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Nigerian Singer Nneka Melds Sweet Melodies And Social Messages

The New Now

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Nigerian singer Nneka,28, has made a big impression with her recent U.S. debut "Concrete Jungle."

Her mixture of rhythmic melodies, occasional raps,underlying social messages, and acoustic guitar has drawn comparisons to LaurynHill, Tracy Chapman, and Mos Def.

When she was 18 she moved to Germany and studied Anthropologywhile working on her music.

Before "Concrete Jungle," Nneka released two other albums,2005's "Victim of Truth," and 2008's "No Longer at Ease," released in Germany,England, France, Netherlands, Nigeria, and Japan.

Nneka's songwriting feels effortless in the sense that herlyrics are conversational and on the surface appear to discuss relationshipmatters.

She sings about the beauty of her homeland on "From Africa 2U." On "Mind vs. Heart" she comes to terms with learning lessons of the heart.And "Come With Me" sounds like a stripped-down lovers quarrel.

Nneka "Come With Me" Performance at Yahoo! Music
@ Yahoo! Video

On the latter, Nneka's voice beam as she strums her guitar: 

"Come let us be truthful, surrender our pride."

"Our love is hate, our smiles are fake."

"Take my body, take my hands ... But not my experience."

Her voice is soft, yet confident. Her singing style pullsyou in.

Her approach is so soothing that you can easily miss thedeeper message if you give her a cursory listen.

In an interview with the BBC, Nneka discussed theinspiration behind "Come With Me."

"'Come' is about hypocrisy," she explained. "First of all,it's about me, myself, being a hypocrite at times, trying to make the worldbelieve that I am something that I am not and knowing the truth about myself."

This admission comes as a surprise because in all honesty,nothing about Nneka appears deceiving. She isn't an artist who wears couture, layers of make up, and excessivejewelry to live up to the rock star persona.

Though she is attractive, her image is quite average, andher music is more soul-wrenching than commercial.

But it is this type of expression of vulnerability that hasconnected with her fans.

We were fortunate to catch a live, private dose of her energywhen she stopped by the Yahoo! Music offices to play a couple songs, theaforementioned "Come To Me," and one of her rare love songs, "Valley."

Check them out, but be sure to give her your thorough,undivided attention. We'd hate for you to miss the message.

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