Adaorah lights up every room. The singer wears a consistent aura of good energy and enthusiasm for life that was contagious enough to make this piece longer than it should have been, considering how much fun was being had during the conversation.
She’s an afro-fusion artist that juggles living in Nigeria and working in the United States and the result of this is just as evident in the kind of music she makes.
“I moved from Onitsha to the States in the early 2000s. So because of both cultures, I’m able to have a nice fusion in music,” she explains. “Because I grew up listening to 2Baba and Flavour, but I was also listening to Beyonce and Britney Spears. I’m grateful to have both cultures.”
This dynamism, alongside the fact that she’s a Coloratura Soprano, makes her stand out in the scene. Her last release titled ‘Peace of Mind’ was born out of the singer wanting to help people denoise in a rather chaotic city like Lagos.
“While I was here last year, fuel scarcity was huge, there was no cash, the tension and chaos was crazy.”
She makes this description as though these were elements of only that season, but in reality, residents of Lagos know that it is their everyday life.
“And everyone around me was like ‘I just want peace of mind. I just want peace o’,” she continued. “That’s how I got inspired to make the song; for it to give you two minutes of peace while listening to it.”
We talk to the budding superstar about her upbringing, merging music with work, living on two different continents and how she makes everything come together in sync. This piece has however been edited for length and comprehension.
A reader is hearing your name for the first time. How would you want them to perceive you?
Adaorah is like the girl next door, you know. She is someone you want to be friends with and hang out with all the time because you know it’s going to be fun. That’s the vibe that I give as a person and through my music.
If you could describe your music, what would it be?
It would be energetic and sexy and fun.
Was this always the plan? Was it always music?
It was and wasn’t. I had always loved music, even as a child. But it wasn’t until I got on stage when I was younger at a competition and noticed how much fun I was having while doing it. It was euphoric to have people cheer for my name, and it just made me so excited. So when I started taking it more seriously, it was so fulfilling. If it wasn’t music, I wouldn’t know what to do because it is my life.
You are both based in Nigeria and in the US. What’s that like?
It’s tough. I try to do three to six months here and alternate with the States so it’s been a challenge because a part of me feels like I could stay in Nigeria a little longer every single time. Because it’s important to be rooted in the place where you’re creating music, so I feel like my creativity runs so much more when I’m here. But I still work a full time job, so I have to make sure I’m present over there in the US. It’s jiggling the two, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
How does it affect the kind of music you make?
Honestly, in the beginning, I really felt like I needed to be ‘Nigerian enough’ and to prove how Nigerian I am, but I realized that I’m like a melting pot. I’m Nigerian to the core – you’ll never take that away from me and if you try, we’ll fight, but I’m also an American born in Chicago.
Besides music, what other interests of yours are most prominent?
Fashion. I’m into styling and I love it.
People say that the globalization of Afrobeats is making it lose its authenticity. As a musician in the diaspora, do you agree with this claim?
You know, anything great is always replicated and when it is, it’s sometimes watered down and can never sound like the original. That being said, I think that you can tell the difference in authenticity when you hear other people try to do afrobeats. The genre is evolving and I think it’s going in the right direction.
What are your music plans for 2024?
Next year is going to be big musically for me.
I have my next single dropping at the end of January. It’s a remake of a very popular track from the late ‘80s. And we collaborated with the original artist. I’m really excited about it. I also have an EP which I have just wrapped up.
Your most and least favorite things about the music industry?
So I love working in the studio with other creatives. We get in his bubble, and it’s like there’s no stopping us once the wheel starts turning. Everyone is just bouncing ideas, the energy is high and the ideas are flowing all over the room in high current. It’s such a great experience. I love being able to start with one word and end up with five verses.
“My least favorite would be the politics of music. If it was just about the music, we would all just flourish. But it’s not.
My least favorite would be the politics of music. If it was just about the music, we would all just flourish. But it’s not. From funding, to gatekeeping, to label owners and such. That’s my least favourite part, but I’ve learnt to overcome it and do my work.
Do you have any tour plans? Should we expect you in Canada anytime soon?
If Canada calls me, I’m coming! I would love to go on a mini-tour in North America in 2024.
What would make you most fulfilled?
I don’t know if I’ll ever be fulfilled because, I’m the kind of person that once I hit a goal, then I have 10 more goals to reach. To me, success would look like having my own tour, being able to collaborate with some of my favorite artists, being able to mentor other artists as well and being a storm within the music industry.