Women Musicians Transforming The Conservative Culture In Nigeria

Tems, Lady Donli, Wavy The Creator, and Amaarae describe how Nigeria’s alté scene represents a cultural renaissance. Beneath the harmattan skies of Lagos floats a bold new sound. Is it Afropop? Is it Amapiano? No, it’s alté, Nigeria’s pioneering alternative music scene, one of its latest and greatest cultural exports. What started off as a non-conformist subculture, a rebellion in a conservative country, has become a fully-fledged iconoclastic movement capturing the sounds and styles of a young generation – one that not only thinks outside of the box, but seeks to get rid of parameters altogether.

In a male-dominated landscape, four women are flying in the face of industry norms, societal expectations, and Western preconceptions to expand the ever-changing landscape of contemporary African music. Cementing their positions in a suite of trailblazers, visionaries and innovators, Tems, Lady Donli, Wavy The Creator and Amaarae are at the forefront of a movement that’s breaking the mould. British Vogue meets them below.

Tems – How would you describe your sound and style in four words?

Powerful. Deep. Heartfelt. Sweet. A scene.

A lifestyle. A movement. Can alté ever truly be defined?

It’s a small but strong force of bold, strong and courageous people thinking outside of the norm in the Nigerian space. They’re original, they’re being themselves and nobody can give them their approval. Nobody can give you that apart from God. There will always be wolves where there are sheep, there will always be ants where there is sugar. But our own sugar is different.

Where does your music sit within Nigeria’s current landscape?

Something that has always been untouched in terms of its purity in Nigeria is art. That’s the hope, that’s the light, that’s the saving grace that we have. Artists have become the saviours in all the corruption and wickedness. Nigeria is a country of people that have been forced together, so there’s always been a conflict. There will always be. But you see with artists, we heal. The conflict is the wound and artists are your white blood cells that fight that. And we’re almost taking over. We’re not doing it intentionally, but the art is creating a sense of hope again in Nigeria. My music is here to serve as part of the healing force. To calm the noise made by all these external forces nagging at everyone – the frustration, the hardship, the mental issues. Trust me, the suffering is much. I think that’s where my music, along with everybody else that does music in Nigeria, comes in. To heal, to soothe. It’s like aloe vera (laughs).

Read more here – Source: https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle

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