14 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Asa’s second full-length, Beautiful Imperfection, speaks a sort of international musical language that goes down nice and easy. It combines indie pop and neo-soul and occasionally mixes in other elements such as reggae to craft a pleasant sound. The singer/songwriter, born Bukola Elemide, is based in Paris and grew up in her parents’ native Nigeria, but she mostly sings in English. Beautiful Imperfection is a generally happy affair, and even when Asa sings of the world’s problems (on “Maybe”) the music is comforting. The piano ballad “Questions” has a somber quality rare in this context, and the sparely arranged track, with its distant marching drums, is highly effective. Three songs are sung in Yoruba (the appealing “Bimpé,” the swoony “Oré,” and the upbeat “Broda Olé”), but none displays an obvious Nigerian influence; stylistically they’re cut from the same cloth as the rest of the material. There are two bonus cuts: “Iba” (a piece of smooth R&B that also has Yoruba lyrics) and the bilingual “Bamidélé” (where Asa is backed by strings).

EDITORS’ NOTES

Asa’s second full-length, Beautiful Imperfection, speaks a sort of international musical language that goes down nice and easy. It combines indie pop and neo-soul and occasionally mixes in other elements such as reggae to craft a pleasant sound. The singer/songwriter, born Bukola Elemide, is based in Paris and grew up in her parents’ native Nigeria, but she mostly sings in English. Beautiful Imperfection is a generally happy affair, and even when Asa sings of the world’s problems (on “Maybe”) the music is comforting. The piano ballad “Questions” has a somber quality rare in this context, and the sparely arranged track, with its distant marching drums, is highly effective. Three songs are sung in Yoruba (the appealing “Bimpé,” the swoony “Oré,” and the upbeat “Broda Olé”), but none displays an obvious Nigerian influence; stylistically they’re cut from the same cloth as the rest of the material. There are two bonus cuts: “Iba” (a piece of smooth R&B that also has Yoruba lyrics) and the bilingual “Bamidélé” (where Asa is backed by strings).

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4:15
3:39
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3:23
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4:05

About Aṣa

A?a set off to take flight with the release of her first single, "Fire on the Mountain", in 2007. The single (which has a surprisingly lilting melody for its accompanying lyrics warning of ecological disaster) had already received wide airplay on stations in Europe when her self-titled debut album hit stores in October of that same year. A?a (pronounced Asha) is no stranger to France, where her album was recorded and produced, having been born in the capital city of Paris. Born Bukola Elemide in 1982, the singer has only the vaguest of memories of her birth city, since she was only two years old when her family returned to Nigeria. Their time spent in Paris was brief, but A?a's fate was tied up with the City of Light and it was to Paris that she returned 20 years later to record her first major work in the studio. A?a grew up in Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria and a city buzzing with energy but also home to a deep-rooted spirituality. In Lagos, she matured amidst a population balancing the beliefs of Islam and Christianity. The influence of the city can be heard throughout her first album on tracks such as "Jailer" and "Fire on the Mountain", where tentative hints of Afrobeat waft through the folksy pop. Her style is unique as the city she grew up in, lying somewhere between pop and soul — and just a twist of reggae. Her music features mainly English lyrics, but she also sings in Yoruba, a West African language widely spoken in Nigeria. The album was warmly received in France, winning her the Prix Constantin in 2008, and the follow-up, 2010's Beautiful Imperfection, which expanded on the R&B and funk elements of her sound, saw her nominated for a Victoires de la Musique award.

  • ORIGIN
    Paris, France
  • GENRE
    Pop
  • BORN
    1982

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