By Stefan Walczak
The new album from hip-hop/soul singer Nneka drops like raindrops on your consciousness. The upbeat and fresh songwriting that goes into Soul Is Heavy is an album to be listened to in all types of weather, and Nneka’s album sets a mood that rests close to the heart.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Nneka developed a clear passion for singing at an early age when she became involved both in the school and church choirs. At the age of 18, after moving to Hamburg, Germany, Nneka began to pursue a professional career in singing. Since then, she has released an EP and three full-length albums including Soul Is Heavy.
Although Nneka’s singing style doesn’t immediately recall the genre of hip-hop, she cites hip-hop as one of her chief influences in her singing, and it becomes clearer the further in her music that you get. “God Knows Why”, the only clear hip-hop sounding song on the album, features Black Thought, the lead singer/rapper of The Roots. Even still, the rest of the songs on the album have plenty of hip-hop/soul flavor, and Nneka’s got a whole lot to share on this release, as she sings about her experiences with love, home, God and the devil among other things.
Soul Is Heavy opens with “Lucifer (No Doubt)”, a modern jazz standard with a New Orleans vibe, as Nneka’s voice soars over the bubbly and electronic instrumentation. The conviction in her words speak volumes and it becomes apparent she puts a lot of herself at the core of her songs, as she sings about the never ending struggle to be at peace with herself. Other notable tracks include “Sleep”, “Don’t Even Think” and the self-titled song “Soul Is Heavy”. If you have ever heard of Nneka before, or are a fan of women soul singers, her newest is definitely worth checking out!