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Asa (Bukola Elemide)


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Nigeria

Asa

 

Aá¹£a (pronounced "Asha") (born in 1982) is a Nigerian – French singer-songwriter and recording artist. Her stage name "Aá¹£a" means "Hawk" in Yoruba.

Early life

Born Bukola Elemide, Aá¹£a was born in Paris, France to Nigerian parents. She was two years old when her family returned to live in Nigeria. Aá¹£a grew up in Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria.

She states that the city is "buzzing with energy but also home to a deep-rooted spirituality. Islam thrives shoulder to shoulder with Christianity in an atmosphere of tolerance, and the turbulent city moves endlessly in an infernal and yet harmonious ballet of love and hate, laughter and violence, poverty and wealth."

However twenty years later Aá¹£a returned to Paris, which is where her life as an artist took wing. Aá¹£a was twelve when her mother sent her to one of the best schools in Nigeria Corona. But educational excellence had a bitter taste : five years of studies and hardship. When she came home, she discovered Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Lauryn Hill, Femi Kuti and Angélique Kidjo, in whose footprints she dreamed of following.

At 18, Asa was very familiar with frustration. The university was on strike, the choirs were snubbing her. During these frustrating times, Asa used to lock herself in her room and sing; this she said was very comforting. Nevertheless, she managed to get her voice heard on a few radio talent shows and her first applause brought her boundless pleasure. She then signed up, in secret, for the Peter King’s School of Music and learned to play guitar in 6 months.

 



Background

Aá¹£a was the only girl in the family and had to share her parents with her three brothers. At a tender age she began to look after the house during her father and mother’s frequent absences. That is when Aá¹£a started to sing.

The desire to sing came to her and did not go away, carving out a permanent place in her soul. She preferred singing to talking, improvising endlessly until her mother made her stop. Over the years her father had built up a fine collection of records featuring soul classics and Nigerian music, including Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Lagbaja and went on to draw inspiration from them. Aá¹£a said "I was a tomboy and when I was a teenager I became very shy because people made fun of me … in my own way, I was already attracting attention ! I got in the habit of never doing anything like everyone else. People didn’t understand my low-pitched deep voice, the choirs didn’t want anything to do with me. I had to get to church first if I was to have any chance of getting near the mic"

In 2004 Aá¹£a met her manager and friend, Janet, who introduced her to Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, who in turn became her musical partner and producer. He enabled Aá¹£a, the free spirit, to find her bearings and: songs in English and Yoruba, music falling somewhere between pop and soul, inspired by her musical heritage – with particular care paid to the melodies – and reflecting the feeling she puts into it. Her texts talk about her country, the things in life, the things in her life, all delivered with feigned naïveté and real irony. She states "I like writing or thinking about my texts on the bus, or the molué, as we call it. 49 seats, 99 passengers standing up, as Fela described it. Everyone’s squashed up together and mini-dramas break out all the time. And, at the end of the day, we still manage to laugh, that’s where our strength lies..."

It was at this stage of her life that Aá¹£a finally returned to Paris. This was her chance to test out her talent on the French musical scene, playing with artists such as the Les Nubians, Manu Dibango, Doctor L and Tony Allen. In the meantime, back in Nigeria, her first single, Eyé Adaba, then Jailer, were beginning to get airtime. MTV chose her as the ambassador for South Africa. Her popularity became big, that when she came back to Nigeria she opened for Akon, John Legend, Beyoncé and Snoop Dogg amongst others. She has also collaborated with well known Nigerian artists such as 9ice and Tuface.

Aá¹£a soon signed to the 'Naïve label'. Partnered by Cobhams, and with the new involvement of Christophe Dupouy, she produced her first album, Aá¹£ha.

Her second album titled Beautiful Imperfection was released on 25 October 2010. The lead single off Beautiful Imperfection is titled "Be My Man" and was released in late September. A video for the song was released in mid-October. Speaking in January 2011 to noted UK soul writer Pete Lewis – Assistant Editor of Blues & Soul – about her second album, Asa stated: "'Beautiful Imperfection' basically represents the way I see life. The name actutally came about from an interview I did about a year ago. I was asked to describe my life. And my reply was 'Well, its really beautiful- but at the same time it's IMPERFECT!... And what I realised from that is that I actually LIKE the imperfection! I like the little surprises that life gives you because I feel it HUMBLES you and makes you THINK!"

 

 

Data.Logbaby.com - Autobiography of Aá¹£a

 

 

 

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Updated 12 Months ago
 

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Tags:     Asa     Biography     Bukola Elemide     Nigerian     Musician

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