Introducing Nigerian American Singer-Songwriter, Nola Adè
Afro-Soul singer-songwriter Nola Adè is a first-generation Nigerian American born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Adé embodies the immigrant spirit of hope and positivity. Her musical stylings and boisterous voice reflect her upbringing – from her childhood Nigerian worship songs to the Afrobeats and Highlife of her parent’s homeland. We recently got a chance to chat with her about how her heritage influences her musical makeup, her process of creating music and much more. Check out the full interview below:
How does being a first generation Nigerian American, shape your outlook on life?
How has this shaped your creative process? The duality in which I was raised definitely plays a huge role in the way I make my music and the way I look at the world. My household was 100% Nigerian, and in the Chicago streets I learned completely different lessons. I understand the struggles and triumphs of both cultures, and I know that definitely made me more open to different types of music I wanted to hear and make. My worldview was expanded in general because of it. I believe that nothing is impossible, with a little hard work and faith. And it's with that same optimism that I approach my own music. And how sweet is it that I could merge the sounds of soul and afrobeats together and have it sound good - that is the essence of who I am and the music I represent!
Did you grow up in a musical family?
I sort of grew up in a musical family. My parents sing but they never sang professionally. They sing in church. My grandfather on my mother's side actually was also a musician. My sister sings, most of my cousins sing, so yea, I would say that my family is pretty musical.
What sparked your interest in music?
I joined my elementary school choir when I when in 2nd grade, and believe that is where my love for music might have started for me. I don't remember if I was really interested in music at the time, or if I joined the choir because it was like the "it" thing to do at our elementary school (haha!). But from then on I was never the same! Being apart of that choir developed my love for singing and music tremendously.
How does your family feel about your music?
At first it was not easy explaining to my Nigerian parents that I wanted to do music as a career. They wanted me to make sure I continued my education past college, which ended up being my life's path anyway so its all good. I'm thankful that I experienced the opportunities that I have in regards to education. There's sort of a joke that says that Nigerian parents only want their kids to become doctors, lawyers, and engineers - like one of those jokes that's really funny because it's really true (haha)! Now that I have really settled into this career, my parents - and especially my father - are my biggest fans. And my brother and sister are all involved in the music too. It's a family affair!
What is your creative process like?
When developing a song, I usually always come up with a melody first. Melodies come to me really quickly, then the words follow. Then I think one of my favorite parts is rearranging lyrics and my phrasing, so that somehow the lyrics into my melody. I record snippets of lyrics and melodies on my phone pretty much all the time. So, if you look through my phone there is a lot of random phrases and lines I have. But then later, the phrases and snippets that I love, I make in to a complete song.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Are there any Nigerian artists that influenced you or that you look up to? Growing up, I loved listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing riffs, Lauryn Hill’s and Chrisette Michelle’s tone, Jazmine Sullivan’s control, Brandy’s breath control, Mali Music’s everything, and the list goes on. I am just an overall huge fan of good sangers! And of course I’m influenced by Nigerian artists too. Two of my favorite Nigerian artists that really are still influencing me now are Adekunle Gold and Simi.
What is your favorite part of making music, what do you like the least?
I think I love the entire process of making music. From the idea to a finished song. It's just a bit challenging for me to love the part where I have to pay out of pocket for all the studio time, mixing, and mastering. But I value the importance of those roles in making great music. I embrace the process!
What advice do you have to someone who is trying to pursue music?
Be consistent. And you have to believe in yourself and your music first, before others can believe.
What would you say to yourself ten years ago?
I would tell myself to focus now and do what you love, and to be consistent at it. Regardless of whether the leaps are small or large, consistency is the key to progress.
What do you have in store for the future? Any collabs/ Projects in work?
Yes! Definitely working on more music - I'm expecting to be consistently releasing music throughout the summer and fall. I've been in a very creative type of mood lately! And one of my goals is to do more collab work, so please stay tuned!
Check out her two latest singles below:
Good To You Official Music Video: