Some may know her name, others may not. But ASA is a name that resonates depth, meaning and gives profound meaning to Africa’s music and culture. Asa is a Nigerian-French recording artist (pronounced Asha). She is also a singer-songwriter. Asa means “hawk” in Yoruba.
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 a small town near Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria. 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.
Aṣa was the only female child in the family and had three brothers. At a young age she began to look after the house during her parents’ frequent absences. This is when Aṣa started to sing. Over the years her father had built up a 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.
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.
At this stage of her life, Aṣa returned to Paris. 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 for the song was released in mid-October. She also performed with Féfé at the Sydney Festival in 2011.
Asa’s music is one that speaks life itself, one that articulates clearly what is on a woman’s mind. She touches many important topics in the African society, and for that she has to be celebrated.
Below is one of her most famous songs, titled Jailer:
Sourced from Wikipedia