From Press here
(Mercer Street Records; January 27th, 2009)
The debut album of culturally conscious singer-songwriter Asa (pronounced Ah-shah) paints a vivid landscape rich in history and deep in its influences. Born in Paris but transplanted to Nigeria where she would spend the remainder of her childhood and adolescence, Asa returned to her birthplace in 2004 and immersed herself in the music of the city. The result is a collection of provocative and savvy songs that are as strikingly personal as they are collectively universal. The debut, simply titled Asa, will be released on Downtown Records’ new imprint Mercer St. Records in early 2009. The label, Mercer Street, was created as a vibrant outlet for eclectic adult-oriented and world music artists.
Asa’s ambitious album turns heads in every country it hits. In France, it debuted at No. 1 on the digital charts and has reached Gold, selling over 100k copies. In England, Asa has performed on Jools Holland, graced the cover of Music Week, and had her record played as the “Spotlight Artist” on Good Morning Sunday on BBC2 and “Record of the week” on BBC1 Xtra Mista Jam Show. Now, with her guitar in hand, Asa has her sights on the US.
The story of Asa begins in Lagos, Nigera where she found a home in her father’s extensive and eclectic collection of records that ran the gamut from soul classics to traditional Nigerian music. Starting to sing at a young age, Asa was inspired by the sounds and messages of artists such as Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey who served as touchstones when she later began crafting her own songs. It wasn’t until she was studying in Paris that she truly formed her musical style, immersing herself in the songs of her musical contemporaries – Erika Badu, D’Angelo, Rafel Saadiq, Lauryn Hill and Angelique Kidjo.
During a 6-week period in Lagos in 2007, Asa went into the studio with Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, a well known Nigerian blind multi-instrumentalist, to record her record. Asa returned to Paris to test her talent and new songs on the French music scene. Meanwhile, her first singles started getting airplay in Nigeria. By the time she returned home, MTV had chosen her as the ambassador for South Africa and she was opening for Akon, John Legend, Beyonce and Snoop Dogg amongst others.
With reggae, soul, jazz and pop music as touchstones, Asa crafts protest music that calls not only for change in society as a whole, but for personal change. Featuring impeccable percussion, a funky Hammond organ, reggae-infused bass and contributions from celebrity flautist Magic Malik, Asa’s debut album is an impressive collection of melodic songs. Track “Jailer,” is a standout- a song about the irony of oppression and “Fire In The Mountain” is perhaps one of the most candid and politically charged songs on the album- a reggae and folk infused metaphor for an ignorant and indifferent world commenting on the conflicts we neglect and the disparity on our doorstep that goes unnoticed.
It seems there is no better time for Asa to take her place on the world stage. Stirring, captivating, uplifting, beautiful, infectious, and thought provoking, Asa’s debut is an inspired collection worthy of a position along side the greats in her father’s record collection that sparked Asa journey into music.
Preceding the release of her full-length album, Asa will be releasing an iTunes only exclusive EP on November 18th entitled Acoustic Live In Tokyo which was recorded in early June 2008 at the venue Laforet Harajuku.
Asa track listing in full:
1. Jailer 6. Eye Adaba
2. 360° 7. No One Knows
3. Bibanke 8. Awe
4. Subway 9. Peace
5. Fire On The Mountain 10. So Beautiful
Acoustic Live In Tokyo track listing in full:
1. 360 4.
No One Knows