When it comes to how African music is viewed on the international front, there are some big names that will definitely pop up. And one of those is Angelique Kidjo’s.
Besides the relatively new kings, Burna Boy, Wizkid and Davido, who have been consistently doing things all over the world and have put Nigeria and Africa on the map, globally, Angelique has been doing that single-handedly, for decades now.
Born Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo, the 59-year-old is a Beninese singer, who got her first Grammy Nomination back in 1995. It wasn’t until 2007 however, before she won her first Gramophone in the Best Contemporary World Music category. Honestly, if an African wants to win a Grammy, that’s probably the only shot available.
In 2014 and 2015, she went home with Grammys in the Best World Music Album category, and by the end of 2015, she wasn’t just known outside of Africa as the ‘popular African songstress that has good control of her lingua and drops dope vibes’. Nah, she had also gained the attention of listeners in other African countries. Nigeria, of course, is one of the places where she became prominent in no time.
Omawumi x Angelique Kidjo
Who featured her first? That’d be renowned vocalist, Omawumi, who in 2016 put her on a track called “Play na Play” where they both dropped some wise words using proverbs and stuff.
Burna Boy x Angelique Kidjo
It wasn’t until 2019 when Burna Boy released the LP, African Giant and had a song with both Angelique and Damian Marley, called “Different” that the love for Angelique was rekindled again. Not long after, Burna Boy was in the Grammys, nominated alongside Angelique Kidjo herself. Mad!
Known as the King of Queens or otherwise, Mama Africa, Yemi Alade became a sensation in 2014, when her single “Johnny” became a nationwide hit, and her album, “King of Queens” was critically acclaimed, all across.
She went on to serve more hits like “Kissing”, “Tangerine”, “Marry Me” and now she has four classic albums, “King of Queens”, “Mama Africa”, “Black Magic” and the most recent of all, “Woman of Steel.” She has toured Africa and her music is known across the continent and she continues to push her music.
Just a few days after she said she wants to sign female artists between the age of 18 – 21, she returns with a brand new one, called “Shekere.” And while no one would have expected it, the 30-year-old featured Angelique Kidjo. The song which has a more Eastern African vibe is even more notable for the colorful music video that was rolled out immediately after.
The video, if anything, is a demonstration of African cultural heritage and it’s all shades of art. Yemi Alade never disappoints when it comes to that yeah. And Angelique isn’t a small girl, either. A combination of their artistic elements is no doubt formidable and even though the song might pass as just average, the two women make a perfect duo! The question now is, does Yemi Alade also want a Grammy?