Yemi Alade is trending and currently under fire on Twitter NG and one can’t wonder what her offence is again. Africa’s pop diva is currently facing severe backlash for a controversial interview she granted with Hot FM radio hosted by OAPs Misi and Sensei. Yemi Alade opines that she sells out and shut down shows in Africa like Wizkid & Davido and there’s currently no number one artiste in Nigeria.
In all honestly, Yemi may be right. I mean a lot of Nigerians may not dig her music but fact is she’s doing well as an artiste, may be the Nigerian audience may not notice as they’re always going at her for being shallow lyrically but her numbers are actually awesome for an artiste who constantly comes under heavy backlash. Now you’d wonder who listens to her music.
Let me take you through a trip down memory lane on Yemi’ s rise to fame.
Ms Alade rose to prominence after releasing the smash hit, Johnny and she’s been all the way up since then. Taiye Aliyu, her manager and team are the unsung heroes because Johnny solely did for Yemi what a couple of releases will do normally for an artiste.
Johnny became an instant hit and her team relentlessly did the most to leverage on the moment, they didn’t take risk letting the attention on Johnny dwindle. They fired on with more releases like Tangerine and Kissing respectively.
Without sparing a second even, they dropped the debut album, King Of Queens and toured thereafter. Not minding the size of the venues or whatever inconvenience, they toured even in bars at the time just so their presence is marked at least and also made sure to make media appearances in every city they visit. Yemi on her part smartly adopted a style of portraying thorough Africanness via her daring hairstyles and fashion.
At a time where Tiwa Savage just got married and left the music scene to have her baby, Seyi Shay was probably doing I don’t know what, Chidinma, Waje and Omawumi seemed disinterested in commercialization, Yemi Alade seized the moment, salvaged the female space in the music industry and came through for the females having hundreds of gigs in Nigeria and across Africa. In just a year, Yemi had sealed her status as royalty in the Nigerian/African music space especially by the rendition of her songs in French and Swahili to cater for the Francophone and East African audience. Johnny, Kissing, Na Gode all had French/Swahili renditions respectively. She owned every award that had the Best Female Act title in Nigeria and Africa notably MTV’s MAMA, AFRIMA, AFRIMMA, KUNDE Award in Burkina Faso.
The release of Yemi’s second album in 2016 was a smash as it charted at #1 on iTunes Nigeria and iTunes African World Albums Chart, #13 iTunes France Albums Chart, #22 on iTunes Germany Albums Chart and #4 on iTunes World Albums Chart. Then, it was safe to say Yemi is here to stay and her struck real gold within a short time in an industry that’s hard on females.
Yemi also toured Europe and other continents for her second album. She sold out the iconic 1091 capacity Le Trianon Theatre and a host of venues across Europe while shutting down gigs in other parts of Africa. Really, Yemi was blazing!!
It’s funny when people who don’t like her call her “washed up or faded” because that’s sadly not true yet. Nigerians got riled most recently because she said she could shut down the same venue like Wizkid and Davido are in Africa.
Alright, We’ve seen her get gigs in Kenya (she often calls that her second home) and some other parts of Africa especially the East and Francophone part. I can’t say for sure if she would shut down same venue like Davido and Wizkid but the point is, there’ll be a shut down somehow.
Some people have an issue where she claims to “sell out” for gigs she and some artiste get booked for. An example could be this year’s Koronga Festival in Kenya where she claimed to “sell out” whereas there were other Kenyan acts billed to perform at the show and Koronga Festival is an annual festival in Kenya so virtually any established act would sell out.
Yemi is so much of a touring act and she knows how to spread her gospel well enough. She’s undoubtedly one of Africa’s biggest acts regardless and can pack a venue. My point is – this isn’t a gender thing, Yemi Alade would sell out venues but not to the level of Wizkid and Davido, these guys are untouchable in Africa right now.
By the venue capacity of her tours, about 1500 capacity is the biggest she’s used for her solo concerts, that’s her own “selling out” and it’s a big deal. There’s no general determinant for what a successful or sold out show should be. Selling out/success is relative and we let people define success in their own terms and degree. Like I’d tell people, success for me starts the minute I’m financially independent and can afford feeding myself but doesn’t pretty much mean same to others.
Davido and Wizkid may be selling out venues in tens of thousands, capacity-wise but please, y’all let Yemi Alade bask in her own achievement because it takes so much to embark on tours and achieving these amidst these aspersions is a reason to celebrate her.