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Angélique Kidjo Wants To "Bring Rock Back To Africa" With Her New Talking Heads Album

The Grammy Award-winning Beninese singer is re-imagining the Talking Heads' classic album, Remain In Light.

When most people think of music originating from the African continent, rock isn't exactly what comes to mind.

But Angélique Kidjo was quick to remind us in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that "rock music came from the blues and thus from Africa." With her newest album, Remain in the Light, Kidjo looks to re-imaging the landmark Talking Heads album, which was widely considered to be one of the top albums of the 1980s and was deeply influenced by Fela Kuti's afrobeat.


While Kidjo's album will be released on June 8, you can watch the video for its first single, "Born Under Punches" now.

For her rendition, Kidjo partners with renowned producer Jeff Bhasker, who has worked with Rihanna, Kanye West, Drake and Jay-Z (to name only a few). This album also sees her collaborating with Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Blood Orange and Tony Allen, with artwork conceptualized by Kerry James Marshall.

Together, they help Kidjo peel back the classic 80s rock sound to reveal and amplify the West African rhythm that anchored the original album.

"As Remain in Light was influenced by the music of my continent, I want to pay back the homage and create my own African take on the Talking Heads' songs," Kidjo mentions. "Now is the time to bring rock back to Africa, connect our minds, and bring all our sounds to a new level of sharing and understanding."

Check out the album's lead single, "Born Under Punches," below.

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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