By Benjamin Njoku, with Agency report
Nigerian afro-pop singer Yemi Alade was the eye-catcher last Saturday night when she stormed the 9:30 Club, a popular nightclub in Washington, DC, to show off a little love to his fans.
According to the Washington Post, the Mama Africa singer was the only voice on stage when she performed a 70-minute set at the popular nightclub and for more than once she made the audience her duet partner.
The large but dedicated crowd proved to be able to sing large pieces of Alade’s tunes without any help from the singer or her three-piece group.
Alade’s music is inspired by many African styles, but it draws more inspiration from hip-hop, dancehall reggae and rhythm and blues of the digital age. Unlike the previous generation of international Afro-pop stars, the 32-year-old performer does not use any traditional instruments and is not at the head of a large group with several percussionists; most of his songs are built on aftermarket synth beats that include both rubbery and metallic tones.
At 9:30 am, it was backed up by a bassist, keyboardist and drummer, their default modes being set to 1970s jazz-rock. Alade’s songs tend to be short, and in concert they were sometimes fragmented. . The multilingual singer interrupted several songs to discuss mainly in English and did not always return.
His 2014 hit, the saga of a runaway lover called “Johnny”, was teased but was never performed in its entirety. Musically, the most satisfying numbers were those with the strongest West African accent, such as “Tumbum” and “Africa”.
The latter is typical of Alade’s approach, which combines cultural pride and wink eroticism. âNowhere to be like Africa,â she boasts in her penetrating viola, then flirting: âMy African hands will love you / My African lips will kiss you. These playful appearances were highlighted by Alade’s bumps, hollows and shimmies in her one-sleeve minidress moves that were mimicked by two dancers with white jumpsuits.
She turned another love song, “How I Feel”, into an ode to the audience, who enthusiastically sang the chorus. Alade ended by posing for a selfie with the crowd and chanting âDC! Then, like the elusive Johnny, she left.
The 9.30 Club outing was part of his month-long Empress tour of select cities in the United States. She started the tour on September 9, 2021 which ends tomorrow in New York, performing in Berkeley, California, Las Vegas, Nevada; North Adams, Washington DC among other cities.