It's always a fun time catching up with Deena, so I called her up and asked if she would like to do a small interview (You can probably guess her response since you're reading this). She is a British born Afro-Soul singer, who draws inspiration from the common, and sometimes toxic love stories we go through.
Deena started showing interest in music quite early as she recalls listening to Heartbreaker by Mariah Carey at 6 years old, and even going as far as searching for record labels and producers in the yellow pages at 8.
"I realized I had a decent singing voice when I copied the songs I heard on the television, and I wanted to see where I could get with it. I eventually started performing around London for a Nelson Mandela focused charity club, (heavily influenced by my dad), and our goal was to perform in his presidential villa in South Africa."
Fast forward to her secondary school days in Ibadan, she would do choruses for the aspiring rappers in her class. But it wasn't until after secondary school before she decided she wanted to learn about the business of the music industry and make some important connections.
"Luckily for me I had befriended a prominent artist and I offered to help recover lost royalties." A learning experience that has now proved to be invaluable.
As a budding musician especially in Nigeria, I expected she had faced numerous difficulties. We had a laugh as she reminisced about rude and impatient producers and rats in the booth.
However, she noticed some opportunities - "The internet really helped with some of my problems - platforms like Apple Music and Spotify have allowed me to reach audiences which I would not have had access to."
Deena does not overcomplicate the messages in her music. "I want it to be relatable, so I make it as simple as an everyday conversation. I have the same episodes as everyone else (love, sex, drama, etc) and I want my listeners to connect on that level. Even if we don't have that much in common, we can relate on our experiences of love."
She focuses on producing music that is raw, authentic and brimming with passion and is able to achieve this because most of her songs are freestyles. They may take a few more recording sessions but they are worth the investment.
She is currently working on an album which is her favorite project so far. I expect it to be a compilation of expressive intimacy. Sarz tops the list of her collaborative wish-list, not only because of his prowess as a producer, but also because he always took time out to give her constructive criticism in her early days as an artist.
"Further on into my career, I would like to house and empower displaced women and promote younger African artists to help them chart on international billboards - that is how I want to give back". There is a huge market, which is now easily accessible after a few clicks.
Deena Ade is an advocate of speaking one's truth and fearlessly pursuing one's goals, regardless of how obstacles may manifest.
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