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Ami Faku Delivers a Stellar Debut Album with ‘Imali’

Listen to Ami Faku's debut album 'Imali.'

Ami Faku is not here for games. The young South African singer's debut album Imali is a display of her soulful voice and impressive writing skills.

Imali displays Ami Faku's versatility, as she delivers ballads ("Ubuhle Bakho," "Ungowami") alongside songs for the dancefloor ("Mbize").


"I tried to embrace where I come from and also celebrate it," says Ami Faku in the album's liner notes on Apple Music. "I wanted to represent African sounds and show that I'm proud to be Xhosa."

Production on Imali is handled by Blaq Diamond, Sun-El Musician, 37MPH Eternal Africa and Wilson. The album leans more towards Afropop with a few variations.

Read: Meet Ami Faku, the Rising South African 'Modern Afro Soul' Artist Who Is Fast Becoming a Household Name

The artist explained the concept of Imali (money) when breaking down the title track:

"'Imali' is a very very emotional song because it speaks the truth. It's very scary to me because sometimes people don't like hearing the truth. I know that some people never get a break and it's so sad. I'm asking people to find something that makes them happy, pursue it and not spend the rest of their lives compromising everything about themselves. I encourage people to be selfish, seek happiness and create a break for themselves. I encourage people to be selfish, seek happiness and create a break for themselves, 'cause no one else will do it for you. I'm here for them in the sense that I will be honest with them. So "Imali" represents everything about life and about me as Ami Faku—how I want to be honest and have a relationship where we're very honest and look out for each other."

Ami Faku's album is a strong release. After releasing only a few singles, not many expected her to pull off such a coherent body of work with no skippable songs and fillers.

Stream Imali below and revisit our interview with Ami Faku here.



Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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