The music industry is ever-changing, as are the genres. And while Hip-Hop has been the main topic of conversation this year, celebrating 50 years since its inception, we also want to pay homage to Afrobeats and the movement that’s come with it.

Insert Naomi Achu, who’s here to bless audiences all around the world with her undeniable talents. The singer, songwriter, and rapper is best known for her song “Alhadji,” which took on a life of its own after being played on Season 8 of Big Brother Africa. Originally from Cameroon, Naomi has been credited as one of the forerunners of pop music there, even being deemed the Queen of Bamenda.

Naomi Achu states, “A lot of people ask ‘where is Cameroon?’ Sometimes, they confuse it with Cambodia. Cameroon is right beside Nigeria, we’re sister countries. I do Afrobeat. I do Afro fusion. I write most of my songs, almost all because I enjoy writing. It’s a way of self-expression.”

Most recently, Naomi Achu unveiled her new single and visual for “Waiting All My Life.” She also recently spent some time in Miami, hanging out with DJ Khaled and a slew of other artists. 

The Source caught up with Naomi Achu virtually, who was posted in Washington D.C. after a trip to Miami. Read below as we discuss her love for music, the new release, performing on DJ Khaled’s cruise, goals, and more!

When did you fall in love with music? 

When I was about six, seven. When I watched “Greatest Love Of All” by Whitney Houston, then of course Michael Jackson. Everybody loves Michael, so I’m one of those Michael freaks. I’m a Michael fan, and Whitney Houston. Those were my two loves, but I do have some African favorites as well. I love Angelique Kidjo. I’ve been loving her music all my life, she’s amazing. A couple of other African artists: Manu Dibango and have a friend Richard Bona who he’s more recent.

Did you always want to be this big Afrobeat star or big musician?

I knew that I wanted to sing. That’s all I knew. I knew I wanted to sing, I knew I wanted to express myself. At that time, there wasn’t that much Afrobeats. It’s only been heavy for maybe 10 years, because music evolves. The pop of this decade is not the pop of 10 decades ago, and it probably would have had a different name. We have techno, we have electro. I just knew that I wanted to sing. I didn’t give it a genre. I just knew hey, I wanted to express myself by making music.

Was there a certain someone that inspired “Waiting All My Life”?

I would say that, but it’s more a high school sweetheart. Because if you think about it, you have this person that you knew when you were 14. You had to go separate ways because you had to go to a different high school or a different university, or you had to leave the country. So you’re separated by somebody that you care for. You’re like, how would life be like if I was to reconnect with this high school sweetheart.

Where do you see Afrobeats in this day and age? Now more than ever, it’s getting more shine.

Oh no, definitely taking over. I have no doubts about it. What is helping Afrobeats is the social media platforms. Because before the pandemic, a lot more people were listening to the radio. But because the pandemic kept us in our home, we started going into Spotify and TikTok, and started expressing ourselves. The pandemic really helped Afrobeats be heard. Now that people hear it, they’re like “this is some good music.”

I love that every time Afrobeat comes on, people start dancing. 

Yes! I’m happy that we’re able to express ourselves in our own language. For that to be received and for people to get so interested that they want to learn the lingo, it’s awesome.

Talk about that whole experience with DJ Khaled, I saw you met Jeezy and Fat Joe.

I met Jeezy and Fat Joe on the Days of Summer cruise in the beginning of July, but that’s also a DJ Khaled thing. That’s technically his crew. That’s his team who puts together the Days of the Summer cruise. I met Jeezy, Fat Joe. Amazing performers, amazing artists. They looked amazing, they sounded amazing. They rocked the crowd, everybody was happy to see them. 

A couple of weeks later, DJ Khaled announced his collaboration with SNIPES. Of course I had other things going this past weekend, but let me go ahead and show support. So I went there with my team. We checked out some of the sneakers, really good stuff. A great turnout. Massive. I know he was happy, everybody who was there was happy because it’s a great vibe. 

The most important one for me actually was the foundation. He had an event for his foundation on Sunday, where he collaborated with the Circle of Brotherhood. They gave back to the community. There was a basketball court with We The Best foundation on it. To my understanding, the We The best foundation was to keep teenagers and kids busy. To keep them busy and to keep them doing something that’s healthy. Putting them in healthy competition. Putting this team against that team, shooting hoops. It was a way to keep them busy and not get in trouble. That was the event that I really appreciated.

What’s your relationship with DJ Khaled?

My relationship with DJ Khaled, I performed on his cruise. The Days of theSummer cruise where I met Fat Joe and Jeezy is a DJ Khaled event. It’s his team. Sometimes he’s there, sometimes he’s not. I’m one of the performers in his circle, I’m just an entertainer like he is.

Best memory from that cruise?

Honestly, when I performed. It was great. I enjoyed performing, I performed right before Lil Baby too. Lil Baby came on an hour after, and just seeing the crowd vibe to Afrobeats. I performed my song “Pepper Them,” they really enjoyed it. Being an Afrobeat artist performing in a heavily Hip-Hop crowd was a little bit different, because usually my audiences are heavily Afrobeat and island. But this was heavily Hip-Hop andsome island, but they vibed to it.l They loved it, they enjoyed it. That was my favorite memory, apart from meeting and networking with some other great artists.

You have some Hip-Hop tracks on your last album, talk about your love for Hip-Hop as well.

Growing up, I watched everybody. From Snoop Dogg to Queen Latifah, I love them. The thing is with me when I write, it’s all about the beat. If I like the beat, I’ma rock with it. It doesn’t matter what it sounds like, and that’s what makes me versatile. Sometimes, being versatile is really, really good. I can go into any studio and do anything. I can sing, I can rap. I can do anything. So that’s where that comes, my versatility and my love for different genres of music. And growing up in a classroom of children from all over the world.

Any goals for yourself?

This year, I gotta put out another song. Honestly, my goals are to keep making music. I have a foundation called INA, and I hope to be able to give back. As I travel the world, as I get on different stages, I like to invite people about giving back to home. Especially people in the diaspora. People from Africa, people from Europe, who find themselves outside of their countries to continuously give back to where they’re from. I hope to create that impact. Me being African but being in the United States, if I find a way to encourage people to give back, it will boost the economy in each of these continents. I do that by way of music, by way of giving back. By sharing this when I go to festivals, it’s a big thing for me.

The post Naomi Achu Talks Rise Of Afrobeats & Performing On DJ Khaled’s Cruise first appeared on The Source.

The post Naomi Achu Talks Rise Of Afrobeats & Performing On DJ Khaled’s Cruise appeared first on The Source.

August 14, 2023

Written by:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *