In 2010, we met Angélique Kidjo in her Brooklyn home for a chat about her inspirations and childhood. Leafing through a stack of pictures, the Beninoise star discussed the importance of family, her thoughts on hairdos, and her album Oyo, an ode to the beauty of art and the essence of being.
She recounts her formative years admiring the talent and beauty of African divas such as the Togolese singer Bella Bellow, and the South African superstar Miriam Makeba. She actually loved Miriam’s songs to the point of singing them in her sleep. Even though raised in a French-speaking country, she talks about the importance of African-American artists. At first, unable to understand the song’s lyrics, she would make up her own words. Despite the barrier of language, she was overwhelmed by their emotional impact, and could not resist embracing music and dance from James Brown to Soul Train.
Dig into this two-part interview to learn more secrets behind the success of one of Africa’s most recognizable voices.