It was Virginia Woolf, the preeminent feminist scholar, who, in 1929, wrote a book titled A Room of One’s Own, where she negotiated for both a literal and figurative space for women’s writers within a literary tradition dominated by men. In 2019, 90 years after, Deena Ade seems to be living her dreams, in a room of her own, so to speak.
Singer, rapper, songwriter, producer and sound engineer, beautiful Deena Ade was born and raised in London by conscious Yoruba parents who were to bring her back to Nigeria where she got immersed in the rich heritage that is Yoruba culture. While in Nigeria, she got steeped in Fuji and Juju music and a combination of Nigerian and Western style R&B. She returned to London in 2008 for her tertiary education and formerly returned to Nigeria in 2017 after obtaining a degree in International Politics from the University of East London.
A practicing humanist, Deena believes in the equality of all men and women and approaches people and issues, not from gender prisms, but from the vantage point of humanism, which she insists has helped her to become a better person in a world filled with hate and gender bias. A modern example of the can-do spirit, Deena is all things to herself and, regarding music, does for herself, the very things that the lack of them may discourage an upcoming artist to ever want to try music. Hear her: “I do almost everything by myself. As an upcoming and living in a country where structures are missing, structures that could help you expedite the processes of becoming the very star you crave for; you may have no other option than to do it yourself. So, currently, I’m signed to myself, I produce myself, record myself, mix and master my myself and I’m doing my managerial and PR duties myself, not because I am all knowing, but because of lack of adequate funds, a situation I won’t allow to weigh me down.
On how and when she started music, Deena traces her current growth and position to her younger days when she always sought for ways to entertain people and make them happy: “I have always been a performer as a youngster, so it was easy to transform. I recall when I was ten and in London, I would seek out the contact of record labels and call to inform them that I want to be a musician. So they’d always ask me for my demo, but because I had none, I’d always drop the call and start imagining the day I’d be able to do proper music that people would hearken to. I guess that’s what I’m doing now; living my dreams.
She noted that her music is basically a protest kind of music which she realizes with any genre she wishes to deal on at that time. Though she’s currently assembling R&B sounds, Deena believes she could use her unique sound to promote the cause of the Girl Child, Rural/Urban Women Empowerment and general human condition, noting that music is what it is because it allows for the addressing of social concerns.
On how she came about her name, she fails to pin it to a particular epoch, observing that her real name is Medina, while her father’s name is Ademola, “it was when I got used to being called Deena that I added my father’s Ade to get Deena Ade. She sees herself being a reckonable artist in the nearest future and vows to go down in history as the first female Nigerian recording artists to win a Grammy.
The world is set to feel the storm and breathe of fresh air Deena promises to bring upon Nigeria’s musical space with her incredibly unique sound. Let’s make a toast to Deena Ade.
This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike