“Have you heard about this girl?”, Daniel, my friend asked, as he reached for his phone to play a song by a new artist who had him impressed; he felt I would like the song too. The smooth-textured sound of “when would you bless me, Lord please let me know/ I go dey halla o one day girls go blow…” opened the song. At about 9 seconds into it, I already had an impression; but I was searching my thoughts for a moment in the past when I heard the line: “girls go blow.”
Then it dawned on me, “GoodGirlLA!” I had interviewed her some days earlier. “Bless Me” was unreleased at the time, but she had mentioned it during our chat along with her other plans for 2019, which includes putting out videos and releasing her debut project – an Extended Playlist (EP) that would not be limited in context. More than just the usual fun in the music, she intends to touch on educational and pressing life subjects. Although GoodGirlLA is not a full-blown activist like Falz, she will address social issues in her own way as well.
“That is what music should be about”, she said, as we discussed the relevance of conscious music. “I like the process of music making to be very real and very pure”. “If the police stops me today and I am really angry, I am going to sing about that”. She then said, “in fact, it has happened”. She didn’t share the story though; perhaps she would, maybe through music, hopefully on one of the songs on her EP. “I really have songs like that… so watch out for the EP”.
While Falz is the elite Nigerian music activist and Simi’s persona is that of a sweet charming next-door neighbour, GoodGirlLA looks to own the image of the average Nigerian girl. “If you come from America and you want to have an idea of what’s going through the mind of an average Nigerian girl, who would you listen to?”. Truly, Rihanna seems to model the character of girls in the United States, there’s also Rita Ora doing that in the United Kingdom. Is there any such artist around?
To the average young Nigerian girl, romance, fun and hope are usually interest subjects; and these are ideas you hear in GoodGirlLA’s music. She wraps her creative thoughts around these subjects. An example is ‘Faraway’ – her 2018 radio hit which centred on a longing for an elusive love; it is easy to guess that the thoughts stemmed from her brooding over an experience she had with a boy. Similarly, romance is at the centre of her next single ‘Fantasy’. Its groovy sound structure makes it the kind of music that fits the mood at Lagos house parties and at clubs where a chilled ambience is required.
The GoodGirlLA on “Bless Me” comes with newness; the tone of invocation in the song has a different feel; it is a side to her music that will appeal to dreamers, hustlers and the many soldiers of destiny scattered across the country, particularly ladies who can choose to make a mantra out of lines like “girls go blow”. GoodGirlLA admits that she preaches the gospel of hope and possibility for women. “I am all about girl power”, she said, naming Beyoncé as a role model. “My main energy and inspiration come from Beyoncé. She is challenging the status quo and paving a way for black women around the world. I find that very inspiring. I’d like to be that figure in Nigeria, to inspire young girls to be who they want to be, to go for what they want, and break down doors”.
Already, young girls with ambition that are different from the designs of their parents can find inspiration in GoodGirlLA’s story. The promising singer dropped out of school, where she was taking a course in the medical line, to pursue her dreams of making music professionally, against tough instruction from her father who, initially, pulled out of her life in disagreement with her career choice. Her mother too had to accept her daughter’s heady decision, saying “just make sure that when you do it (music), you succeed”, in the tone of an African mother when they aren’t too sure about something.
The promised fishes at the end of the sea are starting to in sight for GoodGirlLA, who is now rated amongst the best talents around, with impressive materials like collaborations with Terry Tha Rapman and Peruzzi. “I wasn’t expecting the kind of feedback I am getting; at least not this early. But that’s how I know it (my dream) is working”. She hinted at more of such materials, but as usual, she wouldn’t say with who – she prefers that they are revealed in time. The evidence of joy and fulfilment was in her eyes, as she spoke about her rebellious decision to be a musician; and her reason is quite convincing: “I knew that in the end if I do not do what I love, I will hate myself. You only get one life so why not just live?”.
Her goals are simple – typical of youths in the line of art. “I want to build a career out of my passion. I want to be able to get my mom a house in a couple of years. I want to have left a legacy in the end. I want to have my name stamped everywhere.”
This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets