Valentine’s Day comes once a year, giving musicians around the world with an opportunity to release new love-themed material. The festivities surrounding the day provide ready promotion for such music. The world, it would seem, always has need for one more love song.
In the run up to 14 February 2016, the pattern remained - and it is a win-win for both artist and fan: a new song promotes the former; a new song satisfies the fan. There is probably no better way for an artist to remind the audience of her relevance than release music on for an event recognised all over the world.
In Nigeria this year, relatively new artists showed their sentimental sides, as did stalwarts of the scene. The mix of tunes from both the well-recognised and the less-renowned made for a varied selection for music lovers, as the country’s singers approached the theme of the day from different angles. For example, respected R&B act Banky W gave fans a new love song two days before the day, focused on romance, while up-and-coming singer Simi discusses the all-conquering power of love.
Taken together, these songs remind us that love is a much-varied thing...
Funbi - ‘Thinking Out Loud’
A member of the super-group The Collectiv3, Funbi released a video where he sings ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by British singer Ed Sheeran. He pads his rendition with a snippet from Brian McKnight’s 'Anytime'.
Banky W & Nikky Laoye - 'Onyeuwaoma'
Gospel singer Nikki Laoye joins the fray with a ballad that can be consumed by believers and secular music listeners as well. The song, which title translates to ‘someone blessed with life’s pleasures’, is already being touted online as a wedding song. The featured Banky W, who refers to himself as the R&B king, works well with Laoye. He also makes a second appearance on this list.
Simi - 'Love Don’t Care'
Love between cultures and class have spawned a countless number of music and other art forms. Simi’s 'Love Don’t Care' is a worthy inclusion. The chorus, sung in Nigerian pidgin, translates to “Love don’t care who you are or where you are from...”
Banky W - 'Made For You'
For a while Banky W has been experimenting with his rap gifts. With 'Made For You', he marks his solo return to the genre that made him. In recent times, he has recorded duets with female singers Chidinma and Nikki Laoye. On 'Made for You', released a few days before the year’s most awaited celebration of love and romance, the man sings solo R&B on a reggae beat.
2Baba - ‘Officially Blind'
“This is no democracy,” sings 2Baba on ‘Officially Blind’. “Na only you wen I dey see.” He may have changed his name but the singer remains the same. With ‘African Queen’, 2face, as he was then known, gave contemporary Nigerian pop its best-known love song. Since then he has tackled a wide range of topics. On this song, which was released four days before Valentine’s Day, he returns to perhaps his favourite theme.