NINIOLA: THE QUEEN OF THE ‘HOUSE’
Legend has it that The Maker made Alkebulan (Africa) his earthly place of abode because they were his chosen people. He had created us with a unique skin color and had ingrained in us an atypical way of life. Little wonder, when Sebastian Bach was all about the organ in the 18th century, our fathers had found a way to communicate human words through percussive sounds.
Post-colonization, western influence had eroded our special heritage. And to compensate for this, we started to integrate old traditional ways into our present reality. This integration cut across major facets of the society and one aspect worth mentioning is contemporary African music.
Niniola Apata had unpleasant experiences with talent shows auditions till she made it to Project Fame West Africa and finished fourth. Obviously encouraged with her run on the show, she decided to release her first single: the song, Ibadi, produced by certified hitmaker, Sarz. Ibadi introduced her distinctive sound which was a fusion of rich vocals and afrocentric percussion embroidered on the almost imperceptible characteristic four-on-the-floor beat of house music.
House music found its way to the continent through the townships in South Africa, and years after, it has birthed subgenres with heavy traditional influence. One of those is Afrohouse — a subgenre kingdom Niniola created and was confident enough to crown herself queen of it. This has placed her on an admirable pedestal that gives no room for competitors in an industry filled with a plethora of rivalry amongst mainstream acts.
Her rise in the music scene, though championed by her distinct sound, saw her ride on the RnB wave while also opening secret portals of sounds that have not been accurately defined by the books. This ascension took an astronomical turn with the release of Maradona. This record probably completed the majestic palace of her kingdom and built walls around her fortress to prevent trespass because it put a stamp on her distinction. Maradona was also a hit in South Africa due to her track record of house music influenced sound. This made Magun remix which featured South Africa’s Busiswa a step in the right direction. The missing piece to an incomplete puzzle. What else could her South Africans fans want than a collaboration between their Nigerian favourite and one of their own on a production influenced by their traditional sound?
Niniola might not be top choice for an average music listener in Nigeria because of her distance from the generic Afrobeats sound prevalent in the local industry, but she is a queen in her niche and her royalty is being felt across borders. Recently, she got a certificate of recognition as a composer on the Grammy-nominated album- The Lion King: The Gift. Not many people saw this coming because she was not a featured artiste on the album. Her Maradona track was remixed by Algerian Disk Jockey: DJ Snake. She also features American record producer Timbaland on her upcoming album.
Niniola’s kingdom might go unrivaled for a long time because as powerful as it is, it seems to be located on a secluded island that accepts selective collaborators of a common origin. And with the Afrohouse genre getting more attention in this globalized world, Niniola has no choice but to let her guard down for more unusual collaborators.
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