After a long 3-year wait, Simi finally releases her fourth studio album. Here, She tells Music Amplify Africa’s Oladele Owodina why this is the most defining project of her career so far …”
It’s a Tuesday evening in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria. The time is past 4 pm, and I am sitting in a white-painted office room in Ikeja, getting ready to interview Africa’s superstar singer, Simi.
In some minutes, she makes her entry into the scheduled Google Meet with a warm ‘hello’. We exchange pleasantries and got into a brief pre-interview chat to break the ice.
“How has your day been, Simi?” I quiz in excitement.
‘I have had a long day,” she replies. “I haven’t eaten today, and I am tired.”
“Does this happen regularly, or is it an album thing? ” I ask with alarming curiosity.
“No. It happens a lot like this. I don’t get to eat early because when I wake up, there are always things to do”.
Our brief exchange gave a peek into Simi’s work ethic. It shows why she has remained a household name across Africa, and the processes behind her decade-long successes – 3 albums, over 500 million plays online, top 5 records on the Billboard world album chart, and an MTV Africa Music Award nomination.
Yet, Simi is not riding on past wins.
In this new album – To Be Honest – she outdid herself and produced what she describes as the best album of her career.
The 11-track album comes after a three-year-long project break, and Simi unlocks a new era of creative expression. She takes listeners on an enchanting musical journey throughout the album, exploring themes of love and life in her most open and honest way yet.
We spoke about her new album for 30 minutes and here are 5 talking points from our conversation.
This is her best album yet
Her past three albums, Oga ju, Simisola and Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1 all recorded successes to varying degrees, yet Simi believes this is the best project she has ever worked on.
This, she says, is because she tells her original life story in ways she had never done before.
“It’s called ‘To Be Honest’. It’s a peek into certain corners of my life. It’s candid and tells about some of the things I’ve experienced as a person and as an artist. I’m also sharing lessons and vibes. There’s something there for everybody.”
Naked Wire is the lead track
On May 20, Simi released ‘Naked Wire’, the lead single of To be Honest. The song showcases Simi’s new willingness to tease physical intimacy in her songs.
She says, “It’s a song for love, lovers and loving. It’s sensual, albeit subtle”.
She however warns that you shouldn’t expect more bedmatics songs because the album is for everyone.
This is the debut album from her record label Studio Brat
In June 2019, Simi announced the launch of her record label, Studio Brat. The record label came after the expiration of her contract with her former record label, X3M Music.
Since her exit from X3M, she has released a couple of tracks and an EP. But this is the first time she would release a long-form project. I asked if she was anxious and here’s her response, “I am not anxious that this is the first album under my record label. I have been in the industry for a while and I have a fantastic team working to make everything smooth.”
“Proud of myself. Grateful to God. Also thankful to my fans and friends. It’s been quite a journey and this point I’m at right now is a sweet spot.”
There are two features and one is surprising
The 11-track album features appearances from two artists, Adekunle Gold and Fave.
The ‘Loyal’ track with Fave talks about the complexities of friendship. While she explored the infectious Afrobeats wave with her husband, Adekunle Gold in Balance.
She is proud to be a judge on the Nigerian Idol television show
Simi was alongside D’banj and Obi Asika, a judge at the recently concluded season 7 of the Nigerian idol Tv show.
She believes it was a refreshing experience that she would love to do again.
“It was a fresh experience, but I had the time of my life. I made amazing friends and I’m grateful to have been a part of their journeys in some way. Special.”