INTERVIEW: Yemi Alade to perform at 1Dance Africa Festival
Yemi Alade is regarded as the leading lady of Afrobeats music. After winning Nigeria’s The Peak Talent Show in 2009 her second single ‘Johnny’ became the most watched Nigerian music video on YouTube with a massive 89 million views. She has amassed a fan following on an international scale ever since, recently hitting an impressive 1 million YouTube subscribers, the first African artist channel to do so. This year alone Alade has dropped a Rick Ross remix of her 2018 hit ‘Oh My Gosh’, released the infectious, high-energy dancefloor track ‘Bounce’ and featured on the Beyoncé produced album The Lion King: The Gift. She is now making her way to perform at the 1Dance Music Festival in Sydney and Melbourne and we recently caught up with her to find out more.
Hi Yemi! So good to chat with you. First up, how is everything in the world of Yemi Alade?
Everything is awesome, and strong just like steel.
You are coming to Australia to perform at 1Dance Africa, what can we expect from your performance?
Expect my all. Every time I perform I give my all and I am planning to give more than my all for 1Dance Africa. I will be with my dancers and raved OvaSabi band to give my all, and I promise to leave it all on the stage,
You recently featured on the song ‘Don’t Jealous Me’ from the The Lion King: The Gift album which was produced by Beyoncé. How did the collaboration come about and what was the experience like?
I was on ‘Don’t Jealous Me’ and also on ‘My Power’ alongside Beyoncé. It was a fulfilling experience, I have always admired Beyoncé, so when her team reached out to mine, it was a no brainer. I flew to Los Angeles, recorded on several songs for the album and I ended up having 5 credits on the final LP. Also, I met Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the London premiere of The Lion King, on her request. I am humbled, joyous and grateful for the experience
Your latest album Woman of Steel was released at the end of August, can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind the album and the message you wanted to put out there with it?
Woman of Steel is my fourth studio album and it represents strength simply. I was at a point in my life where I realised I needed a super hero and realised that I was my own super hero. Days when I feel weak and down, I have to push myself and rise above it all. It celebrates the hero in every one, and it is a superb body of work. I got to work with Angelique Kidjo, Duncan Mighty, Lemar, Dadju and a host of talented humans on the album and I’m glad about the positive feedback.
How do you normally write/create your music? Is there a creative process you follow?
It depends on the song. Some songs are recorded in different ways, I save melodies, ideas, lyrics, share these with producers and we develop from there. I just want to tell stories and move with the music I make.
You dropped the music video for new single ‘Give Dem’ last week and it is amazing! What was it like to film – and how long did you have to be in the wet for?!
The video for ‘Give Dem’ was shot in Lagos and directed by Clarence Peters. It was a fun shot and we shot the wet scene around 2am in the morning and it took a couple of hours to shoot that scene. Hair, makeup, set-up and so on.
You are one of the biggest Afrobeats musicians in the world, for those new to the genre what other Afrobeats artists do you recommend we should all be listening to?
Just listen to good music. Pop, soul, dance, reggae, Afro, Makossa. There are a lot of genres out there, just listen to good music.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about gender equality in the entertainment industry. What are your thoughts on sexism in music, and particularly how it affects women of colour?
Women are always objectified and overlooked in any industry regardless of colour, it affects growth and all sorts. This is not only prevalent in the entertainment sphere, I think it’s in any and every industry. I think people in positions of power should do better and not abuse said power in a sexist way, be it either abuse or discrimination. Women are breaking boundaries and we will continue to rise in whatever field we find ourselves operating.
If there is one thing you want people to take away from your music and your art what would it be?
The Message! Be it motivation, love, strength… The message, I want people to be moved.
What’s up next for Yemi Alade?
Woman of Steel! A deluxe edition of the set, more videos, a world tour, more Yemi Alade, more boundary breaking.
Yemi Alade is performing at 1Dance Africa in Sydney & Melbourme. Tickets on sale now from http://www.1danceafrica.com/
Friday 11th October - Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Saturday 12th October - Festival Hall, Melbourne