Nigerian soul/hip-hop/Afrobeat singer Nneka Egbuna is a breath of fresh air. With influences like Bob Marley, Nina Simone and traditional Nigerian music, her music is a call to action.
The 29-year-old talked from Germany about her take on life and touring the States with Nas and Damian Marley. She will play the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., on June 11.
Question: How did you get paired up with Nas?
Answer: He had listened to my album and suggested that I come on tour with them, because the message of the tour ... the connection of every race on this earth, or every tribe is one beginning, one destiny, one blood ... and my message were similar.
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Q: How would you describe your music?
A: It's just the way I am. It's heartfelt. It's straightforward.
Q: What is your opinion of the representation of women in hip-hop?
A: If you're grounded and founded in your identity, then you are fine. God created us all in his image, therefore we are all powerful. There is no need to stress the man-woman issue. Without woman, there is no man. At the end of the day, women are the source of life.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I try to listen, to be more attentive to people, because I talk a lot at times. Sometimes when you talk, you like to listen to yourself talk, which is a very bad habit. ... I like to paint, I like to draw, I like to run, I like to jog, I like to eat good food.
Q: What do you want to get out of this tour?
A: I'm just going with an open mind and to share my music, my message. It's an opportunity for me to get to know a different type of audience. ... I want to be able to reach out to more people, make them conscious of their surroundings, of the fact that we are responsible for what is happening in this world, whether good or bad. ... Me being able to represent Africa, and raise awareness between the relationship between me and Africa is a big responsibility. I want to be able to fulfill what the supreme being expects me to fulfill.
Q: That's a tall order.
A: This journey is not my own. ... Everybody has his or her own gifts, his or her own talents. We're all responsible for something. If you're good at doing something, you cannot forget you have to use it for the benefit of other people.