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Niniola, an artiste to watch in 2021

Despite the challenges of 2020 that held back many music artistes from meeting their album release, live performance targets, and contractual agreements, some artistes are set to take the bull by the horns this year.

One of them is Niniola Apata. The fast-rising female music act, who stages as Niniola, is worth following this year because of her creative ingenuity and stage craft that have won her many fans. If you have been following the self-styled Afro house queen and her craft over the years, you will be impressed with her rise to fame.

Since 2013 when she finished as third runner-up on the sixth season of MTN Project Fame West Africa, she has been on the rise. The biology graduate who hails from Ekiti State is looking forward to becoming the biggest female artiste in Nigeria with her unique delivery and style that are away from ‘the regular’.

The singer and songwriter with a vocal range that can break glass, has created a music genre for herself called Afrohouse, which is a blend of Afro beat and house music.

Nowadays, where lots of young female artistes are reluctant to release albums for the fear of negative reviews, Niniola has gone beyond releasing her debut album to more releases because of her belief that reviews and criticism are necessary for self development and honing one’s skills.

When she released “Maradonna” and “Sicker”, her two-track album, it ruled the Nigerian airwaves and even beyond the shores of the country to excite fans in East Africa, Southern Africa, Europe and North America.

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Not too long after the release of her two-track album, Niniola showed she knew her mettle with the release of a 13-track album titled ‘This is me’.

The album, which was released in November 2017 to critical acclaim and fan praises, opened with a melodic track, ’Moyo’ which means ‘rejoice or praise God’ in Yoruba and ends with a banging dancehall tune ‘ Hold Me’ featuring the dancehall reggae king , Patoranking. It also featured songs such as Saro, Magun among others.

Speaking on the title of her album, Niniola said, “‘This is me’ is as honest as it can be vocally. I do not just have my genre afro-house but I also have Rhythm and Blues and other genres. This is me telling you that I can jump on any beat as long as I feel good about the beat. So, this is just Niniola who loves to sing and dance.”

It was no surprise when Niniola made history in August 2018 with over 1million listeners on Spotify, making her the first female Nigerian artiste ever to cross the 1million mark.

To earn the accolade, Niniola’s ‘This is me’ recorded over 1.7 million streams on Spotify, the music streaming platform, which measures artiste popularity with listenership. That singular feat has solidified Niniola’s music as a staple among music lovers, crowning her with the coveted title of the most popular Nigerian female artiste.

In 2019, Niniola was credited as one of the songwriters and composers of Beyoncé’s soundtrack album, The Lion King: The Gift.

In April 2020, she received her Grammy nomination certificate for her work as a composer on The Lion King: The Gift.

The certificate reads, “The recording academy presents this certificate to Niniola Apata in recognition of your participation as a composer on the Grammy award-nominated recording, “The Lion King: The Gift (Beyonce). Best Pop Vocal Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards 2019.”

In her post, and in appreciation of the Grammy Nomination certificate feat, she thanked God and everyone who has shown her support.

“And The GRAMMY Certificate @recordingacademy just came in the mail today… Thank You God and Thank you to everyone that has been supporting. Love U All”, the 34 year-old singer, wrote in her post.

As well, her efforts so far have been rewarded with some awards; from BET Awards, AFRIMA winner, South Africa Music Awards Nominee among others.

Of course, going down the memory lane, those who remembered her as the shy contestant who was always in glasses on the MTN Project Fame season 6 in 2013 are amazed at her transformation and proud of the huge milestone today.

But she is not moved by all these. She is focused on becoming the biggest female artistes in Nigeria, West Africa and even Africa.

She is also working hard to achieve her towering ambitions with the knowledge that there is no easy way to stardom, especially now that the music scene is more competitive than ever.

In recognition of that, Niniola has been innovative with her style and appeal to fans. In 2018, the queen of Afro House thrilled fans with her headline concert tagged ‘The Human Radio Concert’.

The concert, a first of its kind, which held at the Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, witnessed the best of Niniola on stage with enthralling performances that featured other artistes such as; Reminisce, Aramide, Mayorkun, Mr. Real, Terry

Apala, Slimcase, Immaculate, Johnny Drille,teni, Oladips, Godwin Strings, Tyson Noir, and Soti.

As expected, the concert was like none before it, showcasing a powerful blend of music and stagecraft through a unique theme and special features inspired by the persona, charisma, and soul of Niniola, who is unarguably, one of Nigeria’s finest singersongwriters and performers.

But the Afro house artiste was handy to explain the concept of The Human Radio.

“I was nicknamed “The Human Radio” while in secondary school. Then I had my own singing request show where I sang songs from various musicians as requested by my friends and classmates at the time to the amazement and cheering of listeners”, she explained.

In appreciation of her fans’ support, she assured them that more offerings are in the pipeline.

It is obvious she has just started, but she has through her fast-rising musical career, reinstated her ability, passion, and love for creating vocal art that is beyond both lingual and territorial differences, and yet embraces the one true global culture that music is.

Obviously, Niniola has established herself as a music force in the Nigerian music industry and has also amassed enough hit songs and followership to earn herself a seat at the table.

However, she is up to something very exciting in 2021, so follow her to enjoy unique lyrics, best of dance, stage craft and enthralling performances this year.

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