Exclusive! Interview with Nigerian soul artist Nneka.

Nneka Egbuna is a Nigerian musician whose star continues to rise. With the release of her latest album Concrete Jungle (for the U.S market) she continues to capture the ear of many. She has been compared to artists from Lauryn Hill to Fela Kuti. This blog earlier this year declared her its favourite artist. She is currently on tour with Nas & Damian Marley on their Distant Relatives Tour as the opening act. She also has a new song Viva Africa featured on the 2010 World Cup soundtrack. An outspoken artist on many issues like Africa, faith love, corruption, the Niger Delta and more she continues to shake things up musically. In Part 1 of this exclusive interview with ::KenyaChristian:: she talks about her powerful song “Africans”, her recording process, if Africa can ever be truly free and more. So, sit back and check out what she had to say.

::KenyaChristian:: Hello Nneka, greetings from Kenya! First of all, thank you very much for doing this interview with KenyaChristian blog. I have been listening to “No Longer at Ease” ever since its release and its power never diminishes. When recording that album what was the process like, did you intentionally set out to make a “hard-hitting” record message-wise or what was the plan?

Nneka: No, there was no plan, since I just vibe. It was a long process, I never really have a specific recording period, I work daily. When I am inspired I write and produce, sometimes it just does not come. “No Longer At Ease” was a collection of songs I wrote in the last two years; ups and downs lead to new songs, seeing different places in the world, meeting different people and being inspired. What inspired me most was my hometown and the plight of the Niger Delta.

::KenyaChristian:: We must talk about the song “Africans” from your debut album. It is rare these days to hear such a blunt and raw record, especially as a single. Did you think when recording it, that you may offend some Africans with that record?

Nneka: Yes! I am African, I was offended myself by my thoughts; but the truth always hurts. There is so much we need to change within Africa. We can not always depend on the Western world for aid, for help and assistance of any kind, it all lies within Africa. We have the resources, if our leaders were to invest in the right places things would be better. And of course if we as citizens and people of Africa would see our own responsibilities and importance to the development of our community and continent then a change, a positive change would come to pass.

::KenyaChristian:: Can I challenge you on that same song? What about someone who would argue its naïve to think Africans can just wake up and chart their own destiny. Look at Zimbabwe, they tried it and now the West has tried to strangle them through economic sanctions. Maybe the chains (on Africans) are not as easy to break as your song implies?

Nneka: It is difficult. There would be blood, there would be strife, there would be death. And if at all we work with the West, which is actually something you cannot avoid at this stage, (we have gone too far already) one always has to show people the limits to their freedom. I am not saying we should remove them completely; that cannot work since we are all connected, and in life we are compelled to interact and work together.

Look out for Part 2, coming soon!

(Update: Check out part 2 of the interview here)


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