Aṣa

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Aṣa
Asa by Nicolas Esposito.jpg
Background information
Birth name Bukola Elemide
Born (1982-09-17) September 17, 1982 (age 31)
Paris, France
Genres Pop, jazz, indie pop
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Trumpet
Labels Naive,BMG
Website www.asa-official.com

Aṣa (pronounced "Asha"; born 17 September 1982)[1] is a Nigerian French singer-songwriter, and recording artist. Her stage name "Aṣa" means "Hawk" in Yoruba.

Early life[edit]

Born Bukola Elemide, Aṣa was born in Paris, France to her Nigerian parents. Her family returned to live in Nigeria when she was two. Aṣa grew up in Alagbole, a border town in Ogun state near Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria.

She states that the city is "buzzing with energy but also home to a deep-rooted spirituality. Christianity thrives shoulder to shoulder with Islam in an atmosphere of tolerance, and the turbulent city moves endlessly in an infernal and yet harmonious ballet of love and hate, laughter and violence, poverty and wealth".[citation needed] Twenty years later, Aṣa returned to Paris where her life as an artist took off.

Whenever Asa came home from school in Nigeria, she discovered musical acts like Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Lauryn Hill, Femi Kuti and Angélique Kidjo. This was while she was in pursuit of educational excellence, and these musical acts are whose footprints she dreamed of following.

Background[edit]

Aṣa was the only girl in the family and had three brothers. At a tender age she began to look after the house during her parents' frequent absences. This is when Aṣa started to sing.

The desire to sing came to her and did not go away, carving out a permanent place in her soul. She preferred singing to talking, improvising endlessly until her mother made her stop. Over the years her father had built up a fine collection of records featuring soul classics and Nigerian music, including Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, King Sunny Adé, Ebenezer Obey and Lagbaja and Asa went on to draw inspiration from them. Aṣa said "I was a tomboy and when I was a teenager and I became very shy because people made fun of me ... in my own way, I was already attracting attention! I got in the habit of never doing anything like everyone else. People didn't understand my low-pitched deep voice, the choirs didn't want anything to do with me. I had to get to church first if I was to have any chance of getting near the mic".[citation needed]

In 2004 Aṣa met her manager and friend, Janet, who introduced her to Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, who in turn became her musical partner and producer. He enabled Aṣa, the free spirit, to find her bearings: songs in English and Yoruba, music falling somewhere between pop and soul, inspired by her musical heritage – with particular care paid to the melodies – and reflecting the feeling she puts into it. Her texts talk about her country and the things in her life, all delivered with feigned naïveté and real irony. She states "I like writing or thinking about my texts on the bus, or the molué, as we call it. 49 seats, 99 passengers standing up, as Fela described it. Everyone's squashed up together and mini-dramas break out all the time. And, at the end of the day, we still manage to laugh, that's where our strength lies...".[citation needed]

At this stage of her life, Aṣa finally returned to Paris. This was her chance to test out her talent on the French musical scene, playing with other artists. In the meantime, back in Nigeria, her first single, "Eyé Adaba," then "Jailer," were beginning to get airtime. Aṣa soon signed to Naïve Records. Partnered with Cobhams, and with the new involvement of Christophe Dupouy, she produced her first album, Aṣa. The release of the album saw Aṣa win the prestigious French Constantin Award in 2008, where she was voted best fresh talent of 10 singers or groups by a jury of 19 music-industry specialists in Paris.

Her second album, Beautiful Imperfection, was released on 25 October 2010. The lead single from Beautiful Imperfection is titled "Be My Man" and was released in late September. A video[2] for the song was released in mid-October. Speaking in January 2011 to noted UK soul writer Pete Lewis – Assistant Editor of Blues & Soul – about her second album, Asa stated: "'Beautiful Imperfection' basically represents the way I see life. The name actually came about from an interview I did about a year ago. I was asked to describe my life. And my reply was 'Well, its really beautiful- but at the same time it's IMPERFECT!... And what I realised from that is that I actually LIKE the imperfection! I like the little surprises that life gives you because I feel it HUMBLES you and makes you THINK!".[3]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Aṣa (2007) #15 FRA[4]
  • Beautiful Imperfection (2010) #3 World Music Chart Billboard USA

Track listing for Aṣa

  1. "Jailer"
  2. "360"
  3. "Bibanke"
  4. "Subway"
  5. "Fire on the Mountain"
  6. "Eye Adaba"
  7. "No One Knows"
  8. "Awe"
  9. "Peace"
  10. "So Beautiful"
  11. "Iba"

Track listing for Beautiful Imperfection

  1. "Why Can’t We"
  2. "Maybe"
  3. "Be My Man"
  4. "Preacher Man"
  5. "Bimpé"
  6. "The Way I Feel"
  7. "OK OK"
  8. "Dreamer Girl"
  9. "Oré"
  10. "Baby Gone"
  11. "Broda Olé"
  12. "Questions"
  13. "Bamidelé (Digital Bonus Track)"

Track listing for Beautiful Imperfection - US Edition (released SEPT 6, 2011)

  1. "Why Can’t We"
  2. "Maybe"
  3. "Be My Man"
  4. "Preacher Man"
  5. "Bimpé"
  6. "The Way I Feel"
  7. "OK OK"
  8. "Dreamer Girl"
  9. "Oré"
  10. "Baby Gone"
  11. "Broda Olé"
  12. "Questions"
  13. "Iba (Bonus Track)"
  14. "Bamidelé (Bonus Track)"

""Bed Of Stone ( August 25 2014)

  1. "Dead Again"

Awards[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • 2007 "Fire on the Mountain"
  • 2008 "Jailer"
  • 2008 "360 degrees"
  • 2010 "Be My Man"
  • 2011 "Why Can't We"
  • 2012 "The Way I Feel"
  • 2012 "Bamidelé"
  • 2014 "Dead Again"

Themes[edit]

Further reading[edit]

"MTV Iggy Presents Asa". United States: MTV Iggy. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Asa: Biographie". TV5Monde. Paris, France: TV5Monde. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Asa (Asha) – " Be My Man"". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2 May 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Asa interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' April 2011". Bluesandsoul.com. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Asa – Asha – Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 

External links[edit]