German Nigerian soul singer Nneka is back with a new album titled ‘My Fairy Tales’. Nneka is known for her deeply soulful and sometimes thought-provoking lyrics. Despite launching her career in Germany and touring with the likes of Nas and Damian Marley, her lyrics resonate with the realities and challenges of living in Nigeria, where she is now based.
Nneka was recently in London to promote the new album with a series of press appearances, one of which was a private listening party at Century Soho, where she performed tracks from the new album.
The 34-year-old Warri born singer got into hot water last week over comments she made during an interview with CNN’s African Voices, where she was perceived to have criticised President Goodluck Jonathan. Nneka took to Facebook to defend her comments and accuse the Nigerian press of deliberately spreading misleading headlines.
In the interview, Nneka shared her views on the postponement of the Presidential elections in Nigeria scheduled to hold in February.
“He [Goodluck Jonathan] says he wants to tackle Boko Haram, ” she said.
“Obviously, every Nigerian is asking why now? He could have done it a long time ago…but I’m not good at the whole blaming game, I don’t want to blame anybody but I pray that he comes up with a good idea for us if he is an honest and genuine guy. But I know that Fela [Kuti] would definitely not be cool with him, Seun [Kuti] is not cool with him, and many other musicians who are very outspoken are not cool with him.”
On the current security situation on the country, Nneka adds, “Boko Haram has always been an issue obviously for the past five, six years — funny wise, there’s a track in the album called “Pray For You” which I recorded when not too many people knew what was going with Boko Haram in the West.”
“I’m talking about the problems and possible solutions, and what are the reasons for the problems that we have. We as Nigerians, we’re not united, that has always been the issue… that’s our problem, tribalism, and what belongs to whom.”
Born to a Nigerian father and a German mother, Nneka shed a bit more light on what it was like growing up in Warri before she moved to Hamburg to study at the age of 19.
“Bringing children into this world… Everyone’s living in a cage and then you bring your child into that kind of society, where your child is forced to live in fear.”
“People are afraid to express themselves politically, and even in their home — I remember the way we grew up, I didn’t look my father in the eye until I was 22; you call your father “Sir, Sir, Sir” — apparently it’s a form of respect, OK, but respect should not be mistaken with fear. I was afraid and that’s the thing, that’s the colonial mentality: we mistake fear for respect.”
Nneka’s album ‘My Fairy Tales’ is out now.