Heralded as the next big music global star, our own Nigerian (yes oh!) Nneka Egbuna and her music profile has been on a steady rise since she relocated some 10,000 miles to Hamburg, Germany, at the age of 19 to pursue a career in singing & obtain a degree in Anthropology. She’s now back in Nigeria still making sweet music.
Nneka will be dropping her “Heartbeat Remix” EP on October 5, 2010. It will feature 5 remixed tracks of the smash hit single along with the version on the album. Following the success of her US release debut album “Concrete Jungle”, (her 2 prior LPs were released in Europe and Nigeria) the new EP features remixes by well known producers Chase & Status, Vinzz Le Normand & Koolkojak. Nas appears on two tracks off the album, one of which leaked a while back in July. Peep the track below and view the trailer to the EP.
I’ve been listening to Nneka’s music for about 5years now so I can categorically say people like her only come once in a decade century. Even people have hailed her as the new Lauryn Hill, I beg to differ cos to me she’s unique with different parts of Hip-Hop/Music elements I have grown to fondly cherish –
Like a softer Fela Kuti with the same emotional pain for his people + a Wyclef produced Lauryn Hill + an Erykah Badu doing a Bob Marley cover + a Monie Love singing with Common and Blackstar/Reflection Eternal as backup + an Afro-European Gnarls Barkley + a much milder guitar solo of Ofege + an Alicia Keys with a Lenny Kravitz persona.
Yup! She embodies all this plus more.
Born in 1981 to a Delta-Igbo Nigerian dad and a German mum and growing up in Warri (kai! Wafi no dey carry last!), Nneka soaked up the sounds and rhythms of one of the most musical nations on the planet for 19 years, a country where expressing yourself through song is just a part of everyday life, a country that has music in its very DNA, where the influence of giants like Fela Kuti, Victor Uwaifo, Onyeka Onwenu, Rex Lawson & King Sunny Ade are never far away. She relished the experience of singing from an early age in her school and in the church choir.
She rediscovered music as her passion while studying in Germany. She had to strike a balance between studying and doing performances @ events, shows and festivals (and also making demos). In 2004, she gained public attention while performing as an opening act for dancehall reggae star Sean Paul at Hamburg Stadtpark. After much acclaim, Nneka was given a green light to record her first album.
She dropped her debut EP “The Uncomfortable Truth” in 2005 and shortly after dropped her 1st album “Victim Of Truth”. The album got mad praise from the media, the UK’s Sunday Times later declared it “the year’s most criminally overlooked album”, comparing it favourably to “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”
Her sophomore LP release in 2008 “No Longer At Ease” was every bit as lush and visionary as her debut. It’s a record that Lenny Kravitz and Lauryn Hill both heard and said: ‘I want this girl opening my show!’
In 2009, “Concrete Jungle” dropped on an unsuspecting USA market with its collection of songs offering love, hope and optimism (dedicated to the people of Warri & the Niger Delta of Nigeria) and her amazing voice piecing it all together.
Every year since her musical career took off in 2005, this Afro-German diva princess has built on her successes, stretched her muscles, and widened her range. Her music highlights themes of injustice, oppression and poverty in Nigeria and Africa doing more than just entertaining her fans but also touching something universal. As she puts it herself: “I do it in a sweet way – but I sing to speak the truth.” That truth is a call for change (Remember to vote right!). In her recent interview with CNN, she says “I see light. As long as we are part of the change that we want, then things will change.”
Nneka has almost done and gotten it all – She’s been interviewed by CNN (she was also profiled on CNN’s African Voices), appeared on David Letterman’s Late Night Show, described as “pure hotness” by Rolling Stone and “one of the artists to watch out for in 2010” by Spin Magazine, chosen in 2009 as one of Beyond Race Magazine’s 50 Emerging Artists, has her song “Kangpe” on the soundtrack of the EA Sports FIFA 2010 video game, appeared on the cover of Sound City Blast in June 2010, won the 2009 Best African Act award at the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards, won the 2010 reggae category of the Museke Online Africa Music Award, went on tour with Nas and Damien Marley to help them promote their “Distant Relatives” album, did a song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa called “Viva Africa“, won the 2010 Best Indigenous Artist in Nigeria at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA) and most recently the BET Network handpicked her to be featured in Music Matters Campaign, a multi-platform campaign focusing on introducing noteworthy music artists and highlighting the “next BET Superstars”
All that awaits are some grammies, a few multi-plat discs hanging on her wall and the long-lasting peace in the Niger Delta area & Africa which she is a strong crusader for.
Peep below for all the goodies we have for you. Yup! Get familiar!
Download J.Period & Nneka Presents “The Madness (Onye-Ala)“ for free
Interview on CNN’s African Voices (Nneka Egbuna: The Next Big Thing?)
Interview on CNN’s African Voices (Moving Across Cultures)
Interview on CNN’s African Voices (My Childhood & Growing up around violence)
Live Performance on David Letterman’s Late Nite Show
The Uncomfortable Truth
Kangpe ft Wesley Williams