Inspired by her Nigerian roots, Aadae‘s vibrant and eclectic mix of Afrobeat, R&B, electro-pop and soul is like a carnival of colour for the ears.

The South London singer has released a string of dizzying singles, but latest ‘Fly Free’ raises an already sky-high bar with an intoxicating groove and vivid production, recalling the likes of M.I.A. and Santigold.

Before Aadae brings soaring new material to Hidden Herd Presents at The Finsbury on Friday 21st February, we caught up with her to talk influences, new music tips and more.

How would you describe Aadae to a stranger?

“I would describe myself as a curator of melancholic Afrobeat pop music that sits in between British and West African culture. The music I make is a direct reflection of my identity and tells my experience of growing up in London and my connection to Nigerian culture.”

Who are the biggest influences on your sound and why?

“Fela Kuti – Growing up at home, Fela Kuti was a staple in my Dad’s record collection. We listened to his music a lot and in some ways, this was one of my first introductions to West African music as a whole. My favourite Fela song is ‘Water Get No Enemy’ – I always felt so connected to Nigerian culture through his music. For me, it was very natural to draw from Afrobeat – it was such a big part of my childhood.

Santigold – I have been a massive Santigold fan for as long as I can remember. She was one of the first black women I saw embrace such an eclectic sound and draw influence from such a range of cultures. I have always felt her approach to music was so versatile and wanted to shape the music I make in a similar way.

Erykah Badu – Erykah Badu’s music and image has had a huge impact on how I see myself as a black woman within music. The album ‘Baduizim’ was one of the first times I saw an artist unapologetically embrace an African aesthetic and in such a soulful way – till this day I try to infuse some of that magic into my own sound and look.”

What was the best gig you’ve played so far?

“I have played so many amazing gigs but the best one has to be my headline show at Bermondsey Social Club. I was lucky enough to have a 7-piece band to jam with. I just remember the energy I felt from the crowd and the energy I gave back – it was the most explosive exchange!”

You’re based in London – what’s your local music scene like?

“I feel really fortunate to live in London because there is always something on. I actually spend most of my time in Peckham (where I grew up). Right now I feel it is a real cultural hub for so many different types of music and there are so many different places in Peckham to see bands and artists play. One of my favourite places to hang out is Rye Wax – it actually doubles up as a record shop, but they always have really cool artists and DJs play there. There are also other venues like Bussey Building, CLF Arts Cafe, Peckham Levels, Peckham Audio and recently a couple of rooftop bars have set up shop too where you can see DJs play.”

Who are the THREE other new artists we should listen to right now and why?

“Obongjayar – He has a fresh take on Afro-consciousness which is finding its way into his music – think lo-fi, jazzy funk with afrobeat sensibilities.

TSHA – Ultimate chill vibe meets worldbeat = ultimate chill vibe.

Shygirl – Hands down one of the coolest artists around – hard to put into a box and that’s why I find her music so freeing.”

And finally, what does 2020 hold for Aadae?

“This year is gonna be full of new music and fresh ideas. In the last year, I did a lot of exploring and now I feel that I am fast approaching that place where I feel ready to share what I have been thinking and feeling.”

Aadae will play Hidden Herd Presents at The Finsbury on Friday 21st February alongside AWATE, Sans Soucis and Steven Bamidele. Free tickets are available via DICE and Eventbrite.