Soraia Ramos Wants to Take Cape Verde to the World

The rising star brings tells us about her fusion of R&B and kizomba ahead of her first album, and her desire to continue on what Cesária Évora built.

The morning Soraia Ramos woke up to the news brought by her manager, she thought it was an April Fools joke. "I saw the photo she sent me on WhatsApp and, at first, I said it was a fake, but then I realized it was true and cried for hours. It's amazing to see the effort I put on my work being rewarded," she says over a Zoom call. Indeed, to star one of Spotify's humongous billboards in New York City's Times Square was nothing but incredible for the Portuguese-Cape Verdean singer, whose explorations in music started back in 2010 when she began posting self-made videos on YouTube.

Today, Soraia has a place at the top-charts of the disputed Africa's Luso-pop landscape. Her soulful vocals fit in a blend of kizomba flavors and R&B-esque melodies as in "O Nosso Amor," a single with 24 million views on YouTube — an impressive achievement for an artist that hasn't even released her first album. From her beginnings in Lisbon to the day she went global through New York, the path to becoming a rising star was also a comeback home journey to Soraia.

"I've met Cape Verde through music," she says. "The first time I went there, in 2010, it was to play in a show. I got in touch with my roots through music." Born in Portugal, and having lived a couple of years in France and Switzerland, Soraia kept coming and going to her family's home country in the following years. In 2019, she recorded her first hit singing in criolo, the love song "Bai", with a music video recorded in the streets of Praia.

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