Yemi Alade: Pure Gold, Superstar

Nigerian music superstar, Yemi Alade has been captivating audiences and topping charts all over Africa and across the globe with her unique blend of Afrobeats, R&B, and pop music. With her powerhouse vocals and electrifying stage presence, it is no wonder she’s been dubbed the “Queen of Afrobeats,” “Queen of Kings”, and “Mama Africa”.

Born in Abia State, Nigeria, Alade was bred in a multi-ethnic home. Her father James Alade, was a police commissioner from Ondo State, while her mother Helen Uzoma is a native of Abia State. She began singing at a young age and participated in several talent shows in the University before eventually auditioning for the popular the Peak Talent Show in 2009, which she won catching the attention of record producers and immediately signed to Effyzzie Music in the Nigerian music industry. 

In 2014, she went on to release her debut single “Johnny”, which became an instant hit and an African anthem, quickly climbing the charts and earning Alade a legion of devoted fans across the continent. With her debut single, she bagged the Best New Act award at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. 

In the same year, she released her debut album King of Queens on 2 October 2014, and the album included her most successful single Johnny and other singles like “Kissing”, “Tangerine” and “Taking Over Me” featuring Phyno. The album was nominated for Album of the year at the 2015 Nigerian Entertainment Awards and the 2015 Headies Awards. 

On 25 March 2016, Alade released her second album titled Mama Africa which produced singles like “Na Gode”, “TumBum” and “Ferrari”. Mama Africa won the World beat Album on the 2016 Independent Music Awards. In 2016, she debuted on Billboard as No 4 on “Next Big Sound” Chart.

On 9 May 2017, Alade was announced as a coach in the second edition of The Voice Nigeria to replace legendary 2baba who was a former coach on the live show. She coached on The Voice Nigeria (Season 2) alongside other Nigerian artists like Waje, Timi Dakolo and Patoranking, before releasing her third studio album Black Magic on 15 December, 2017. The album which was a follow up to Mama Africa features guest appearances like Falz and Olamide.

On 1 December 2017, Alade was featured on a campaign “Make The Future” by Shell Oil Company in Nigeria. She was also starred in the company’s music video “On Top of the World” which also featured Jennifer Hudson, Pixie Lott, Luan Santana and Monali Thakur. 

On 29 April 2019, Alade garnered one million views on her “Oh My Gosh” remix featuring Rick Ross in one day. This makes the release from Alade, one of the fastest views gainers in the history of African music and the fastest release by an African female act. In July 2019, Alade became the first African female artist to reach one million subscribers on YouTube. Her song “Johnny” currently holds the YouTube record for the most watched African Female music video of all time. Alade was featured on “Don’t Jealous Me”, a track from Beyoncé’s soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift. She appeared on the track alongside Mr Eazi and Tekno. Rolling Stone magazine revealed that Alade also recorded a verse for an earlier version of “My Power” in June.

Described as a “buffet with different kinds of meals and drinks”, her third album, Woman of Steel was written to reflect her tough veneer to command the same degree of respect as her male counterparts and to establish herself as her own superhero. Woman of Steel is an Afrobeat record that incorporates elements of R&B and highlife. The album primarily explores topics such as love, socio-politics and poverty. Alade spent three years recording the album features Rick Ross, Duncan Mighty, Angélique Kidjo and Funke Akindele.

In September 2019, Alade signed a multi-year licensing deal with Universal Music Africa (UMA) and UMG France. UMA serves as the exclusive worldwide record partner for Alade while UMG France serves as the international rollout partner for all of her releases under the label. 

On 17 November 2020, Alade came out with her banging, world class fifth studio album titled Empress, collaborating with the Grammy award-winning Estelle, Vegedream, Patoranking, Rudeboy, Mzansi Youth Choir and Dadju, Vtek, Phil Keyz, Egar Boi, Dr. Amir, Krizbeatz, IamBeatz, Youp Boelen, Jimmy Huru and Yung Felix,  Fiokee and Max Meurs to produce 15 tracks.

It is almost a sacrilege to miss out her name on the list of the greatest music artistes on the continent. Not just for her raw talent in music, overwhelming, energetic stage performance and creative music videos, but for the influence her music has had across Africa. In 2022, The Scoove Africa ranked Yemi Alade The Best Stage Performer in Nigeria to date. These and more have won her, not just multiple awards, but millions of hearts around the world.

She won the MTV African Music Awards for Best female in 2015 and 2016 consecutively and was nominated for Artiste of the Year in 2015, making her the first female to win the MAMAs for Best female consecutively twice and nominated for Artiste of the Year. In 2015, Alade was the first African female to be nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) and she was nominated for the BET awards for Best International Act: Africa in 2015 and 2016. Yemi is also applauded for her creative and overwhelming stage performances, fashion and music videos. 

She won The Headies Award for Best Performer twice, 2018 and 2019. The slot was initiated at The Headies 2018 and she was the first artiste to win the category. Alade is also the second Nigerian and Afrobeats artist and the first female to hit 100 million views for a single video on YouTube after Davido. She also has the record for the most viewed female African music video and the first Nigerian female artist to hit 1million views on YouTube in 24 hours

On 9 June 2020, Alade was listed to be among the forefront artists/musicians from across the world to perform at The Global Goal: Unite for our future sponsored by the Global Citizen aimed to highlight the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic especially in the most remote places in Africa and across the world and she went on to perform in the Global Goal: Unite for Our future alongside Miley Cyrus, Shakira, J Balvin, Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay, Usher, Justin Bieber, Quavo, Christine and the Queens and Chloe X Halle.

Over the years, Alade has received multiple ambassadorial contracts and partnerships from different brands both locally and internationally. She was endorsed by brands like Luc Belaire, Glo, Maybelline, Shell and many more.

But it’s not just her music that has earned Alade praise and pure gold status. Alade sings in English, Igbo, Pidgin, Yoruba, French, Swahili and Portuguese. Her music has been of influence in many African countries and the world as she is acclaimed “Mama Africa” for her versatility in using different African languages and attires in her songs and music videos. She’s also known for her striking style and fashion sense, often rocking bold and colorful looks on stage and on the red carpet. She’s been named one of the most fashionable African celebrities by several publications, and has even launched her own clothing line.

Despite her success, Alade remains humble and down-to-earth. In interviews, she often speaks about the importance of staying true to herself and her roots. She’s also an advocate for women’s rights and empowerment, and frequently uses her platform to raise awareness about important issues.

With her talent, determination, and magnetic charm, it’s no surprise that Yemi Alade has become one of the biggest names in the Nigerian music scene. She’s a true superstar, shining bright and inspiring fans all over the world.


Joseph Omoniyi