Angelique Kidjo, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, says she has had the concept of her ‘Mother Nature’ album — which features Burna Boy, Yemi Aalade, and Mr Eazi — in mind since 1993.
The Beninese songstress released the project on Friday — a few hours after the unveiling of the album’s tracklist.
In a chat with Apple Music, Kidjo said it was only during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown she had time to make the album.
“I’ve had this album in me somehow since 1993,” she said, adding that with the pandemic lockdown, “I had the luxury of time to spread my wings and to do the music the way I wanted, without stressing.”
Kidjo also explained that the album, following her 2019 Grammy-winning ‘Celia’, is her reckoning with climate change and legacy.
“When I became pregnant, it was obvious to ask myself the question: What kind of world are we going to leave to our children and beyond? And it became more relevant as I started seeing the proof of climate change,” she said.
“Let me start writing a love letter to mother earth, mother nature. This album is also about having a conversation with the younger generation—the transmission of culture as our grandparents have done.
Working with younger artistes and multiple producers, Kidjo created a cohesive and upbeat album, even as the subject matter is sometimes grave. This, she said, was the result of giving her collaborators freedom and space to be themselves.
On her Nigerian collaborations, she said: “You don’t invite somebody to have dinner with you to tell them, ‘You can’t do this. You can’t eat that now.’ You offer them food and they do what they want with it.
“I received a message from Mr Eazi. He said, ‘mom, I have a song for you (Africa, One of a Kind).’ I said, ‘Shoot away.’ That African blood runs in our veins. All of us. It does not matter where you come from, we’re all Africans.”
On ‘Do Yourself’, her track with Burna Boy, she added: “We have to do what is right for ourselves. We can’t just let everything fall apart and blame somebody else. Every step of the way, everything we’ve got, we have to fight for it.
“When we get it, we can see it. We just have to make it be better for everybody to be part of it. There’s something so crazy and infectious about all of Burna Boy’s grooves; they take your head from south to north, and that I like.”
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