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Nigerian music has definitely come a long way. Recent years have witnessed the astronomic rise and dominance of the African music space by Nigeria. This is evidenced by the continued domination of several award platforms including BET, MAMAs, MOBOS, and Channel O Music Video awards by Nigerian artistes.
Today, Showdown parades two of Nigeria’s popular singers – Asa and Nneka. Both unarguably stand out on the international scene due to their unique sound. They have featured on the biggest stages in the world, rubbing shoulders with the best and winning accolades in the process. But who among them is the most celebrated internationally? Music buffs bare their minds. Excerpts:
Born in Paris, France, Bukola Elemide famously known as Asa, is the only daughter from a family of four kids. The songwriter, instrumentalist and artiste started her career in Lagos, and trained under the legendary Peter King. She took the Nigerian music scene by storm in 2004 when she released her debut singles, Adaba and Jailer, which were followed by her-self titled album, Asa, in 2006. Asa has clinched many awards and nominations including the Prix Constantin in 2008 and French Music Awards Victoires de la Musique nomination for Female Artist of The Year 2011.
Her other albums include Live in Paris, Beautiful Imperfection, and Bed of Stone, which was released August this year. Prior to the release of Bed of Stone, the album was reported to have sold over 400, 000 copies in advance.
After she opened for reggae dancehall star, Sean Paul, in Hamburg, Germany, Nneka (Nneka Lucia Egbuna) has never looked back. Born and brought up in Warri, Delta State, Nneka is a Germany-based Nigerian artiste. Described as a radical singer, songwriter and actress, she has been active in the music scene since 2003. In 2005, Nneka dropped her first album entitled, Victim of Truth simultaneously in Germany, England, France, Netherlands, Nigeria and Japan. Later that year, she had her maiden tour which took her to Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Victim of Truth attracted rave reviews and was described by the UK Sunday Times as the “Most Criminally Overloaded Album of the Year”, comparing it to Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation. Nneka’s other albums include No Longer At Ease and Soul Is Heavy. She has won several awards including the Nigerian Entertainment Awards for Best Indigenous Artiste in Nigeria and Best International Artiste respectively. She has also featured in a couple of movies including Lake of Fire, Relentless, and Eine Andere Liga among others.
…And the people’s verdict:
Asa is spectacular –Kelechi Ejikeme
My position is not to undermine any of them because they are both spectacular in their careers and play the same music genre. But to be specific, Asa is spectacular beyond comparison so I give it to her.
Nneka has amazing talent – Ijeoma Okwutu, nutritionist
Nneka is simply of a special breed, an amazing talent and fearless musical evangelist. Listening to her songs is just like listening to a hard and fearless preacher. Judging from what I know about both acts, Nneka is far more celebrated internationally than Asa.
Asa, Nneka two of a kind –Martins Agala
Asa and Nneka are two of a kind. Both of them are Nigeria’s great ambassadors and role models. For me, comparing the pair is like comparing one’s left to one’s right hand. They are two of a kind and the sky will be the starting point of their careers.
Asa takes the day –Ogunkule Bosun, undergraduate
Both acts are very famous and well celebrated internationally. But as for the more popular, I think Asa is the one. That was why her latest album, Bed of Stone, sold as much as 400,000 copies even before it was officially launched.
They are simple and humble –Gbemisola Olowude, financial analyst
I’m not interested in determining which of them is more popular internationally. My concern is that both of them are soaring in their careers but more importantly, what thrills me is their simplicity and humility. Despite their fame and high profile status, neither of them is flamboyant or pompous.
I give it to Asa –Obazelle Godson, teacher
I give it to Asa because I know about her more than Nneka and I believe that it is the same internationally. She has also dropped more albums than Nneka. But beyond popularity, they are both great talents.
They are great stars –Angel Mbonu, undergraduate
Asa and Nneka are great stars doing great things for themselves, their families and the country at large. While Nneka recorded a song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup entitled Viva Africa, Asa performed alongside Fefe at the Sydney Festival in 2011. And that is just a tip of the iceberg; we should all hail them.
Give them national honours –Edmund Onyeke, student
The Sun should encourage the federal government to honour Nneka and Asa with national honours, because they have recorded more positive achievements than many national award recipients. Countries that do things rightly would have honoured them long ago. The Sun should focus on this and stop trying to create enmity between them by playing up the popularity game.
Asa is more dynamic –Ejile Gabriel, undergraduate
Just because of Asa’s Jailer, I’m endeared to her and I give it to her; she is more dynamic than Nneka.
It’s Asa –Great Ekhide, civil servant
I give it to Asa because she has dropped more albums and singles. I would say that in the music industry, the more quality songs you drop, the more you soar in popularity so, it is Asa all the way.
It’s Nneka –Okonkwo Nnachetam, undergraduate
It is only a person that doesn’t know much about the artistes professionally that would vote for Asa. I am not saying that Asa is not popular. What I am trying to point out is that in terms of international recognition, Nneka has a wide edge over Asa because apart from being a recording artist, she also acts and has featured in great films and recorded soundtracks for movie producers.
They are patriotic –Fred Onwei, businessman
One great thing that Asa and Nneka have going for them is that they always think home. There are many popular Nigerian artistes abroad who have never set foot on Nigeria. I am talking about the likes of Sade Adu who is well celebrated overseas but has chosen to forget her roots. But Asa and Nneka always visit home to identify with their people. And for that, I celebrate them and urge them to keep it up.
Why the controversy? –Dele Abiodun, importer
Why does The Sun always feast on controversies? I’ve noticed that if your paper is not throwing up one controversy, it is reinforcing existing ones or screaming blue murder on its covers just to create some controversy. But it is good if you are making money out of it.
It’s another close call –Chigozie Madu, teacher
It’s another close call like your last edition that featured Amber Rose and Nicky Minaj. Nneka and Asa are very popular both locally and internationally. They have both featured at great shows and concerts and have won several local and international awards. So, considering their achievements and profile cumulatively, I would say it is a close call.
This is evil journalism
–Femi Akinlefe, public relations expert
I have complained severally that your Showdown column is not doing Nigeria any good but harm. The Nigerian entertainment industry is as volatile as it is in all climes. But rather than come up with columns that would stabilize the industry, you chose to always stir the already turbulent industry with yourShowdown. That to me is evil journalism and you should desist forthwith.
Nneka is more popular –Adaora Egbuna, beautician
I love Asa and her style of music but in terms of popularity internationally, I think that Nneka carries the day. I believe that Nneka is more popular. I have been following her career for a long while and I have noticed that she does more international high profile concerts than Asa and that is a testimony to the fact that she is much more recognized abroad compared to Asa.
Asa, popular in Nigeria; Nneka, celebrated internationally –Stan Okanya, student
Judging from what obtains in Nigeria, Asa would carry the day but as regards international status, Nneka is more popular. That is not to say that both of them are not popular at home and abroad but each one has her strengths and weaknesses.
The fear of Showdown… –Chikelu Ndulue, businessman
Showdown is making a strong impact and I urge you to keep it up. I hail you for coming up with this concept because it checkmates our artistes. And I can assure you that soon, the fear of Showdown will be the beginning of wisdom for artistes and celebrities in the country. But I will advice you to maintain definite pages for the column and resume promoting it on the cover.
Let’s celebrate them –Folake Adebayo, accountant
It is better to celebrate the achievements of both Asa and Nneka and shower encomiums upon them. I believe that they need our support more than this topic you are treating. We should learn to praise the few citizens that are promoting our country’s image whether in or outside the country.