History was made on Saturday, October 12, 2013, when international music icons and Grammy Award-winning singers, Chaka Khan and Angelique Kidjo stormed Lagos, for the 2013 edition of Luxury Concert packaged by Smooth FM 98.1 and GTBank.
The venue, Expo Centre of the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, was filled to capacity with fans of the American artiste and her Beninoise counterpart.
The well-packaged event, which started an hour late, saw the duo showcasing their powerful voices and show-stopping stagecraft. For over three hours, guests were kept on their feet as they sang and danced to their repertoire.
Fast-rising Nigerian soul singer, Kaline opened the stage with an amazing performance. The graduate of Berklee College of Music didn’t only prove she fuses jazz, funk and afrobeat to create an authentic soulful sound, she thrilled within the shortest time.
With the record set by Kaline, it was easy for Angelique, who was officially performing on a big stage in Nigeria, to win the heart of her large fans.
Creatively talented Angelique delivered, from jazz to rock in different languages. She engaged the already excited audience for more than an hour. The love for her energetic performance made guests ask for more.
She later returned for another round.
One of the highpoints of her historic show was when she sang Malaika and Agolo, 1991 hit single that facilitated her first Grammy nomination. Our own Asa joined her on stage in an ecstatic way as they engaged the crowd that thronged the venue of the anticipated show.
Although, it took Chaka Khan more than 35 minutes to begin her performance after Angelique Kidjo, the 10 time Grammy Award winner made the night for her fans, as she dazzled and controlled the crowd while her show lasted. This year’s edition of Luxury Concert, the love of music, was indeed a great success.
How prepared are you? Did you think about studying the Nigerian audience before you perform?
I didn’t think about it but I know that my repertoire is big. So, the change is, which song to choose, which not to choose, because the show is 90 minutes. When you have 10 albums, how do you choose from those great songs and perform within 90 minutes is the problem.
However, I have great musicians I work with, and we can choose together the best songs for Nigerian audience. Besides, my husband is always with me, and we choose together. In fact, you always see him with me. So, we’re prepared and ready for Nigeria.
How was the feeling when you were told about your show in Nigeria?
I was excited, because I haven’t been back here since I was 13. I have a family here, the family of my grandfather (mom’s father) are from Iseyin. I used to spend my holiday here as a child, or Ibadan with my cousins.
Also, I had great memory of Lagos during my early age. So, for me, Nigeria is really a memory of my childhood, running around the compound bare-footed and my mom didn’t succeed to put shoes on my feet for more than five minutes (smiles), because I didn’t like shoes. When you grow with seven brothers, you only play with boys, you see yourself as a boy. I saw myself as a tomboy while growing up. That’s my memory of Nigeria, and I am happy to be here.
What’s your impression about Nigerian music, do you have favourite artistes from Nigeria?
Nigerian music has really moved forward, so much and I am ‘wowed’. We hear new artistes coming out from Nigeria every day. This is good, which shows that we, Africans, have great impact in the world music. For me, we have to be proud of whom we are, and what we do.
As for my favourite artistes, I will say, all of them. I met 2Face and we played one of my songs together. He’s a talented singer, but we have some people who pretend to be singers, but they are not. It’s shameful to see them performing on stage when you give them microphone.
Apart from 2Face, Asa is another great singer from Nigeria. I met her for the first time in Malawi and I discovered that she’s a great singer. After that day, I have met her at different shows, and we also spent some good time together when I was in New York.
Dbanj is also good, especially when you talk about hip hop in Africa. He’s on top of it, not only that he raps (sings) in English, he also raps (sings) in Yoruba, and he brings the culture of Africa in it.
You are as old as Nigeria, you’re still energetic to do music. What do you do to sustain yourself?
Work, work and work. I am a perfectionist and I married a perfectionist. Something it’s hard because you put so much pressure on yourself, you got to be ready to put yourself in doubt, that’s one thing that my father taught me when I was growing in Benin.
He said, ‘Don’t seat comfortably thinking you’ve seen it all, done it all”. You’ve got to follow yourself, because that inspiration is something that’s capital and very important to cherish.
Also, if you’re a singer, don’t party too much because partying, alcohol and smoking kill the voice. Try to sleep as long as you can and walk out, that’s the key to it, because when I was growing in Benin, I was born with asthma and it crippled me because I couldn’t breath. My mom and dad told me to start walking out. So, I started running 10 metres daily, including swimming which is my passion.
At the beginning, it was painful, but I continued walking out. I was able to sustain myself till today.
Which of your songs put you on the international scene?
I don’t know which song put me on top because I don’t like to think about it like that. When you have a big hit at the beginning of your career, it’s very difficult to lay back to it, because that will become a liability. Everybody will be expecting you to do it again, again and again.
So, every album, from the first to the last, I love all of them. All the songs in the album are part of me. Besides, , you don’t know the song that might be a hit. The one you have in mind might not be. People might not like it. So, I don’t bother myself about hit songs. I just write my songs.
– RASHEED ABUBAKAR
pix – GODWIN ONYEMAECHI