Nola Ade is what you would call a songstress in the true sense of the word. Her voice is like silk and her songs are embedded in love. We spoke with Nola about her gift, love, and how her background as an entertainment lawyer helps her navigate show business.
Tell everyone who you are and what you do.
Hi! I’m Nola Ade and I’m a vocalist, songwriter, and performer based in Chicago.
I was able to catch a glimpse of your awesome talent at Global Mixx this year. You mentioned that love is an ongoing theme in your music. Why is that?
I called my EP The Love Dance because of the overarching theme in all of the songs I created for this project. It talks about love in different stages, from an optimistic perspective. When I wrote these songs, I was at a stage in my life when I was really reflecting on my own love experiences, from the best times, to those times I was hurt, and then looking forward to what I hope for in the future. And, I know that my love story is a story I can use to connect with others. Because love is something that we all need. It’s something that we all are looking for. It’s something that we all have an opinion about! Regardless of your specific story, I believe music about love has the power to bring us all together. So, I chose to spread love in my music, and optimistically! This is my way of pushing to regain hope in love and love in people.
Talk about how your heritage informs your music and keeps you grounded.
I am a first generation Nigerian-American raised in the States. My heritage has played a huge role in the type of music I like to listen to, which plays a distinct role in the type of music I create. I love upbeat music in general, especially Afrobeat music, and I find that my Yoruba influence kicks in sometimes when it comes to my phrasing and my choice in how I want a song to be created. Overall, I use the influence of my culture to embody my own uniqueness, musically as well as personally. I’m grounded by the understanding of my culture because I know that where I am now, is not where it all started. I come from a lineage of strength, power, and crazy work ethic, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. Knowing this allows me to recognize that what I have is not just for me to have, but it is a gift that I should share with others. And it is a gift that can be taken away at any point, so I stay humble and work hard to give with my gift.
Who do people usually compare your sound to and why do you think they say those or that specific artist?
I have noticed that I am often compared to various artists that have a raspy, soul element to the tone of their voices. Most recently, I’ve been compared to Chrisette Michele, Jazmine Sullivan and Lauryn Hill. These are all amazing artists that were instrumental to my development as an artist too, and I am truly honored to be lumped into the same category as them by people out there.
It’s clear music is your passion, however, you are also an entertainment lawyer. How has that assisted in your growth in the industry?
Being an entertainment lawyer has helped tremendously with my knowledge in fully understanding what I am getting myself into as an artist. I understand the bigger picture of how the industry works, rather than just my own perspective as an artist. I was able to become exposed to the idea of artistry as a business versus artistry as a creative early on in my career, and I do believe that is important for any artist pursuing a career in music to understand. As a result, I feel more confident and prepared when entering into business relationships with others on my own.
What song of yours would you say is your favorite and why?
My favorite changes every once and a while, depending on how I’m feeling. But, I would say that my overall favorite is a song called “Dance.” It’s an upbeat tune that invites people to let go of things that bring them down, and to embrace love and joy in life. It’s about putting your worries behind you and just living! I think that we all have something to worry about nowadays, but if we can just have faith that everything will be all right, then it will.
What is next for you?
I’ll be performing in Chicago on Oct. 7 at the Velvet Lounge. And I just launched a radio campaign, and my song “Bittersweet” is now in rotation on Sirus XM Heart & Soul. I’m pumped for what else is to come, and people will be seeing a lot more of me from here on out. It’s truly a blessing!
What words do you have for those following their dreams?
Giving up may seem easy and practical, but know that your dream is always worth the fight! Dreams that seem silly or impossible become reality every day, but it’s up to you to visualize the possibility of it. Believe in yourself first, and others will start to believe in you too. And I know this is true because I’m living these words in my current reality.