Yemi Alade makes a debatable claim that there is no number one in the Nigerian music industry, compares herself to the likes of Wizkid and Davido in a recent interview with Hot 98.3FM and all hell breaks loose on social media. Just like wild animals pounce on their preys without mercy, so did Yemi Alade come under attack on Twitter for saying she holds down the same venues and capacity Wizkid and Davido hold down.
Yemi Alade no go kill me 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/7ivd6xfdZK
— Icey (@ManLikeIcey) July 11, 2018
Well, this is not the first time the ‘Johnny’ crooner is coming under strong criticism from Nigerians. When she is largely talked about on twitter, it is mostly for the wrong reasons – where her lyrical and writing prowess is blatantly ridiculed.
I’m volunteering to be yemi alade’s song writer, we’ve suffered enough
— R.I.P DAD † (@Kobiwyler) July 3, 2018
Right now Yemi Alade is not even bigger than MR Real in Nigeria🙄 https://t.co/fryBRxDsI3
— KinG NomSo👑 (@ani_nomso) July 12, 2018
When it comes to major career milestones, facts and numbers Yemi Alade is a juggernaut. Nigerians down play her success due to the fact that she is a woman, or they say her “lyrics” her poor etc. Yet she is ruling.
— Ogaga Sakpaide (@Ogagus) July 12, 2018
But is her lyrics as wack as some say it is? I doubt. Yemi Alade songs can appear cheesy & playful sometimes, however, they are still relatable. Take, for instance, her controversial song ‘Tumbum’ from her sophomore album ‘Mama Africa’. Tumbum Tumbum is an African game some of us played when we were kids when we want to make random picks which was similar to the British game ‘Eenie Meenie Miny Moe‘. In this case, Yemi does not want to be considered as a second option while her man was lost in choosing between two ladies. She articulates this with a dash of wit.
The truth is that Nigerians can be really hard to please. We sometimes think we know what we want when it comes to our music preference, but we don’t. We rarely show interest in intellectual music in this part of the world, that is why acts like Brymo, Bez, Johnny Drille, and the likes don’t get as much recognition as they truly deserve because the audience just wants to party and soco soco, no need for deep stuff. This is another reason why a majority of Nigerian artist don’t care about improving on the quality of their lyrical content. Music is a money making venture for them, so they create based on demand, except for a few who does it solely for the passion or love for the art.
Like or hate her, but it will never change the fact that Yemi Alade is one of Nigeria’s biggest music export and for a lady, such achievement should be applauded, knowing that the odds are more against female singers than their male counterparts.
Right from her breakthrough single ‘Johnny’ which currently sits as the most watched video on Youtube by an African artist amassing over 90 million views, Yemi Alade has stayed on course, attaining feats that can’t be overlooked even if the media tends to turn a blind eye sometimes. She has steadily given us reasons why she still wears the hat as ‘Mama Africa’ which this article has highlighted and they include:
Some will say “Yes. Johnny has the highest view on Youtube by an African artist, is that her only song?” Well, the thing is Yemi barely does small numbers when it comes to her Youtube views. She has a way of gathering very large streams within a short time. Some of her most streamed songs are Johnny (over 90M views), Tumbum (over 19M views), Africa ft Sauti Sol (over 10M views), Na Gode (over 20M views), and her dancehall-inspired Bumbum which hit 6 Million views in one month of release.
Even her recent infectious tune, ‘How I Feel’ is fast growing in numbers. Lets not forget that her third studio album ‘Black Magic’ which was considered as an average project by some music critics gained one million streams on Spotify barely one month of release.
Tours/Concerts Ticket Sales
Just as the likes of Wizkid and Davido have toured several countries in Africa and outside the continent, selling out tickets at major venues, Yemi Alade has proudly done same. Last year, Pulse reported that Yemi Alade sold out the iconic Le Trianon with over 1,000 capacity in Paris days before the concert during her Mama Africa World tour. The same venue where several international acts have graced their presence such as Rihanna, Keysha, Fifth Harmony, and so on.
Even this year, she sold out the 02 Academy Islington, London making her the first African female artist to have headlined a show there. Just this year alone, the songstress have toured Europe, the U.S and certain parts of Africa, headlined the Bassline fest – Africa’s tribute to Madiba, alongside the legendary Malian musician, Salif Keita. Since Johnny dropped, Yemi Alade has toured numerous city across the globe more than any other female artist has in Nigeria.
Since she attained stardom, Yemi Alade has enjoyed several mouth-watering endorsement deals with multinational brands, one of which include her partnership with Shell where she joined other international stars like Oscar and Grammy Award winner, Jennifer Hudson, British songstress Pixie Lott, Steve Aoki, Tan Weiwei and Luan Santana in the launch of Shell’s unique new music video ‘Best Day of My Life‘ showcasing a diverse range of clean energy initiatives across the world.
Others brands include ABC Hair Relaxer Kit, Close Up, NairaBox, Iconic French wine brand Luc Belaire, and so on. Her song ‘Tumbum’ was featured on Just Dance 2018 – a motion-based dancing game for multiple players, with each game featuring a collection of songs that have their own dance choreographies, alongside major artists such as Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, and Lil Wayne. She was the only African artiste enlisted for this edition.
Yemi Alade has the following awards to her name, BET Award, NEA, MOBO, MAMA (won twice for the best female category in a row), SMVPA, Headies, The Future Awards, just to mention a few.
If we should make a selection of Nigerian artists riding high in the international scene, the name, Yemi Alade cannot be ignored as she is significantly making huge waves outside Nigeria. In her music career, she has earned quite some decent International collaborations with acts like MzVee (Ghana), Sauti Sol (Kenya), Mafikizolo (South Africa), Jah Prayzah (Zimbabwe), Charlotte Dipanda (Cameroun), and Serge Beynaud (Ivory Coast).
So despite opinions about her lyrics being poorly crafted or her sound being too repetitive and needs to evolve, Yemi continues to push the boundary and stays winning every day and all day.