Niniola. Picture: Tobbie Maguire Balogun

She broke into the South African market last year with her Afrohouse hit Maradona in what was quite an organic rise to fame.

She has since proven that she belongs in the spotlight, releasing follow-up singles equally as hot as Maradona and putting out an impressive debut album titled This Is Me.

TRACE sat down with Niniola for a brief chat during her time in the country to talk about her journey and future plans.

How would you describe your sound?

My root genre of music is Afrohouse and I also tend towards R&B, soul, country, traditional music etc.

Were you surprised by the response to #Maradona in SA?

Absolutely! The love from South Africa has been overwhelming and I feel so blessed to see Maradona topping the charts in the country.

What are you working on while here?

I got into the country last week and started dong media rounds, live performances and studio recording sessions.

Niniola. Picture: Tobbie Maguire Balogun

What can fans expect from you?

I’m promoting my debut album, This Is Me, and more videos for songs off the album will be dropping.

I also have exciting collaborations in the pipeline with South African acts such as Prince Kaybee, Heavy K, Maphorisa and a few others.

What has your journey over the past year been like?

My 2017 started when I dropped my first single of the year, Maradona, which was well received. I then dropped Sicker and eventually This Is Me on November 1.

How did you discover your multiple talents?

I started listening to my parents’ music records at an early age, unknowingly training my voice by mimicking the voices on the records.

I then sang and danced at high school functions and began hopping from one singing competition to another to grow.

How do you go about selecting your singles?

My team and I deliberate on what single to release.

What’s your pre-performance routine?

I pray to God, drink some water and I’m ready to go!

Do you have a personal favourite among all your projects so far?

Well, I love all my songs because they all mean different things to me so it’s difficult to say.

How do you relax?

I relax by playing cooking, doing the garden and playing games on my phone.

Who are some of your favourite new kids on the block?

There are a lot of them o and space no dey sef to even write am (There isn’t enough room for me to mention them all). But kudos to all the hard-working artistes.

What would fans be surprised to know about you?

I love food, unapologetically (laughs).

When will you be back in the country?

I’ll be back next month - I have shows during the second and last weeks of March. Southy (South Africa) is my home now!

TRACE