Aya Nakamura: A French-Malian Pop star for the future.
- Providence: France/Mali
- Over 2 billion views of her videos on YouTube.
- Artist of the Year (France) at the third annual Apple Music Awards.
- The most streamed French female artist.
- 1 billion streams on Spotify.
- On the cover of French Vogue.
She has topped international charts. Apple Music Awards Artist of the Year (France), most streamed French female artist, and a French Vogue cover. Clearly Aya Nakumara has established her pedigree as a star of the future.
Aya Nakamura: Global superstar loading…
After taking her stage name from one of the titular characters (a warrior who, through sheer force of will, can bend space & time) in her favourite TV series, “Hero’s”, Aya is shifting soundscapes. Born in Mali and having moved to France as a child, being surrounded by a family of West African storytellers, poets and praise singers, that Aya embarked on an artistic career is no surprise.
At 19, she gained a following after posting her first single, “Karma”, on Facebook, following up with a break-up song, “J’ai mal” in 2014 (reaching more than 1 million views on YouTube). In 2015, her song “Brisé” garnered 34 million views, but her career hit a new trajectory following a collaboration with rapper Fababy. The song, “Love d’un voyou”, topped the French charts and she has since also opened for Nigerian star, Davido, at the Modibo-Keïta stadium in Mali.
Her record deal with Rec. 118, a label in the Warner Music France stable, in 2016, saw the release of her debut album, “Journal Intime”, and featured her first Platinum hit, “Comportement”.
Aya’s musical approach is diverse with a youthful experimentation that artfully distills her cultural heritage with sensitivity and intelligence. Informed by the line of griots in her maternal Malian inheritance, Aya is renowned for fearlessly weaving genres such as Afrobeats, Caribbean Zouk and R&B together with the dominant sounds from the African and West Indian communities.
Her songs balance perfectly between “crisp and commanding lyricism and spirited airiness”. She communicates themes of diversity, self-acceptance, freedom and feeling sexy throughout her songs, creating an intimate experience between her and audience. Aya’s third album is a mature offering in which she “juxtaposes her faith with a sexual liaison, dismissing wastemen while fantasizing about the traditional weddings that she had seen growing up in her West African community”. Her collaboration with English artists Stormzy and Ms. Banks supports her emotive vocals with contemporary shades and modern production.
Aya’s numbers indicate a cultural movement in music.
Aya’s winning of Artist of the Year (France) at the third annual Apple Music Awards combined with the most streamed Francophone artist in the world (300 million views on YouTube for single “Djadja”, while; her second album, ‘Nakamura’, has surpassed 1 billion streams on Spotify) is a robust gauge of the superstardom of the singer in this digital age of music. Her reach is simply phenomenal and is a formidable indicator of African Diaspora culture being adopted by the global youth market.
“Dadja” alone topped the charts of 11 European countries while “Jolie nana” hit #1 in France, Belgium, and Niger. Currently, Aya is one of the few female artists in France to appear in the streaming charts, typically dominated by male rappers. Her album, “AYA”, garnered the highest first-week streams for an album released by a female artist on Apple Music while her appearance on the cover of French Vogue and partnership MAC Cosmetics are effortlessly iconic and weighted in cultural bank.
What is clear, is that Aya is not only immensely talented but the perfect conduit to spread the depth and nuance of African heritage to the world, as African Culture becomes Global Culture.
C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.
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