Photos

Behind the Scenes at Sauti Sol's New York Concert

We went backstage with East Africa's favorite pop-group, Sauti Sol and their openers Jojo Abot and Vanessa Mdee. Check out our photos.

Last month East Africa's favorite band, Sauti Sol, were crowned Africa's best group at the MTV Africa Awards in Johannesburg. Being long-time fans here at Okayafrica, we partnered with the band to bring them stateside. 


The result was that on Sunday night, the Kenyans sold out New York City's Highline Ballroom—kicking off a U.S. tour that is sure to win them some new American followers.

Sauti Sol are promoting their long-awaited third album, Live and Die In Afrika, which features hits like “Sura Yako,” “Nishike” and “Kuliko Jana,” and was one of our favorite releases of 2015.

We were backstage at the Highline Ballroom snapping pics of the boys and their openers, the New York-based Jojo Abot and the Tanzanian pop star Vanessa Mdee.

Check out the photos below.

Vanessa Mdee and Savara Mudigi

Jojo Abot

Savara Mudigi and Willis Austin Chimano, relaxing before the show.

Bien-Aime Baraza

Savara Mudigi and Polycarp Otieno

 

 

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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