Interview

Liya Wants to Stand Out

The rising Nigerian artist, who has been crowned the 'First Lady' of Davido's DMW label, tells us about how her life has changed and details her new Alari EP.

When Nigerian music icon Davido signed Liya, a day after hearing her song in a Lagos nightclub, the trajectory of her life was effectively changed. From being a hopeful up-and-comer, the singer was suddenly on the books of one of the most influential record labels in the afropop industry, Davido Music Worldwide, and primed for a breakthrough. "Melo," the enthralling single played that day in the club was released within days of Liya's signing, retro-fitted with a video that heralded her ascension to the 30 Billion Gang.

Following the buzz and positive acceptance of "Melo," Liya retreated to the shadows to deal with the evolving landscape of her life and put together a debut project that would cement her position within Nigerian pop. In August, nine months after being signed, Liya returned with Alari, a six-track EP that was released without a lead single.

"Alari is basically saying I am different," the singer says during a chat one afternoon after the project's release. Songs like "Odua" and the project's titular track prove that the Liya is effectively operating on her own plain, where she weaves desire and equanimous gratitude into languid, fluid pop anthems guided by her sirenic voice and breathless cadences.

Below, we caught up with Liya to discuss working on Alari, getting signed to DMW, and the inner workings of her life.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 8 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month (August)

Featuring Tiwa Savage x Brandy, Mannywellz x Tems, Burna Boy x Don Jazzy, Liya, Ayra Starr, Joeboy and more.