Ever since she declared her intention to experiment with African sounds and work with local stars in February, the 23-year-old Austria-based singer, Rose May Alaba, has never rested on her oars.
Few months ago, she released a groovy song ‘My Love (sabi oh)’ which so far has received positive reviews. That first experimentation inspired her to produce another hit, this time, in collaboration with popular music sensation, Mayorkun. The song titled ‘50 50 Loving’ was inspired and produced by Kiddominant, according to the singer.
She said: “The song was inspired by Kiddominant; it was actually his idea. He sent the idea to me and I said it would appeal to the Nigerian audience. The song basically talks about the need for a relationship to be balanced and not one-sided.”
The pop singer who is also the younger sister of Bayern Munich player, David Alaba, may be a newcomer in the Nigerian music scene, but she has scored quite a few milestones in Austria.
Having started out her career professionally in 2015, Alaba got the opportunity to prove her mettle at the Austria Music Awards after releasing her first two singles, ‘All of This is You’ and ‘Love me Right’ in 2016.
More opportunities beckoned at her the following year when she was selected to work with Coca Cola on a Unified Song for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter games, ‘Can You Feel It’.
Composed by Markus Weiss and Bern Wagner, the track was written and performed by Alaba alongside musicians with intellectual disabilities from the organisation Jugend am Werk (Youth at Work) playing the Veeh harp, a plucked string instrument that does not require the ability to read music. They performed ‘Can You Feel It’ live at the opening and closing ceremony, while Coca-Cola also featured the anthem in its marketing campaign for the games.
Coming back home is a different ball game for the singer. She admitted to being under pressure to produce sounds that are genuinely African. However, she refuses to box her style of music into the afro-pop genre.
“No doubt, the pressure is there. I feel like the particular sound that I do… like mixing harp with Afro beats, like doing this Afro fusion thing really makes my sound different from the rest.
“I feel like I have a good chance here to show the people that I’m here now and that I have a different sound and I am here to stay. I don’t really have a name for it but I just want to call it Afro fusion. I don’t want to call it Afro pop; I don’t think there’s something as Afro-pop.”
Back home, the singer said her fans are already embracing her new sounds.
“They love it; they play me on radio, they really like it. I feel like they are really accepting me infusing Afro sound into my music, much more than me singing pop. I think I’m on the right path,” she declared.