• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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From studio dreams to Nigerian Hearts: Singer debuts new single ‘I Like That’

From studio dreams to Nigerian Hearts: Singer debuts new single ‘I Like That’

Effia Afi Addo, professionally known as Effs, is a UK-based Ghanaian Afrofusion artist, recognised for her exceptional talent and captivating vocals. In an interview with some Nigerian press during a media tour to promote her debut single “I Like That” in Lagos, Effs talks about inspiration, connecting with her Nigerian fan base, struggles, collaborations and future projects. Excerpts

Could you tell us your mission in Nigeria?

We have been receiving so much welcome, praise and thought from the Nigerian fan base, just on the streaming of our song and that’s to them sending us DMs, making comments on our page etc. We’ve always had a close relationship with Nigerians because when I started writing music, it was with Nigerian friends in university that I started gathering my passion for Afro beats.

We have had such a warm reception from our Nigerian fan base. I mean, no one has to tell you 1 million streams for an unknown artist who is not been backed by a major record label that is magical for us and we are here because we want to get to know them. Who are these incredible people who have listened to us even though they don’t know us, who have been playing our music, even though they don’t know the name, even though the name is not Nigerian, even though they might not resonate with it, it’s not the typical local stuff that they’re used to find.

So I want my Nigerian fans to even tell me, input into what sort of stuff you want to hear? Who do you think I should collaborate with? what do you want me to sing about? What type of pain do you want me to express? What type of happiness? I want it to be a kind of mutual symbiotic relationship and that’s where we’re here. We want to know our fans better and we want to also allow them to know us.

Musically, can you highlight your journey so far? Especially focusing on your discography?

I’m a varied artist. My professional discography has not come from Afro-fusion. So I’ve written an album for an Oxfordshire musician, it was a Christian folk album that is available to stream as well and that was more based on the fact that as a musician, you advertise your songwriting talents and wherever you are hired, that’s where you go.

So discography-wise, this is my first official debut single. It is my first official release. We’ve had underground releases back in the day where you will do something like a mixtape, you record a song, so I had a song called No Wahala and again, that’s because I had such a strong Nigerian community influence growing up.

What inspired the music, the sound of the song?

I just felt super sexy. We were in the studio and the beat came on and we’re like, oh, like we were all just jamming. We started creating the beat from the basic R&B flow and when the beat started going, I said let me try something, went into the studio and I started this sort of yodelling. And I thought oh, scrap that let’s do something else. Then one of the supporting producers goes “Keep that, record it now, record it on your phone. Keep it keep it I love it.” And that became pretty much the foundation of the song.

Are we to expect a video for I Like That?

We certainly are. And most people would wonder you’re starting artists and emerging artists, why so much money spent on a video? There are some songs that I feel like they deserve a video. I think I just sang a few of the lyrics for you, but you need to hear the song itself with the right sort of recording equipment.

The song is blown away. The production is immense, it’s hard. As they would say, “This beat is hard.” I think the R&B vocals are unique. It’s such a purely sexy song. I just needed a video for it.

I also feel like we are in the era of visuals. That’s the truth. People want to see who is the voice and I’m not going to lie if you’re a bit of a pretty face, it does help to sell your music. So that was also considered.

I’m so grateful we got the opportunity to do a video that allows me to express to my audience, my fans, Nigeria, and Ghana, the level of African excellence we have in Africa. The video will be out in February and we’ll be back in February during Valentine’s week to promote it to you on MTV base, Trace TV and Sound City TV. I think you guys are gonna be blown away.

For the majority of your listeners to be from Nigeria, that means you’re doing something Nigerians want. What do you think you’re doing that wants them to hop on your music?

I think the song is unique. I Like That is not your typical Afrobeat song, that’s why I’m calling it Afro fusion. But it has a very definitive Afro sound from the Amapiano drums. It was developed by Richie Mensah who is famous in Ghana and all around the world for producing some of the biggest hits. So it’s got a heavily influenced Afro-drum sound. So you can’t call it anything else. Even if you wanted to call it pop. You couldn’t just ignore that African drum in it. But I think what is different is probably the Nigerian diaspora base and the fact that Nigerians today are connected to the global world.

What are you doing to build on this momentum? In terms of collaborating with Nigerian artists?

I’m a starting artist, not professionally, but in this arena and environment, I’m an emerging artist. Let’s consider me like a startup in this environment currently, but for those who know me, I’ve worked with Nigerian beat producers and I’m very much into artistic expression, blending my thoughts and mixing my thoughts and experiencing and letting my art itself be able to be expressed and that’s through collaboration.

So even on the underground, I’ve got a catalogue of songs that if you look at it, it’s not mainly Ghana producers. I’ve worked with even producers from Colombia and Germany, but I’ve worked also with a lot of underground Nigerian producers who are not big names, but I want to support them to get their music out there because there’s some serious talent in this country.

Concerning leveraging on the momentum, my favourite Nigerian artist is Davido. I’d like to work with him and Adekunle Gold. These are people that I’ve listened to without having somebody tell me or being advertised to me. There’s also Chike, who to me is an incredible songwriter, I mean, the opportunity to work with someone like him. I’ve got a YouTube video where I’ve done an acoustic version of some Chike songs.

As a country of art, there are so many people I would love to collaborate with but we’re talking favourites, I think Davido, Adekunle Gold, Chike and also Don Jazzy.

So yeah, these are the sorts of people I would love the opportunity to collaborate with. But again, there’s so much business and musical politics that is involved when you’re talking to heavy money and heavy labels, that it doesn’t always go that way.