Yemi Alade is one of the biggest Nigerian Afropop singer and songwriter. She is also recognised as an actress as well as an activist. In this biography, you will learn some interesting facts about Yemi Alade. Also, you will get answers to some of your most important questions about the beloved artist.
Yemi Alade has one edge over many other singers and it is her ability to speak a variety of languages. According to reports, Yemi Alade is fluent in Yoruba, Igbo, English, French, Portuguese and Swahili.
We provide facts and details about Yemi Alade in a chronological and easy-to-follow format. To start this informative biography about Yemi Alade, we give the top 10 important facts about her in the next section.
Top 10 important facts about Yemi Alade
- Yemi Eberechi Alade was born on 13th March 1989, to a Yoruba father and an Igbo mother.
- She schooled in Lagos State and holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Lagos.
- Yemi Alade sings in different languages including Yoruba, Igbo, French, Portuguese and Swahili.
- She began her professional music career under Jus’ Kiddin record label and later joined a new record label, Effyzzie Music Group, in 2012.
- In 2014, Yemi Alade released her debut studio album titled “Kings of Queen” under Effyzzie Music Group.
- As of 2020, Yemi Alade has dropped five official studio albums and except “Empress” (recently released in November 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic), she had gone on international tours to promote four of her albums.
- Yemi Alade is also notable for her energetic and entertaining performances, which has earned her the Best Performer award at The Headies for three consecutive years, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
- Characteristically, after releasing each album, the Afropop singer drops deluxe editions that contain songs in other African languages such as Swahili and French as well.
- The video of Yemi Alade’s “Johnny” has over 124.8 million views on YouTube as of November 2020, and it holds the record for the most viewed video by a female Nigerian artist.
- While there have been rumours about possible relationships, Yemi Alade is currently single.
Yemi Alade Biography: Early life and education
Yemi Alade’s full name is Yemi Eberechi Alade and she was born on 13th March 1989, to a Yoruba father and an Igbo mother. Yemi Alade’s father was a commissioner of police from Ondo State, named James Alade. Meanwhile, her mother’s name is Helen Uzoma and she is an indigene of Abia State. Thus, Yemi Alade grew up in a bi-tribal home and due to her father’s job, she lived in many parts of Nigeria. She was the fifth child of seven children in her large family.
Yemi Alade started her early education at St. Saviour British Primary School and completed her secondary education in Victory Grammar School, Lagos State.
Thereafter, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Lagos, and during her time at the institution, she began a journey in the music industry.
Yemi Alade Biography: Music career
While studying for a degree in Geography at the University of Lagos, Yemi Alade had joined a girl music group called Noty Spices. It was the beginning of her music career. In 2009, she won The Peak Talent Show, a talent hunt reality show that helped propel her to fame and new heights.
After winning the reality show, Yemi Alade released her first official single titled “Fimisile” under Jus’ Kiddin record label.
After a brief music hiatus, Alade returned to making music under a new record label – Effyzzie Music Group.
King of Queens (2014)
In 2012, Yemi Alade released “Ghen Ghen Love” under Effyzzie Music Group. The record label is owned and run by Taiye Aliyu and there have been reports that he and the Afropop singer were in a relationship. In 2013, she dropped “Bamboo” and also released its video later that year. It was a romantic song that combines both Afro and R&B sounds.
There were rumours that Alade was working on her debut album in 2014. She released “Johnny”, one of her biggest songs to date, as the first single of 2014. It was a big hit not just in Nigeria but also in other countries as well, such as Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Liberia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom and more.
She officially released the video for “Johnny” on 4th March 2014 after it had leaked on the internet. The video has over 124.8 million views on YouTube as of November 2020. It currently holds the record for the most viewed video by a female Nigerian artist. It was nominated for Best Pop Single and Song of the Year at The Headies 2014.
The singer also dropped two other singles in 2014, namely, “Tangerine” and “Kissing”.
On 2nd October 2014, Yemi Alade released her debut studio album titled “King of Queens” under Effyzzie Music Group. Producers like Selebobo, Sizzle Pro, Shady Bizniz, Philkeyz, Young D, GospelOnDeBeatz, DIL, OJB Jezreel, Mr Chidoo, Fliptyce, EL Mcee and Beat Nation worked on the project.
Bovi, R2Bees, Phyno, Chidinma, DIL, Selebobo and Diamond Platnumz also featured on the album. Alade released its deluxe edition in November 2014. The deluxe edition contains French versions of some of the songs originally performed in English. The original album contains 17 songs while the deluxe edition has 20 songs.
“King of Queens” was nominated in the Album of the Year category at The Headies 2015 and the Nigeria Entertainment Awards 2015. The singer dropped three other tracks from the album, “Taking Over Me”, “Temperature” and “Duro Timi” as singles in 2015.
Mama Africa: The Diary of an African Woman
After concluding work on her debut album, Yemi Alade commenced work on her sophomore album. She released her first single from the album in July 2015 titled “Na Gode” while a second single, “Do as I Do”, was dropped in December 2015.
On 9th March 2016, the singer dropped a smash hit single titled “Ferrari”.
A little over two weeks later, she released “Mama Africa (The Diary of an African Woman)”, her second studio album under Effyzzie Music Group on 25th March 2016. Again, Yemi Alade called on a host of producers to work on the 15-track album.
GospelOnDeBeatz, DJ Coublon, Selebobo, Philkeyz, BeatsByEmzo, Masterkraft, Rotimi Keys and Mr Chidoo were all credited for their work on the album. P-Square, Sarkodie, Sauti Sol, Flavour N’abania, Rotimi Keys, DJ Arafat and Selebobo featured as guest artists on the album as well.
“Mama Africa “deluxe edition contains six additional tracks and has a Swahili version of “Na Gode”. The album won the World Beat award at the 2017 Independent Music Awards. It received mixed reactions; while many music critics praised it for its powerful sounds, others criticised it for what they called “copycatting” and a lack of “surprise”.
Mama Afrique (2017)
Yemi Alade dropped “Mama Afrique“, an extension of her acclaimed sophomore LP. It is her third body of work following the success of her two studio albums.
The EP features Kenyan music star Nyashinski on the Swahili version of her love song “Nakupenda“. Besides, it has a Ricii Lompeurs remix of her afro-house smash “Want You“ and other new and remastered multilingual versions of songs originally contained on the “Mama Africa” album.
This EP targeted international fans of the singer that spoke other languages different from those in her home country, Nigeria.
Black Magic (2017)
Yemi Alade, who was already answering to the moniker Mama Africa, released her third studio album titled “Black Magic” on 15th December 2017. She enlisted the services of top producers in the music industry such as DJ Coublon, Vtek, Sarz, Krizbeatz, Young D, Sess, Fliptyce, IAmBeat, Philkeyz, 2Kriss and Echo on the 15 track project.
The Afropop singer had released the “Black Magic” album as a follow up to her “Mama Afrique” EP in 2017. The album features Olamide and a guest appearance by Falz. The original album had 15 tracks on release day and was met with lots of negative reviews. Most critics targeted Yemi Alade’s alleged deficiency of songwriting ability and the album’s perceived lack of “ambition”.
Yet, those who liked the album defended it, stating that it gave lots of tracks that promote dancing and having a good time. In fact, most of the videos of the singles off of the album encourage getting on one’s feet and moving.
“Black Magic” album’s lead singles were “Knack Am”, “Single & Searching” and “Heart Robber”, all of which were met with mixed reactions from listeners.
The “Black Magic” Deluxe edition features a song with Awilo Longomba titled “Calé” and another with Kat DeLuna titled “Right Now”. In all, the deluxe edition added four songs to the album.
Woman of Steel (2019)
The idea behind the title of the 2019 album “Woman of Steel” is quite obvious. As the Afropop singer explains, she used the name to show how determined she is to be respected as her male colleagues in the Nigerian music industry. However, the songs do not exactly pass the same message. Instead, Yemi Alade herself explained: “[it is like a] buffet with different kinds of meals and drinks.”
Yemi Alade began working on the album in 2017, and it features a wide range of artists such as Rick Ross, Duncan Mighty and Angélique Kidjo. Funke Akindele also made a guest appearance on “Woman of Steel”. The album combines R&B and highlife.
The album’s cover art features Alade wearing a head cap, inspired by the Nefertiti Bust artwork. She and a French wine company Belaire Rosé collaborated to launch and promote the “Woman of Steel” album in Lagos, Paris, London, New York and Nairobi. She submitted the album to The Recording Academy for consideration in the Best World Music Album category at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.
In August 2019, Yemi Alade released a love song, “Home” and a Latin-inspired Afrobeats song, “Give Dem” as singles off of the album.
After the album dropped on 30th August 2019, Alade also released the sex-themed track “Vibe” as a single.
The track titled “Shekere” in which she features legendary singer Angélique Kidjo samples “Wombo Lombo”.
“CIA (Criminal in Agbada)” is one of the album’s tracks. The song boldly criticises corrupt Nigerian politicians.
Yemi Alade’s Woman of Steel met with different types of reception. However, music critics notably praised what they see as an improvement in her songwriting skills.
YouTube and The Lion King: The Gift album (2019)
In July 2019, Yemi Alade officially became the first African female artist to reach one million subscribers on YouTube. As mentioned already, her music video for Johnny continues to be the highest-charting video by an African Female singer and also among the most-watched music videos in Nigeria as well.
Beyoncé featured Yemi Alade on the soundtrack album “The Lion King: The Gift”. She appeared on the song “Don’t Jealous Me” along with other Nigerian artists – Mr Eazi and Tekno.
Universal Music Africa (UMA) (2019)
In September 2019, Alade signed a multi-year licensing deal with Universal Music Africa (UMA) and UMG France. Details about the deal revealed that UMA will be the exclusive worldwide record partner for the singer while UMG France will serve as the international rollout partner for all of her releases under the label.
After dropping three singles off of the “Empress” album, Yemi Alade finally revealed the tracklist and release date on 17th November 2020. The album features 15 tracks with contributions from Vegedream, Dadju, Patoranking, Rudeboy, Mzansi Youth Choir, and Estelle. These artists are from South Africa, Ivory Coast, France, England and her home country, Nigeria.
The production aspect of the album was handled by Vtek, Phil Keyz, Egar Boi, Dr Amir Krizbeatz, IamBeatz, Youp Boelen, Jimmy Huru and Yung Felix.
NotJustOk described the “Empress” album as “A feast of sounds“. It combines lots of sounds such as South African house music, EDM, Igbo highlife, dancehall and coupe de cale, Afropop and RnB. Its diverse sounds from the continent appear to further cement her position as Mama Africa.
Talent hunt judge – The Voice Nigeria (2017)
On 9th May 2017, the music reality show, The Voice Nigeria, announced that Yemi Alade will replace 2baba as a coach of the show. She joined other Nigerian artists like Waje, Timi Dakolo and Patoranking as judges on the show’s second season.
Yemi Alade also returned as a coach in season 3 of The Voice Nigeria along with Waje, Darey and Falz.
Yemi Alade Biography: Film career
In 2019, Yemi Alade starred in a short film titled “Home (The Movie)” along with Nollywood legend Clarion Chukwura and actor Frankincense Eche-Ben. The 13-minute long film was released under Effyzzie Music Group and Rebel Movement.
“Home” was the leading track of the singer’s fourth studio album, Woman of Steel. Majority of the reactions to Home (The Movie) were positive as fans praised Yemi Alade’s acting and the creativity in the production.
Black Is King (2020)
Yemi Alade starred on Beyoncé’s “Black Is King” visual trailer. She was later announced to be featured in the movie set to be released and premiered on Disney+ on 31st July 2020. It premiered for African countries on DStv Mnet on 1st August 2020.
Black Is King was nominated in the Best Music Film category at the UK Music Video Awards and the 2021 Grammy Awards.
Yemi Alade Biography: tours and performances
Following the release of her first four studio albums, the Nigerian Afropop singer and self-styled Mama Africa went on tours to promote her albums in different countries. Yemi Alade’s first tour was in 2014 after her “King of Queens” album dropped.
Here is a short video where Yemi Alade talks about her debut album.
In April 2017, she kick-started her “Mama Africa” tour to promote the album in Paris, France. She had sold out the Le Trianon event centre and performed for about 90 minutes with her Ova Sabi band and dancers. She also brought international saxophonist Jean Baptiste Moundele on stage.
July 2018 saw Yemi Alade go on a tour of Europe to promote “Black Magic”, her third studio album. She and her team compiled a video to show what they were up to during the tour. You can watch it below:
In 2019, Yemi Alade, sponsored by a French wine company, Belaire Rosé, launched and promoted her Woman of Steel album in Lagos, Paris, London, New York and Nairobi.
In recognition of her ability as a performer, Yemi Alade has won the Best Performer award at The Headies for three consecutive years, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
A list of her Yemi Alade’s awards is also presented in the awards section below.
Meanwhile, on 27th June 2020, Yemi Alade performed in the Global Goal: Unite for Our Future, alongside Miley Cyrus, Shakira, J Balvin, Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay, Usher, Justin Bieber and Quavo, Christine and the Queens and Chloe X Halle.
Yemi Alade Biography: Advocacy and activism
Returning to her secondary school, Victory Grammar School, Ikeja in November 2018, the singer provided eyesight equipment for students with eye issues. She did this through her charity organisation, Helen and James Pathway Foundation.
Helen and James Pathway Foundation is named after Alade’s parents. The foundation focuses on helping the underprivileged.
In November 2019, Yemi Alade featured on The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 for the movement A Global Call to Action for handicapped children in Kenya.
During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, she joined the United Nations Development Programme to encourage the protection and aid of poor people across Africa that the lockdown or curfew measures affected adversely.
Additionally, She was part of the Unite for the Future by Global Citizen campaign that collaborated with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and MTV Base. The singer joined One Campaign on its Stand Together movement against Covid-19. She was featured on the campaign song “Stand Together” along with 2Baba, Ahmed Soultan, Ben Pol, Teni, Amanda Black, Stanley Enow, Gigi La Mayne, Prodigio and Betty G.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) appointed her a Goodwill ambassador on 23rd September 2020. Part of her pledge was to leverage Sustainable Development Goals to address inequality, empower women and create awareness for the impact of global climate change.
Shell endorsement (2017)
In 2017, Yemi Alade signed an endorsement with the multinational oil company Shell Oil. Alade featured on Shell Oil’s Make The Future campaign in December 2017. She along with Jennifer Hudson, Pixie Lott, Luan Santana and Monali Thakur starred in the company’s music video titled “On Top of the World”.
Yemi Alade Biography: Net worth
The actress is one of the most expensive female performers in Nigeria and this is part of where her wealth comes from. There are unverified claims that she is worth between $3 million and $4 million. While this may be debatable, we can provide some details about how rich Yemi Alade is in 2020.
For one thing, the singer has successfully sold out concert tickets on most of her international tours. Also, she makes lots of money from her music and its videos. In addition to this, the Afropop diva has held brand endorsement positions with many notable companies.
We have mentioned Shell Oil Company and Universal Music Africa (UMA), but this is not all the companies she has worked with. Yemi Alade has brand endorsements deals with Luc Belaire, Glo, Maybelline, Close Up, Bacardi Breezer, Nairabox, Hollandia, NP Gandour, and many more.
While she likely lives a luxurious lifestyle, Yemi Alade does not like flaunting her expensive assets. Although, in 2018 when she bought a brand new Toyota Tundra truck she had posted about it online. Yet, she frowns at the showy lifestyle of many other celebrities and said so back in 2016, according to a local blog.
Yemi Alade Biography: Personal life
The singer has managed to separate her private life from her music. While she comes across as a free, wild and daring woman when she performs; it does not reflect in her personal life. This is why there has not been a time when people could confirm what Yemi Alade’s relationship status is and who she is dating.
However, in the past, there have been rumours that she was in a relationship with Nollywood actor Alex Ekubo. It turned out that it was nothing more than a professional relationship as Ekubo had starred as Johnny in her popular music video that goes by the same name.
Also, she mentioned on different occasions that she had crushes on Igbo rapper Phyno and Igbo highlife singer Flavour. But they were mere words and nothing solid appears to be going on between them and the eccentric queen of Afropop.
Additionally, in May 2020, there were reports that the CEO of Effyzzie Music Group, Taiye Aliyu, who is her boss, had secretly proposed to her. In fact, there were speculations that they had been dating secretly for two years and that they would walk down the aisle later in the year. Since neither Yemi Alade nor Taiye Aliyu has confirmed the reports, we conclude that they were mere speculations.
It seems that Yemi Alade has justified the Mama Africa title that she has been carrying for most of her career. The talented singer has brought dance and colourful elements to music in Nigeria and beyond its shores as well. While she has many critics who lash at her over songwriting, she undoubtedly makes danceable music. Also, she has a lovable personality that puts her above scandals and ridiculous circumstances. Not to forget, her generosity is also notable and deserves commendation.
At 31, Alade still has many years to go in the music industry and she is likely in no rush to leave soon. Churning out the number of songs she does almost every year coupled with her energetic long-duration performances cannot be swept under the carpet. We are excited for her and look forward to more gems from the talented Mama Africa.
Yemi Alade discography
List of Yemi Alade albums and EPs
1. King of Queens (2014) tracklist
- Intro (ft. Bovi)
- Pose (ft. R2Bees)
- Duro Timi
- Catch You
- Taking Over Me (ft. Phyno)
- Selense (ft. Chidinma)
- Fall in Love
- Temperature (ft. DIL)
- Tangerine (ft. Sele Bobo)
- Daddy Oyoyo
- Kissing (Remix) (ft. Diamond Platnumz)
2. Mama Africa: The Diary of an African Woman (2016) tracklist
- Na Gode (ft. Sele Bobo)
- Tonight (ft. P-Square)
- Kom Kom (ft. Flavour)
- Baby’s Back
- Marry Me
- Africa (ft. Sauti Sol)
- Do As I Do (ft. DJ Arafat)
- Kelele (ft. Rotimikeys)
- Ego (ft. Sarkodie)
- Koffi Anan (Freestyle)
3. Mama Afrique (2017) tracklist
- Nakupenda (French Version)
- Nakupenda (Portuguese Version)
- Single & Searching (ft. Falz)
- Mon Lo
- Bum Bum
- Yaba Left
- Wonder Woman
- Talku Talku
- Heart Robber
- Bread and Butter
- Sky Scrapper
- Jantolo (Ft. Olamide)
- Knack Am
4. Woman of Steel (2019) tracklist
- Night and Day
- Shake (ft. Duncan Mighty)
- Give Dem
- Remind You
- Shekere (ft. Angélique Kidjo)
- Poverty (ft. Funke)
- Lai Lai
- CIA (Criminal In Agbada)
- Poverty (Swahili Version) (ft. Funke)
- Oh My Gosh (Remix) by Yemi Alade & Rick Ross
5. Empress (2020) tracklist
- True Love
- Lose My Mind (ft. Vegedream)
- I Choose You (ft. Dadju)
- Temptation (ft. Patoranking)
- Turn Up
- Rain (ft. Mzansi Youth Choir)
- Weekend (ft. Estelle)
- Double Double
- Best Female Artiste in Western Africa at AFRIMA (All Africa Music Awards) (2015)
- Best Female at MTV African Music Awards (MAMA) (2015)
- Female artiste of the year at Nigeria Entertainment Awards (2015)
- Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year at The Headies (2015)
- Best Album-World Beat at Independent Music Awards (2016)
- Best Female at Soundcity MVP Awards (2016)
- Best Female at MTV African Music Awards (MAMA) (2016)
- Best Performer at The Headies (2017)
- Best Performer at The Headies (2018)
- Best Female Western Africa at AFRIMMA Awards(African Muzik Magazine Awards) (2018)
- Best Female Artiste at AFRIMA Awards (All Africa Music Awards) (2018)
- Best Performer at The Headies (2019)