, I don’t really care about that..anywhere
Being African, how did your family take it when you decided that pursuing music fully is your purpose?
I left my family at a young age, young for Africans or Nigerians, so all I achieved mostly was without my family. Now they appreciate it though but I must say there was a time when Nigerians never really considered musicians as reasonable, healthy, normal people. It is different now and of course, having a degree in Anthropology helps.
What inspired your first CD? What was going on at that time?
Well, I just created the music out of love, motivation and boredom. I was far away from Nigeria and I needed something to keep my mind straight and so instead of doing hard drugs, or being wayward, I decided to occupy myself with something I loved and have a passion for. It gave me sanity and all of my anguish and pain was expressed in that record which was called victim of truth.
Take a listen to African from the CD - Victim of truth
One of the things I love about your music is your bluntness, almost Felasque - have you found that this bluntness has created more fans or more enemies? I am talking about Africa now.
Sure, I have experienced a lot of hate and a lot of love. Some people love what I do because of my realness and in Nigeria, a few politicians do not want me in their states. I have had problems here and there but in the end we always do get a way because we have the masses on our side and we speak the truth.
You also speak in broken English sometimes and you incorporate this lingua franca into your music - do you find that people love that or do they feel alienated? why do you use broken English?
This is the language we understand and are familiar with, its like the Krio in Sierra Leone. It is the best way to express myself. Honestly, this is like my language and the language that I grew up with in Nigeria. You know as someone living in Nigeria, this is one of our languages and the language that allows us express ourselves completely and get our feelings understood.
Beyond music, what are your other passions and how does this influence your music?
I am now in Freetown, working on a workshop with women and war victims, I also
like exploring the world, eating and painting.
I know you were recently in New York - how was the reception? Will you ever come back to New York?
By God’s grace we shall be back, I like New York, it reminds me of Lagos in a more oyiboish way. I call Lagos the African New York.
Your newest CD is simply powerful. What's your favorite song on there?
Soul is heavy because my soul is heavy. It says everything. It is about the ups and downs in life, the mystery and misery, the love, the hate, about Africa and its plight, the Niger Delta, corruption, Political Leaders, the role of religion and our position in all this evil.
Take a listen to Soul is Heavy.
What will surprise us - your fans about you? What would you like us to know about you that we don't know? What next for you?
Well, my band and I perform in a very authentic simple manner. We play the guiters, bass, drums, keys and perform in a very authentic simple manner. You should catch us next time, we are in your woods.
- Nneka has been nominated in three categories for the 2009 Channel O Music Video Awards,and won an award for Best African Act at the 2009 MOBO Awards.
- In late 2009, she was chosen as of one Beyond Race Magazine's "50 Emerging Artists," resulting in a spot in the publication's #11 issue (with Bodega Girls and J. Cole on the cover), as well as an exclusive Q&A for the magazine's site.
- In November 2009, Nneka staged her first concert tour of the United States where she performed shows in New York City, Vienna (Washington DC), Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Furthermore she was a special guest on The Roots Jam session. Her first US release Concrete Jungle was set for 2 February 2010.
- Her track 'Kangpe' is also featured as a soundtrack on the EA Sports FIFA 2010 video game.Take a listen to Kangpe
- In January 2010, Nneka appeared in Late Show with David Letterman in New York before getting her US tour underway.
- In June 2010, she won the reggae category of the Museke Online Africa Music Award 2010 with her hit song, Africans.
- She agreed to go on tour with Nas and Damian Marley to help them promote their 'distant relatives' album. She has done a remix of her highly rated track, 'heartbeat' with Nas which is expected to be made public soon.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 10 June 2012 23:26 )