I’d forgive you if you’ve never heard of Deena Ade. The nu soul chanteuse has been pretty low key as far as creating a public brand goes, though she isn’t in hiding or anything, she’s largely let the graphic album covers and her voice do all the work for her. It is a fairly understandable approach for female musicians who do not want to be sexualized before their music finds its audience; the British Nu Soul singer H.E.R managed to release two critically received EP’s without so much as a single picture out in the interwebs, and there is a singer literally called NoName. With how badly women in the music industry are sexualized, this is a way for them to take back the power.
Deena Ade definitely has the musical chops to get away with this, as her entire repertoire of singles has seen her explore different niche genres. But it seems she finally ready to dabble in Afro-pop again (the last time she did was on her EP). Melo, her new single is easy on the ears and heavy on the sexualized imagery. Teaming up with BeatSmith who delivers a svelte instrumental with a heavy midi-drum loop, 90’s bass drops and a electronic flourishes, Deena convinces us she’s never been with anyone like the song’s protagonist.
Deena has never been shy to explore sex and sexuality through her lyrics so its a bit of a segue to see her dial back the sexual innuendo on Melo and stick entirely to an abstract exploration of love. Well almost, she sneakily slides in a line about nipples and white shirts, if you’re so inclined.
Deena Ade is the truth and you’d be remiss to sleep on her.
Listen to “Melo” here.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.