The self-titled debut album of Nigerian singer Asa (pronounced ASH-ah) came out in 2007, but her hit record “Fire on the Mountain”‘s mere 2,800 views on YouTube tells me that, like me until a month ago, you probably haven’t heard of her.
That’s a shame, because Asa’s beautiful melodies and clean, fresh song-writing are some of the best I’ve heard in a while. Her music is R&B meets Hip Hop meets folk, and she sounds like a cross between Bob Marley, Traci Chapman and, at times, Lucinda Williams. Have a listen/watch:
Now, tell me you’re not in love with her unassuming demeanor, thick-rimmed glasses, perfect timing and intoxicating diction. (What’s up with that selective drawl she uses?)
The 27-year-old was born in Paris and lived in Nigeria since she was two. She’s a big deal in Nigeria, and has made a splash on European charts and around Africa. Her career is just getting started, but Marco Werman’s comparison to the greats — Marvin, Bob and others — doesn’t seem far-fetched.
Asa has been on a loop on my iPod for the last week. Stop sleepin’ on her!
Here’s one more for the road: