Nneka is a Nigerian-German hip-hop/soul singer. She was born and raised in Nigeria, but went to Germany at 18 to pursue her career in singing (along with a degree in Anthropology!) Nneka has worked closely with German beat-maker DJ Farhot. She first gained attention as an opening act for Sean Paul at Hamburg Stadtpark, and shortly after began working on her debut album. She finished recording the album in the autumn of 2005: Victim of Truth. It was released not only in Germany but also in England, France, Netherlands, Nigeria and Japan. The album earned rave reviews from the media, the UK’s Sunday Times later declared it “the year’s most criminally overlooked album”, comparing it favourably to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (one of the greatest albums of all time! I was listening to it earlier tonight!).
Her second album, No Longer at Ease, was released in 2008. Most of the songs are political, talking about the plight of the Niger Delta and the corruption Nigeria. The lead single from it, ‘Heartbeat’, became her first song to break into the German Top 50. In September 2009, the song entered the UK Singles Chart at number twenty. In November 2009, Nneka staged her first concert tour of the United States where she performed shows in New York City, Vienna (Washington DC), Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Furthermore she was a special guest on The Roots Jam session. Her first US release Concrete Jungle was set for 2 February 2010.
Soul is Heavy is the third album by singer Nneka. It was released on 18 March 2012 in the U.K. In a recent interview Nneka stated that the album is “a bit more of a “band” sound this time around, a mix of digital and organic music. Still very me, though. It deals with issues that have to do with the day-to-day life of people: corruption, false prophecies, religion, war conflict…” The album is definitely of a somewhat different style from her previous two, but it is amazing, and still so very Nneka. I love her voice. I think it’s very raw and emotional. You can hear for sure the African roots in her beats and I think it gives a sort of “earthy” quality to her songs. If nothing else, Nneka’s music is incredibly powerful.