It is hard to read any article about Angélique Kidjo and not be amazed by such greatness. Her mere existence is alone to remind us as Africans that there is greatness within and that we should never be hindered by circumstances around us. She is a woman who, fortunately, realized early that all other identities were not hers, making her one of the greatest acts out of the continent.
However, not so many are familiar with the singer and all her accomplishments which is why we have brought forth this article. Below are 5 amazing things you probably didn’t know about the singer.
Born Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo on the 14th of July, 1960, the Beninese singer-songwriter, and actress is one of Africa’s leading artistes. She is fluent in 5 languages; Fon, French, Yorùbá, Gen (Mina), and English and definitely sings in all of them.
Her mother is from the Yoruba land and she grew up listening to acts like Fela Kuti (King Of Afrobeat), Celia Cruz (Queen Of Salsa), and a host of others. At age 6, she started performing with her mother’s theatre troupe which gave her a taste of traditional music and dance.
Genre of Music
Angelique Kidjo style of music is influenced by; Afropop, Caribbean zouk, Congolese Rumba, Jazz, Gospel, and Latin styles.
Her trademark hairstyle is not for fashion. She had her hair shaven because keeping long hair in Europe was stressful back then. She shared that, ‘To wash & dry hair in the winter was hell, also doing this treatment was quiet expensive in Europe unlike in Africa where the ladies do it for free and fun’. Most importantly also to show how she is proud of her heritage & culture and distinguish herself from the Europeans.
Major Hit Songs
Angelique Kidjo’s world hit songs include; “Agolo“, “We We” (Burna Boy sampled this recently in his 2019 hit track “Anybody”), “Adouma“, “Wombo Lombo“, “Batonga” and “Afirika” (American singer, Alicia Keys also worked with her on this record to honour Mandela).
Grammy Awards Nominations & Wins
Angelique Kidjo has been bagging Grammys for a long time and is already a favorite of the Academy. She has a total of 9 Grammy nominations and won 4 out of the nine (9).