Audio

Somi 'When Rivers Cry ft. Common'

Stream Somi's "When Rivers Cry," a tribute to Wangari Maathai featuring a verse from Common.


NY-based Ugandan/Rwandan songstress Somi is readying the release of her major label debut The Lagos Music Salon for Sony Music’s OKeh Records. "When Rivers Cry," the second single off that upcoming album, was written on the day Kenyan Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai — a champion of environmental protection, women’s rights, and political activism — died. Somi explained to The Wall Street Journal,

“I was in Lagos on that day and couldn’t help but reflect on the pollution that plagues most major African cities... ‘When Rivers Cry’ is meant to be a rumination on Africa’s environmental past, present and future. Obviously, these issues are a part of a global conversation—that’s why I decided to invite Common to collaborate on the song. His verse reminds us of the responsibility and thoughtfulness we all owe to this earth—no matter where we are from.”

The single kicks off with an intricately-arranged orchestral intro that flows into Somi's somber and piano-backed refrains about environmental issues across Africa, with Common joining in for his verse around the 3-minute mark. Stream "When Rivers Cry" in its entirety below. Somi's The Lagos Music Salon, due August 5, is available for pre-order now. For more, watch Somi's video for "Last Song" and check out Okayafrica TV's episode with Common & Femi Kuti at Central Park.

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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