Maradona, the one song many have been thanking Shazam for, is without a doubt one of the biggest soundtracks for the summer of 2017. And the fact that the sultry vocals were delivered in Yoruba by an almost unknown Nigerian artist proved irrelevant. The song bangs, it’s a hit. The girl snapped on the vocals, so we are keeping her.
Maradona first came to our attention at a baby shower afterparty after everyone had agreed that something more upbeat was now needed to toss the girls into a groove.
And as a collective, we unanimously decided to entrust the proverbial deck romping duties to a friend from Pretoria – the heart of house music in the land. This time her crowd winning strategy was amplified by her introduction of Niniola’s banger, a bop we would repeat into midnight because it was just that addictive!
We are excited to have caught up with Niniola to chat about her success, her debut album and what’s next on her radar.
Q: Your single Maradona has been one of the biggest summer smashes in South Africa. Being a Nigerian artist, were you surprised by your breakthrough success here?
Niniola: (Smiles) … Honestly, I was and I am still in shock because I released that song in March 2017 and it was a Hit in Nigeria and other parts of the world. But you see the second South Africa got on the vibe it became reborn and became a new single, topping charts in a country I have always dreamt to visit and all.
Honestly, no words will ever be enough to express how I feel about South Africa and the love they have shown me. And right now I can’t wait to visit.
Q: With all the buzz, do you have any plans of touring South Africa anytime soon.
Niniola: LOL, Of course! As we speak I already have my visa and my bags are packed, I am just waiting for my management to say “ok NINIOLA you can go” lol
Q: Tell us more about how the song came about?
Niniola: Okay, so I went to my producer SARZ who is actually the BEST ever lol, and I told him “yo I need to put out a single, what do you have?” He started making the beat. Minutes into it we were already feeling it and my Manager said to me, ‘That’s your single’.
And when he was done I stood up and vibed. I said some words and he said ‘that’s it, that’s your chorus “OH MARADONA”…And that was how the song came about lol.
Q: With a hit single and a debut album, what has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Niniola: Actually, the proudest moments of my career has been on stage – The joy I get when I am performing and the whole crowd is singing along… It’s such as awesome feeling to think that the little girl who just started is doing all these.
To have topped charts, performed on big stages and all Is something to be proud about…And I owe it all to GOD.
Q: Your debut album, This Is Me, fuses a few sounds and influences, bouncing between afro-house, a touch of Rnb, afrobeats and some dancehall. How would you describe your sound?
Niniola: My root sound/genre is Afro-House, but because I am versatile. I tend to find myself doing a little Pop/RnB/dancehall and all. That’s why the album was titled “This Is Me” so that people get to experience me and see what I can do. *wink
Q: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Niniola: Oh, the list is endless! Dolly Parton, Shakira, Kenny Rogers, Whitney Houston, Angelique Kidjo, Toni Braxton, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade etc.
Q: Which artist/s would be your dream collaborations?
Niniola: lol ah plenty o…Beyonce, Rihanna, Angelique Kidjo, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson (but they are late now RIP)…A lot o can’t even remember them all lol.
Q: What’s next on Niniola’s radar?
Niniola: Oh for now pushing the album, releasing of more videos off the album, touring, working with different artists as we aim for the Grammys lol.
Niniola’s debut album This Is Me is out now. Get it on iTunes