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The 5 Songs That Shaped Angélique Kidjo

Beninese two-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo shares the 5 songs that shaped her.


Photo c/o Angélique Kidjo

Last weekend Beninese icon Angélique Kidjo won her second career Grammy for Best World Music Album for her eleventh LP. Named after Kidjo's own mother, Eve is an ambitious 13-track (plus three interludes) celebration of female empowerment packed with collaborations from the likes of ASA, Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, Dr. John, Kronos Quartet, and choirs from villages in Benin and Kenya. “This album is dedicated to the women of Africa, to their beauty and resilience," Kidjo said in her acceptance speech. "Women of Africa, you rock!" In the sprit of reflecting on a life and career as extraordinary as Kidjo's, Okayafrica asked the Beninese diva to share the five songs that have most shaped her.

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Photo courtesy of AYLØ.

Interview: AYLØ Bridges His Music & Universe In the 'Clairsentience' EP

The Nigerian artist talks about trusting your gut feelings, remedying imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do.

AYLØ's evolution as an artist has led him to view sensitivity as a gift. As the alté soundscape in the Nigerian scene gains significant traction, his laser focus cuts through the tempting smokescreen of commercial success. AYLØ doesn't make music out of need or habit. It all boils down to the power of feeling. "I know how I can inspire people when I make music, and how music inspires me. Now it's more about the message."

Clairsentience, the title of the Nigerian artist's latest EP, is simply defined as the ability to perceive things clearly. A clairsentient person perceives the world through their emotions. Contrary to popular belief, clairsentience isn't a paranormal sixth sense reserved for the chosen few, our inner child reveals that it's an innate faculty that lives within us before the world told us who to be.

Born in 1994 in Benin City, Nigeria, AYLØ knew he wanted to be a musician since he was six-years-old. Raised against the colorful backdrop of his dad's jazz records and the echoes of church choirs from his mother's vast gospel collections, making music isn't something anyone pushed him towards, it organically came to be. By revisiting his past to reconcile his promising future, he shares that, "Music is about your experiences. You have to live to write shit. Everything adds up to the music."

Our conversation emphasized the importance of trusting your gut feelings, how to remedy imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do,

This interview has been edited for purposes of brevity and clarity.

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