Find Out More About Asa’s Breakthrough In Music, Her Relationship Saga and Scandals
Acclaimed for her top-notch songs like, Eyé Adaba, Jailer, Bibanke and Fire on the Mountain which were released at the early stage of her career. Highly respected multi-talented Nigerian French singer Asa (pronounced Asha) is one of the few musicians who broke the mold with their iconic style of singing.
Aṣa, real name Bukola Elemide, was born in 1982 in Paris to Nigerian parents who were working and studying cinematography in France.
Her family returned to live in Nigeria when she was two. Aṣa grew up in FESTAC, Lagos city, in the south-western part of Nigeria.
Asa has three brothers. She is the only female child of her parents. At a young age she began to look after the house during her parents’ frequent absences. This is when Asa started to sing.
Asa’s father, Akin Elemide, was a telecoms engineer at the time, her mother became a shopkeeper and her father shot video reports for weddings.
Asa spent her formative years in the city of Jos, Plateau State, in northern Nigeria before returning to Lagos at the age of 18.
She had to deal with the harsh reality when her parents got divorced and though damaging for her, she believes it came with unique blessings.
The name ‘Asa’ was a Yoruba nickname given to her as a young age and it means ‘hawk’
Asa attended Corona High school Lagos and went further to federal government college in Jos and moved back to Lagos to attend Lagos State University and was enrolled in the department of Theatre Arts and Music.
She got admission to study as a diploma student which required her spending about 2years but Asa spent only about a little over 6 months and then left because it was clashing with her professional musical classes at the renowned saxophonist, Peter King’s Musical School in Badagry, where she majored in Guitar studies for a year.
Aṣa’s music influences grew over the years from the collection of great music her father had built up for his work as a cinematographer.
These records featuring American, Nigerian and African soul classics, included musical greats such as Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, King Sunny Adé, Diana Ross, Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba… Asa went on to draw inspiration from them.
In 2001 she released her debut album ‘The Captivator’. After which she released two other albums ‘Asa’ and ‘Beautiful Imperfections’ that got her labeled best female vocalist in Africa. Her remarkable debut and sophomore albums have been internationally certified platinum and gold respectively.
In 2004 Aṣa met her manager and friend, Janet Nwose, who introduced her to Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, who in turn became the producer of her first studio album Asa (Asha).
Asa returned to France at the age of 20 to study at the IMFP school of Jazz music, where she was told by teachers that she should go ahead and become a recording artist because she was ready and needed no schooling. Back in Nigeria, her first single, “Eyé Adaba,” was beginning to get airplay. Aṣa soon signed to Naïve Records.
She partnered with Cobhams, and with the new involvement of Christophe Dupouy and Benjamin Constant, she produced her first platinum selling self-titled album, Aṣa. The release of the album saw Aṣa charting radios across Europe, Asia and Africa and went on win the prestigious French Constantin Award in 2008, where she was voted best fresh talent of 10 singers or groups by a jury of 19 music-industry specialists in Paris.
Her second album, Beautiful Imperfection in collaboration with a French composer Nicolas Mollard, was released on 25 October 2010, went platinum in 2011. The lead single from Beautiful Imperfection is titled “Be My Man” was released in late September 2010.
Asa’s third studio album, Bed of Stone, was released in August 2014. The lead singles are “Dead Again”, “Eyo”, “Satan Be Gone” and “The One That Never Comes”. She went on a world tour from 2015 to 2017.
- Eyé Adaba
- Fire on the Mountain
- The Way I Feel
- Ba Mi Dele
- Dead Again
- Satan Be Gone
- The Captivator (2001)
- Aṣa (Asha) – 2007
- Live in Paris (2009 with Keziah Jones)
- Beautiful Imperfection (2010)
- Bed of Stone (2014)
- 2008: Prix Constantin
- 2008: Recording of the year, Headies Award
- 2008: Album of the year, Headies Awards
- 2006: Next rated, Headies Awards
In 2013, singer Asa was reported to be a lesbian while her manager, Janet Nwose, was her alleged lover. Asa debunked the tales stating that she is not lesbian and sued media house that reported the story for libel.
She described as malicious statements against them, adding that the alleged defamatory statement was calculated to discredit and malign them in their ‘unblemished’ career as international music artists with high moral standing, which they have consistently conveyed in their songs.
Asa is known for keeping her personal life very private. In 2015, the France-based singer revealed to Funmi Iyanda that she lost her virginity at 28.
She said, “I never wanted to date any artiste. On the day I lost my virginity, I called my manger, Janet to tell her and she was surprised that I was a very late starter. I also called my mum and she didn’t have any advice, she said, “it will be painful at first’, and I was there wondering what she was saying.
“I am ashamed to say I lost my virginity at 28, so don’t clap for me. Perhaps one of the reasons why I lost my virginity that late was because I was shy and somewhere else where I was too focused on my career that I didn’t even think about having sex.”
She also discussed other personal details, which you can find in the interview below
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