Nigerian-American artist Yinka unveils her debut project titled ‘Let’s Get Romantic’ and showers the world with an unexpected gift. Just under the length of 7 passionate tracks preceded by a mesmerising visualizer for song ‘Two Weeks’, the self-proclaimed “Alternative Lover girl Pop” singer is able to fully win us over and convince listeners, that love still exists. Perhaps what is most astonishing is the profound message behind her music.
Born in Benue, Nigeria, the starlet quickly developed a strong passion for music and self-composed her first song at the age of 7. In hopes of a better quality of life and an abundance of academic opportunities, her family relocated to the busy city of New York where she received most of her formal education. Against her parents’ wishes, Yinka decided to head to Los Angeles right after graduating from university, in pursuit of a full-time music career. One could say that her efforts finally paid off as she was then recruited by Platoon (a label responsible for the rise of superstars like Ayra Starr and Teni) and moved several music enthusiasts such as Adekunle Gold with her unique sound.
Yinka can only be described as a breath of fresh air in the alternative R&B atmosphere. With an embracive yet seductive style of artistic expression, right between the likes of American singer-songwriters Jhené Aiko’s spiritual lyric content and SZA’s edgy vocal performance, the Nigerian-American vocalist would fall under this honourable bracket. Her differentiating factor; however, is the richness within her heritage, which enables her to gain an international reach. Opposed to the commercial narrative of female energy and an oversaturated music market that prioritises toxicity and vulgar ideologies of a healthy relationship, Yinka focuses on embracing pure love through oneself, a partner and the physical world.
We were delighted when Yinka reached out and gave us the opportunity to have an early listen. As part of our gratitude, we gathered our thoughts in a variety of angles to describe and share the experience of first listening to the well sought-after project ‘Let’s Get Romantic’.
Yinka reminds us all of what it feels like to fall in love for the very first time with her opening single ‘Two Weeks’. We’ve all been in a similar situation before, where one displays such strong feelings for someone in a short period of time. Everything feels perfect and one has fallen blind to the dangers of love. It is one of the greatest human experiences and Yinka was able to capture the special moment so well, chanting throughout the song with her soft voice and clean delivery. The starlet creates a great follow-up between the chorus and verses by slowing the pace, which gives out this feeling as if time had frozen.
Her mind is made up; “You’re now my favourite person” and she questions herself constantly; “Why do we fit so perfectly?” With the combination of nostalgia and vulnerability, Yinka is able to penetrate her listeners’ dearest memories, at a time where one was still new to the feeling of love and could be shared with someone through purity and innocence. Although the song is short and concise, it is a great way to introduce her project and overall her message is clear; love those you care about unconditionally and always express your thoughts with an open heart.
Let’s Get Romantic
The perfect balance in harmonising and serenading was established on the track ‘Let’s Get Romantic’. At this point, it has become apparent that Yinka is following a storyline and she has reached a level in her relationship where she feels comfortable enough to showcase her love through physical touch. The Nigerian-American singer finds a way; however, to do it in such an elegant manner with lyrics like; “Do you like love letters?” and “Speaking my love language” to woo her partner away. Similarly to the previous song, Yinka continues to explore the layers of her newly found love beyond detailing words and instead, unveils her feelings through a heavenly vocal performance.
At this stage in her love story, Yinka has transformed her sweet shyness into a more fun yet explosive force of energy. What’s interesting is that she's evidently in control of the situation which was not necessarily the case in the song ‘Two Weeks.’ Not only does she demonstrate a jump in confidence but also, she has become an empowered feminist, who’s one with herself and therefore, able to share her devoted self-love with others however she pleases. This could be through sexual liberation or her romantic capacities yet to be fully discovered. Click here to watch the captivating visuals for the track
Die Loving You
What can be interpreted as a relationship that was set in stone, ‘Die Loving You’ is a promise for unconditional love regardless of the obstacle. Like any phenomenon in life, love has its ups and downs. It can be sunshine and butterflies one day and heavy rain the next one. Until then, we were not introduced to the downside of a long-term relationship and although Yinka chose to keep all details to herself, she acknowledges “What we have isn’t perfect, it’s worth the fights” moreover, “Even when there’s darkness, you’re the light.”
This chapter of her story is of great importance because Yinka is leading by example. In many cases, most people would have turned bitter and maybe even disrespectful towards their significant other out of hurt; however, Yinka recognizes that they’re both just humans. In a music environment where artists enjoy romanticising toxicity and deliberately insult the opposite sex, the Benue-born singer chooses to remain kind instead, and tackles the hardship in a loving angle.
In this section of the project, the mood has changed and it is much more dark yet mature, where one could assume that her love life has faced some challenges detrimental to the outcome. Yinka makes proof of undoubtedly loyalty by explaining that she’s ready for anything just to keep this connection going. It may be difficult at times but, Yinka is convinced that this love is meant to last forever.
Yinka creates a dance anthem with her 6th track from the project ‘Red Dress.’ It is rare to come across a song that makes you both want to dance and sing along to captivating lyrics. Her intentions are to be seductive and daring with lyrics; “I show him something he won’t forget” and “I got you addicted.” The red dress symbolises confidence and physical attractiveness in a festive environment to whomever Yinka meets on the dance floor.
We could imagine that the Los Angeles based artist is seeking to let loose on this song, freeing herself from the shackles of society and how a confident woman may be portrayed. A woman can be both sexy and also, modest. She can enjoy the company of men, while dancing in the middle of the party by herself. The looks and stares by the partygoers because of her extravagant dress doesn’t define her and instead, she invites them for a night to remember.
On the last track ‘Flowers’, Yinka has found the courage to be fully invested in herself. The peace within her, “Even in my loneliest hours,” is unbreakable and attainable without the need of materials to fill in the void.
At first, one may believe that she’s speaking to a specific individual but, we presume that these are words Yinka would tell herself in front of the mirror or while praying to God. Its spiritual and moving sound wraps the listeners’ ears into a space of healing and self-acceptance. What can be concluded is Yinka is no longer in search of someone else to feel complete and she finds her own company sufficient. With this mindset, she is filled with joy regardless of her relationship status and less likely to compromise parts of herself just to please her partner’s needs.
Yinka had the following to say;
“African music is not one dimensional.” She elaborates; “the world needs to open their musical palettes to the talented African artists that aren’t part of the status quo.”
What one could take away from this short yet sweet listening experience is that Yinka is a star in the making. Love is at the centre of her universe and it stands out at every chance she gets. Rather than following music trends and relying to be the loudest in the room, Yinka prefers to remain true to herself and gives her fans a project worth every second of anticipation. The R&B vocalist only shares with the listeners what comes out naturally to her and although her music style is simplistic, it doesn't decrease the level of quality and purpose behind this project.
Yinka speaks to an audience who has just experienced their very first love and are evolving into themselves which comes with trials and tribulations. She teaches that the road to self-love is rocky and one can bump into walls every now and then but, as long as you’re willing to keep going, it is worth every step of the way. We can expect her debut album to come next and maybe allow listeners to a deeper dive into the magical world of Yinka.