US-based Nigerian singer/songwriter, Jamila brings a refreshing international perspective to her unique blend of Afrosoul and R&B.
Having launched her music career after completing her Master’s degree in International Business, Jamila confidently addresses the human experience in her sound, from romance to personal identity.
Inspired by the music of Sade, Miriam Makeba, and Mary J. Blige, as well as her nomadic upbringing, Jamila began fusing African and American music styles and writing her own songs, leading to the release of her debut single, ‘Kai Ne Nawa’ in 2018.
After years of refining her craft, Jamila, who is blessed with a soothing, evocative voice, is now ready to introduce herself to a global audience with her latest single, ‘Black and Blue’.
In this interview, she opens up on her musical odyssey.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
My name is Jamila. My stage name is also Jamila. I am a young talented singer, songwriter and performing artiste. I began my music career at the age of 17 in Abuja, working with producers like Sunky on a few songs.
How did you come into music?
Growing up, I always listened to great music, thanks to my parents. One day, I discovered one of my parents’ Lauryn Hill and Whitney Houston’s CD collections. After I listened to those albums, I knew I wanted to be a musician. So, I started writing songs at a very early age, and that developed my passion for music.
What’s the title of your new song and what inspired it?
The title of my new song is ‘Black and Blue’. It’s a song I wrote about a failing relationship. I have been in a few (relationships) and I know someone really close to me that is going through something similar. I decided to write the song to talk about it (failed relationship) from both our perspectives.
Who produced the song and on which label is it dropping?
I am releasing ‘Black and Blue’ on Makeda Music label in collaboration with Black Wall Street. Rob Wright, a San Francisco-based producer, produced the song. Rob is experienced. He has worked with major artistes like Roots and Eryka Badu, among others.
Do you write your songs or someone writes for you?
I write all my songs.
How does music come to you?
I usually think of a topic that I feel strongly about, like empowerment, love, hurt etc. And I try to channel what I am feeling into words. It’s usually a very cathartic process for me, but I usually write about things that those close to me or even me have been through. I also listen to an eclectic array of music, anything from Sade to Burna Boy, to get inspiration and learn from their sounds.
What challenges do you face as an artiste?
As a new artiste, I face a lot of challenges. The music business is really a hard cookie to crack, and you need a great team to succeed. For now, my main challenge is finding a great team to help me manage the business side of music.
Do you have any plan of collaborating with any of the big artistes?
I would love to collaborate with lots of artistes I admire and respect in the industry, like Asa, Simi, and Tems to mention a few. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to collaborate with them in the near future.
When are we expecting the video of your new song?
I will be releasing the video at the end of May.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I am planning to release my next single in August.