ROSE MAY ALABA is doing a lot right to become the star of a new global pop music called Afrobeats.
Recap: George Alaba came to Austria from Nigeria in 1984, and his duo succeeded in the late 1990s Two In One the jump to number two in the domestic charts with the “Indian Song”, the melodies from Boney M crossed with the Viva Techno production techniques. Before that, son David was born in 1992, who later played football. Two years later, daughter Rose May was born.
Rose May Alaba embarked on a creative path at an early age, playing in a casting girl band at the age of seventeen, and releasing her first own song with sunshin reggae vibes at the age of twenty. A year later, “Love Me Right” features the Viennese producer legend Rodney Hunter a new path for the first time: Afrobeats. Afrobeats doubles its streaming numbers on average every two years, Wizkid about has been collaborating with for many years Drakewhile with Burna Boy For the first time an album from Africa becomes number one in the UK and It’s called Savage of the New York Times is crowned Queen Of Afrobeats. Today, Afrobeats fills stadiums on both sides of the Atlantic, incorporating new sounds and styles from South African Amapiano, traditional Nigerian Fuji music and the alternative Alté subculture. Afrobeats is new globalized pop music. That’s exactly where Rose May Alaba feels very comfortable. Like this summer, for example Afrobeats Festival could be seen in Berlin, where she performed with choreo.
Stefan Niederwieser talked to Rose May Alaba about her future plans, about equal love and why she is a superstar and Grammy winner Tems her up Instagram follows.
How was Nigeria?
Rose May Alaba: Incomprehensible. I have been to Lagos every year since 2017. This was not possible during Corona. I was on a media tour with my single “Ibadi” and was finally able to connect with people again. The people there are so incredibly talented and God gifted, the fashion and the way of thinking are completely different. And of course the Hustle is also completely different.
There you worked with musicians who are considered Alté – an alternative subculture.
Rose May Alaba: Not only, not only. Afrobeats is huge, there are really many influences because many of the diasporas take their surroundings with them when they fly home. For me it is the same. Alté started very early in London. Alté simply means being different and not going with the flow. Alté is also fashion. You can be and look whatever you want. I deal with Alté people, but it’s hard to categorize anything.
How were the sessions with the producers? We know, Boybreed or Mastercraft?
Rose May Alaba: It was amazing. In the songwriting camps we write a lot in a very short time. That’s real teamwork. It goes like crazy. We pick out the good ideas or select singles. And if there isn’t enough time, we’ll do it from Vienna and Lagos. It’s really easy these days.
What is your latest single “Lockdown” about?
Rose May Alaba: It’s about love. It’s just about unconditional love, whether it’s the family, whether it’s your partner, your partner.
““50/50” is also about love. At the same time you sing, your partner may leave if he doesn’t respect how you do things.
Rose May Alaba: That’s the way it is. The song is about if I give 50%, I demand 50% from you too. That’s just how it is in a relationship. And I think you can never talk about love enough. Love is beautiful – in all its facets.
Shortly after your recording sessions you have Afrobeats Festival played in Berlin.
Rose May Alaba: The crowd was amazing. I was able to play songs we wrote in Lagos. They were so well received, I was really happy that I had the opportunity to perform Afrobeats in German-speaking countries. In Africa, different countries sometimes don’t get along because of their history. At festivals like this it doesn’t matter. There are no disputes there and no hatred against other countries. That’s where humanity counts. That’s what Afrobeats is all about, this unity. It doesn’t matter whether you grew up in Africa or, like me, in Austria.
“Come as you wish, have fun, enjoy the music, enjoy the vibe and be inspired.”
Rose May Alaba (c) Antonia Mayer
When can something like this happen in Vienna?
Rose May Alaba: Hopefully soon. I’m really trying my best to make Afrobeats more popular. The booker of the Berlin festival is also my booker, and I’ll just say that she certainly wouldn’t be averse to setting up something like that in Austria. In Vienna the next generation is working on this movement. Good friends organize the Lituation party series here, they play Afrobeats, Amapiano and Alté. I’m really celebrating this. They combine music with art and fashion. There are the Kids Of The Diaspora. Overall, this is a beautiful, colorful group that celebrates its roots in Vienna. It’s like in Alté: come as you want, have fun, enjoy the music, enjoy the vibe and be inspired.
Tems – the coolest woman in the world, recently announced by Kendrick Lamar was interviewed – only follows 717 people. You too. How come?
Rose May Alaba: I didn’t know that. [lacht] Honestly, I didn’t know that. On Instagram?
[lacht] On Instagram.
Rose May Alaba: [scrollt] Oh yes! Cool! I’m definitely honored, wow, very cool. I saw her at her first appearance in 2017 Homecoming Festival in Nigeria and was so excited about her. I really wanted to know who she was. I love her voice.
It is said that it was important for the emergence of Afrobeats in the UK that people could celebrate among themselves at hall parties. How was that for you?
Rose May Alaba: There weren’t any hall parties, but I love hanging out with friends who, like me, come from Nigeria, Ghana, the Congo or wherever. We’re in the studio, listening to music and partying.
You don’t just sing in English and Pidginbut also in German.
Rose May Alaba: I used to think I would never sing in German. But I can speak German, so why not. When I speak, I mix German and English, that’s how I speak and I wanted to incorporate that into my music. That impressed people and made me more approachable in German-speaking countries. I just want to exploit all my talents and not limit myself.
Do you speak like your father? Yoruba? For example, you installed the language in “Ibadi”.
Rose May Alaba: I don’t speak it fluently. My dad helped me with the song and the pronunciation. My people celebrate when I use Yoruba in my music and are proud of me when I pull it off.
“Here people could think, yeah, that’s our Yoruba girl!”
Do you know why your song “Oshey” was so well received?
Rose May Alaba: It’s a great song, what can I say. [lacht] That was the first time I used Yoruba. Oshey means thank you. Maybe people could really connect with me there. I was already doing Afrobeats before that. Here people could think, yeah, that’s our Yoruba girl! That’s what I love about my people, they’re just so proud, even though I didn’t grow up in Nigeria. Nigeria feels like… home away from home.
It is said that Afrobeats now require five figures Marketing-Budgets per single. How do you experience that?
Rose May Alaba: It’s not just like this in Afrobeats, but in the music business in general. If you don’t advertise, you’ll go under. I do this professionally. I have a vision. And the people I work with should get something back for putting so much into this craft. Advertising helps to place the product correctly. There is no other way. That’s how business is.
Rose May Alaba live (c) Press photo
Ayra Starr war very irritatedthat the “Best African Artist” award was not presented to her on stage. How difficult do women have it in Afrobeats?
Rose May Alaba: It changes. There are a lot of female rappers in hip hop now. But Afrobeats is also getting better and better; many musicians come from Nigeria and Ghana. Of course I think there could be more. But we’re slowly getting there.
What’s coming up for you?
Rose May Alaba: New singles come out every few weeks. My EP will come out next year. I will continue to write songs in Nigeria. There are great artists here in Vienna. But you can’t compare working there. Music is something emotional. For me it’s not just a job. I give bits and bits of my life. You can hear all the phases I go through. And today Afrobeats fulfills me a thousand percent.
“Lockdown” by Rose May Alaba has just been released.
Rose May Alaba (Instagram)