If Nola Ade’s music evokes a little more emotion, if her voice inspires and motivates you in ways you’ve never experienced, know that it is not an accident. Through a journey of self-exploration, this Nigerian-American songbird has come to discover that the purpose behind her gift as an artist is to help her audience find themselves and understand joy as she knows it. Her forthcoming sophomore EP Royal and its title lead single are the embodiment of that purpose, at once a celebration of Nola’s journey as it is a reminder for others to celebrate all that is royal within themselves.
The six-track EP is a bright collection of ballads and mid-tempo songs celebrating love and championing empowerment, with Nola Ade harnessing her vulnerability to create what can only be described as a vibe. Royal also immerses fans in the singer’s signature AfroSoul style as a cohesive project for the first time, balancing contemporary R&B vocal arrangements with Afrobeats-inspired production. From the hopeful “Heaven” to “Girlfriend,” a sunny ode to new love, to the inspirational “Children of Freedom (We Are),” Nola manipulates her honey-coated voice, traversing a full range of octaves equally on tracks to bring listeners through a full range of emotions.
Following the release of her 2016 debut EP The Love Dance, which she classifies as a complete Soul/R&B/Pop project, the Chicago native began crafting a sound of her own - one that incorporates both her Nigerian heritage and African-American upbringing, as previously showcased on singles like “W.A.Y.N.” and “Make Move.” Citing influences ranging from Chrisette Michelle, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jazmine Sullivan to jazzy Nigerian singers Asa, Tiwa Savage, and Yemi Alade, Nola strikes a balance that lives squarely in both worlds. Her songs deliver soulful R&B vocal arrangements over contemporary Afrobeats production, making her music feel familiar and innovative. So much so, Nola has already caught the attention of superstars receiving accolades from John Legend and Syleena Johnson with her #RoyaltyCovers on Instagram. She’s covered hits from Drake’s “Find Your Love” to Toni Braxton’s “He Wasn’t Man Enough” as an ode to those who have influenced her.
In the years since The Love Dance, Nola Ade has honed her skills as both a songwriter and singer, establishing this genre-bending sound and as a performer who continues to introduce R&B and world music fans to her unique creative energy through live performances. Nola has shared stages with Bilal, Dailey, Mali Music, Omah Lay, and Tems and continues to showcase smaller regional performance spaces as well.
Music has been a vital part of Nola Ade’s life for as long as she can remember. It was a cornerstone of the Nigerian church community her family belonged to and quickly became something the young artist developed a personal relationship with. Nola’s first taste of performing and even recording music came in elementary school when she joined the gospel choir at her school. By the fourth grade, she was often spotlighted as a soloist and would continue to build on her vocal repertoire and stage presence as part of the choir through the eighth grade; by that point, it was clear that she had found her passion and her calling. However, as a first-generation Nigerian-American, Nola also felt she had a promise to fulfill to her parents. And so she continued to nurture her passion while making her way through college and eventually law school. As a bonus, she feels her law degree has given her the confidence to make the boldest of choices as an artist, knowing she has a career to fall back on.
But Nola Ade has no intention of needing a backup plan and shows no sign of stopping. With Royal set to build on her growing musical legacy, Nola is also setting her sights on Hollywood. “I want to be known as a dope artist who can act her butt off, like really, really act,” she declares. “I want to be known as somebody that works hard, and my ethic shows off.” Until then, Nola Ade will continue to touch every stage as she brings love, light, and positive energy to every musical space she touches.