A summary of our Tweet chat with the amazing Mama Africa, Yemi Alade, following the release of her album; Empress.
First and foremost, congratulations on the release of your latest album #EMPRESS, what has the reception been like so far?
The reception has been great. Amazing reviews and the fans love it..
Let’s talk about #EMPRESS. What was your inspiration for the album and how long did it take you to put it all together?
#Empress took about 2 years to put together. I was already working on my 5th album when I released my 4th. The inspiration for the album is celebrating the woman and celebrating myself. It is safe to say it is an extension of #WomanOfSteel, it is primarily an afro-pop album, highlife, gospel, dancehall fused in. A journalist called it performative afro-pop and I agree.
That’s incredible, we love the work rate. Did the pandemic this year have any impact on your creative process and the date of its [#EMPRESS] release?
The pandemic had a massive effect. I had the #WomanOfSteel tour, concerts planning across Europe and that was postponed. The pandemic had an effect on the release date, I recorded more music and even found time to act in the feature film, #OmoGhettoTheSaga by @funkeakindele.
Where was #EMPRESS recorded? You’ve got quite a few international features on the album including Estelle, Mzansi Youth Choir, Vegedream & Dadju. What was it like working with all these creatives from around the world?
The majority of #Empress was recorded in the Netherlands. We flew the producers for a boot-camp in Amsterdam and we recorded, then finished up in Lagos. I’m so honored for the collaborations from my friends Estelle, Vegedream & Dadju. I love Mzansi Youth Choir and had to have them.
Have you got any amazing stories to tell about working with any of the featured artists? How did you feel making music with the equally amazing Estelle? did you record together?
This is a hard one. Making music is Estelle was amazing, I’m a super fan but we did not record together… Sent her the music, she loved it, voiced and sent back. Recording with Rudeboy was amazing, also shooting the video with Dadju.
We love your artwork for #EMPRESS. What is the inspiration behind it and what message are you trying to communicate with it?
Thank you! I believe an #Empress is a person of authority, power, kindness, and love. Seemingly fragile yet unbreakable. I wanted a cover that showed all these qualities in the purest form, hence the cornrows, feathers, drape, and minimal cosmetics.
What are your thoughts on the ‘Afrobeats to the world movement’ and how much does the global audience matter to you?
Music is global regardless of language or genre. It is amazing that I am in an era where Nigerian and African music is breaking new grounds and boundaries. The global audience matters to me because I am a global artiste.
What sound(s) were you going for on #EMPRESS and how did you go about deciding which producers to work with on the project?
A global and unapologetic African sound.
Your French on ‘Control’ was very impressive! How many languages do you speak?
I love languages. My French is decent, Swahili, English, Igbo, Yoruba …maybe Spanish. I have a song in Portuguese, there is a version of “Nakupenda” in that language.
Which is your personal favorite song on #EMPRESS and which did you enjoy making the most?
I do not have a favorite. All the songs hold a special place in my heart. From “Weekend” to “Rain” to “Deceive”… Picking a favorite would be a mission impossible.
Which new school artists excite you the most right now?
The new era of artistes are very talented and diverse, unique in indifferent ways… I love them all.
What is your advice for upcoming artists that look up to you and hope to achieve what you have and more with music?
Hardwork, perseverance, consistency, humility, know thyself… It is a marathon, not a sprint!
We are sorry to hear about all the tour cancellations during the pandemic. Do you still have any plans of going back on tour this year?
I have been privileged to still perform virtually for Ted, Global Citizen, and a few others during the pandemic. Touring, for now, is still indefinite because #COVID19 is still a major situation. When things are back to or close to normalcy… We’ll be back on the road.
We’ve had an amazing time gisting with you about #EMPRESS, congratulations once again on its success so far. We’ll now open the chat for fans to ask their own questions. Keep shining Yemi Alade! we love you!