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This 19-Year-Old Singer Has Your New R&B Meets Afrobeats Jam

Stream our premiere of Zion's debut single "No Wahala."

Zion is a young name in the R&B scene coming out of South London.

The 19-year-old British-Nigerian artist is now premiering his debut single, "No Wahala," an infectious R&B-meets-afrobeats excursion in which he samples Ivorian group Magic System's classic tune "1er Gaou."


Zion, who recently singed to Virgin EMI, is also sharing the new Sesan-directed music video for "No Wahala," which follows him, as a photographer, trying to find his leading lady.

"When I would go to African parties and weddings with my family and Premier Gaou by Magic System came on, I'd see everyone go crazy and move to the dance floor immediately including me," Zion tells OkayAfrica.

"Something about the drums and melodies used in that song was just magical to me, so I really wanted to incorporate it in what I was doing musically. I was scared when doing it because of how massive Premier Gaou is but after i had written and recorded it and started playing it to close friends and family everyone seemed to like it. I am very proud of my Nigerian heritage, so it is amazing that i got to put my spin on a record I've always loved."

Watch our premiere of the music video for Zion's "No Wahala" below. The track is available now.




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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