Yemi Alade: From Searching For Johnny To The Admirable ‘Mama Africa’

Yemi Alade: From Searching For Johnny To The Admirable ‘Mama Africa’

Since Yemi Alade endeared herself to many music lovers with Johnny in 2014, she has gone to even greater heights to build a reputation as one of Africa’s most respected and recognised music stars.


Aside from being a talented singer, dancer and entertainer, Yemi Alade’s ability to sing in multiple languages has also stood her out in the African music space. Not many African music artistes can boast of effortlessly singing in multiple local and foreign languages, Yemi Alade, fondly called Mama Africa, sings in Yoruba, English, Igbo, French, Portuguese, Pidgin, and Swahili.


Although an indigene of Ondo State, Yemi Alade was born in Abia State on March 13, 1989. Her father, James Alade, a police commissioner, is of Yoruba descent, while her mother, Helen Uzoma, is Igbo. Alade studied at Victory Grammar School, Ikeja, and earned a degree from the University of Lagos (UNILAG). It was during her days at UNILAG that she got her first shot at fame after winning the Peak Talent Show in 2009. After the competition, she was signed to Effyzzie Music Group.


On October 2, 2014, she released her debut album, King of Queens, which included the hit single “Johnny”. The song surpassed over 130 million views on YouTube. The album also featured other singles, including “Kissing”, “Tangerine” and “Taking Over Me.”


In March 2016, she released her second album, “Mama Africa’’ which included the hit songs: “Na Gode”, “TumBum” and “Ferrari”. Yemi Alade collaborated with other African artistes for songs in the album, including Nigerian duo P-Square, Kenyan band Sauti Sol, Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie, and Ivorian singer late DJ Arafat.


Alade told The Fader that her goal was “to capture all of Africa on one CD.” The same year, “Mama Africa” was named the Worldbeat Album at the 2016 Independent Music Awards.


On December 15, 2017, Yemi Alade released her third album “Black Magic” which comprises songs like “You”, “Single & Searching” and “Mon Lo” For her fourth music album, “Woman of Steel” released on August 30, 2019, Yemi Alade collaborated with American rapper Rick Ross, Nigerian musician Duncan Mighty, Grammy award-winning star Angélique Kidjo, and Nigerian actress Funke Akindele. In her songs, she added elements of R&B and highlife.

Yemi Alade: From Searching For Johnny To The Admirable ‘Mama Africa’

In 2020, Yemi Alade starred in Beyoncé’s Black Is King. In the same year, she released her 5th album, “Empress, ” with 15 tracks.


Yemi Alade’s extraordinary talent has earned several local and international recognitions, including the MTV Africa Music Awards Best Female in 2015 and 2016, The Headies Award Best Performer in 2018 and 2019. She also served as one of the coaches for The Voice Nigeria Season 2 and 3.


In July 2022, Yemi Alade was named NET Honours Class of 2022 Most Popular Female Musician, beating other singers like Simi, Tiwa Savage, Tems, and Ayra Starr.



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