• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Justina Lee Brown: Nigeria’s singer makes waves in the European music scene

Justina Lee Brown: Nigeria’s singer makes waves in the European music scene

When Afrobeats’ first Golden era was around the corner in 2009, a young Justina Ogunlolu now known as Justina Lee Brown, broke out into the intrinsically male-dominated music scene with the Afrobeats single, ‘Omo 2 Sexy’.

Due to the nature of the industry with an apparent dearth of female talent and following the success of her hit single, Ogunlolu, then operating under the alias of her first name, ‘Justina’, had instantly stood out, gaining the attention of the who is who in the industry.

Now almost two decades and two studio albums later, Ogunlolu, now domiciled in Europe has morphed into an Afro Funky, Jazz, Blues and Soul singer, leaving the label of an emerging Afrobeats diva in the distant past.

According to Ogunlolu, now known as Justina Lee Brown– a name that has graced several auditoriums, amphitheatres and stages in Europe, this had been a long time coming as she’d always nurtured a deep love for the Blues and the aforementioned genres, even making songs in that line.

In 2005, during a visit to Switzerland, she met a Bass player named Dean Zukeru who helped her set up her first band named ‘The United Nations after singing live with them at a club. Back home in Nigeria, she however been advised to pay attention to the pulse of the market and had as a result put out singles like ‘Na Me And You’ among others before hitting it big with ‘Omo 2 Sexy’.

Born the first child to a single mother who struggled to make ends meet, Ogunlolu quickly became a sort of saviour in her immediate neighbourhood– which eventually cascaded into a bigger deal. Following the heights of her hit single, doors and windows of opportunities had opened up to her in the heavily male-dominated entertainment scene.

It also came with its challenges as her exposure opened her up to demand sexual favours in exchange for advancement in her musical career. Blessed with strong principles and a German friend who was able to provide an escape, Ogunlolu was able to change the trajectory of her career by migrating to Switzerland.

Marking the beginning of a new chapter, it wasn’t without its challenges ranging from running out of resources to running into the wrong hands, the journey to becoming Justina Lee Brown was not an easy one, but she saw the chance to fully rebrand as a performing singer and songwriter, ergo becoming the face of the Afro Funky, Blues and Soul genres she always loved.

“I was ready to pay that sacrifice for more than 15 years instead of being in Nigeria and playing the bad girl thing to get fame and every opportunity. My soul and heart were more important than money and fame,” Ogunlolu said while speaking on the strides she took.

Now fully established as Justina Lee Brown, with her live band and a long list of appearances where she left an indelible mark on the memories of countless music lovers in Western and Central Europe with her electrifying persona and stage presence, Ogunlola continues to punch upwards past any obstacles while uplifting others on the way.

This she achieved by establishing the JLB Care Foundation. What had started as her simply looking out for less privileged children around her in the community she grew up, soon became a full-blown non-profit organisation catering to the feeding, education and shelter of over 30 children and families.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, the singer had to learn the hard way to find the fine line between philanthropy and money management by seeking for external donations.

Now as an established brand, Ogunlolu not only enriches people far and wide with her music, sharing stories of the hardships faced by underprivileged children on songs like ‘Biliki’, but also grants aid to these children all thanks to her successful foundation.