Angélique Kidjo Cements Her Legacy As One Of The Most Singular And Extraordinary Voices In International Music With Mother Nature – Out June 18
May 21, 2021
Guests Include Yemi Alade, Mr. Eazi, Salif Keita, Burna Boy, Shungudzo, Zeynab, Lionel Loueke, Sampa The Great, Blue Lab Beats, Ghetto Boy, EARTHGANG, and -M-
Angélique Kidjo has announced her new album, Mother Nature, to be released on June 18 (Universal Music Group). Mother Nature finds the 4-time GRAMMY-winner joining forces with some of the most captivating young creators of West African music, Afrobeats, Afro-pop, hip hop and r&b, and represents a newly heightened awareness of her own musical legacy and remarkable influence she’s had on younger generations.
Today she’s shared a new music video for “Africa, One Of A Kind” featuring Mr. Eazi and Salif Keita. Watch here and read more in this first Q&A on Mother Nature via Rolling Stone. Portions of the video were filmed on location in Contonou, Benin and in Mali. It was directed by Drahmas Omofresh of Benin, and the dance featured in the video is called Gogbahoun, which originates from Angélique’s home village of Ouidah.
“Mr Eazi has composed for us a beautiful ode to the African continent! The sound and groove are inspired by contemporary Afrobeats but the song takes its roots in the great tradition of African songwriting. This is why it was so important to have Salif Keita singing his signature melody in the intro. Three generations of musicians are united here to celebrate the future of Africa.”
Mother Nature is Angélique’s first album of original music in 7 years, following 2019’s Grammy-winning Celia, and her 2018 radical reimagining of Talking Heads’ landmark LP Remain In Light. Mother Nature features Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Salif Keita, Burna Boy, Shungudzo, Zeynab, Lionel Loueke, Sampa The Great, Blue Lab Beats, Ghetto Boy, EARTHGANG, and -M-. Producers that worked on the album include Kel P (Burna Boy), James Poyser of The Roots, Vtek, Rexxie, Synematik, Blue Lab Beats, -M-, Brad Thomas Ackley, David Donatien and Dany Synthé. She began writing it in 2019 and it was created over the past year in quarantine.
In Angélique’s hands, complex issues are transformed into music that’s radiantly joyful, a euphoric departure from the chaos of the world. She sets the tone quickly, with the opening lyrics of “Choose Love”: “We’ve been here before, all the world’s up in flames, that don’t fix anything, must be some other way.” Tackling subjects ranging from the disastrous effects of climate change on Africa, to racial inequality, Angélique and her collaborators deliver strong messages, and demand greater respect for Africa from the world.
On the just-released single “Dignity,” she is joined by Yemi Alade in a call to action to end brutality, inspired by the lives lost in Nigeria’s #EndSARS demonstrations, and covered by the NY Times, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. The deceptively breezy “Do Yourself” featuring Burna Boy is an empowerment anthem, a plea to put in work for the betterment of everyone. While some songs were inspired through in-depth conversations with her collaborators, for “Free & Equal” (featuring Sampa The Great), Angélique looked to the initial promise of equality in the Declaration of Independence and how the Black Lives Matter movement continues to fight for it.
Angélique Kidjo is one of the greatest artists in international music today, with Time Magazine calling her “Africa’s premier diva.” She has recently performed and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Amanpour, was profiled by the NY Times, opened for Vampire Weekend at Madison Square Garden, and hosted NPR’s Tiny Desk series celebrating GlobalFest this past January.
Angélique created Batonga in 2006, a charitable foundation dedicated to supporting the education of young girls in Africa. As a UNICEF Ambassador, she helped to secure the investment of $300 million in women business owners in Africa, announced at the 2018 G7 Summit. She is the recipient of the 2015 Crystal Award given by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the 2016 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, and the 2018 German Sustainability Award. In 2017 she was one of two musicians chosen to perform for a host of world leaders under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to honor the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Mother Nature Track List:
- Choose Love
- Dignity (with Yemi Alade)
- Africa, One Of A Kind (with Mr Eazi & Salif Keita)
- Mother Nature
- Do Yourself (with Burna Boy)
- Meant For Me (feat. Shungudzo)
- Omon Oba (with Zeynab & Lionel Loueke)
- Free & Equal (with Sampa The Great)
- Fired Up (feat. Blue Lab Beats & Ghetto Boy)
- Take It Or Leave It (with EARTHGANG)
- Mycelium (with -M-)
- One Africa (Indépendance Cha-Cha)
- Flying High