If you are a big fan of Nigerian music, chances are you are going to be listening to some of Simisola Ogunleye’s love songs today as you celebrate Valentine day. But what do you really know about the talented singer whose voice you are going to be enjoying? Here’s everything you should know about Simi:
1. Simi was born on April 19, 1988, in Surulere, Lagos as the last of four children.
2. Simi is a big football lover and a fan of Manchester United. She told Pulse, “I think I started falling in love with the club like two or three years ago when I have any free time I watch football, I genuinely love the game because, besides Music and Love, Football is the next thing”
3. She started writing songs at the age of 10, singing at 16 and later joined her church’s teenage choir.
4. Singing has always been her passion and what she loves to do most. In an interview with The Cable, she said, “It’s like my secret language and it’s the one thing that I don’t need an incentive to do. When I’m creating music, I feel like I’m in my special place and when I’m listening to music, I feel like I can do anything. In summary, music is magic to me. I’m an Afropop/soul artiste. I like to mix sounds, ideas and languages from our culture and the culture of the west so no one is left out.”
5. Probably inspired by her church background, she released her debut album, “Ogaju” which was a gospel album in 2008.
6. In 2014, she made a pivotal career change from gospel music to secular songs, releasing her first EP, “Restless”, which had 5 tracks. They were covers of songs from popular artistes like Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” and Beyonce’s “Halo”.
7. She released the EP before the announcement that she had signed with Steve Babaeko’s X3M Music was made.
8. The A&R Manager for X3M Music, Folashade Anozie told NET, “Simi is the next big thing. She is a great addition to the X3M Music family.”
9. In 2014, she released two singles, “Tiff” and “E No Go Funny” which received good reviews from critics.
10. In 2015, she continued to grow her career and fanbase, releasing four songs including “Jamb Question” and a feature on Falz’s “Soldier”.
11. By 2016, Simi was well on her way to becoming a household name and she rode on the wave of her success to release the critically acclaimed “Love Don’t Care” that touched on matters of marriage and tribalism.
12. She also teamed up with Falz to release her second career EP, “Chemistry”. “Soldier”, one of the songs on the EP won the 2016 Headies Awards for ‘Best Collaboration’. Simi also snagged two personal Headies awards that year for her “Love Don’t Care” song.
13. She released her second studio album, “Simisola” on September 8, 2017 to much acclaim, the song debuted as No. 5 on Billboard’s World Music Album Chart. It was number 1 on Apple Music and iTunes for 3 weeks.
14. The album featured hit songs like “Joromi”, “Aimasiko”, “Smile For Me” and “Owambe”.
15. The album won her the 2018 Headies award for ‘Best Album’, ‘Best Recording of the Year’ for “Joromi” and ‘Best RnB’ for “Smile For Me”.
16. On January 9, Simi tied the knot with her longtime lover and award-winning singer, Adekunle Gold. For years, they had denied being together in a bid to keep their relationship a secret.
17. In 2017, she had told Punch, “I always like to keep my personal life away from the public. All I can say is that I am in a relationship but I just don’t want to disclose the person’s name.”
18. The couple had also worked on their music together for years. Simi is credited for mixing and mastering Adekunle Gold’s debut album, “Gold”. They’ve also released some hit songs like, “Nobody”, “By You”, “Promise”, and “Take Me Back” together.
19. She released her third and final album with X3M music, “Omo Charlie Champagne” on her birthday in April, 2019. The album was well-received.
20. She also made her acting debut in 2019 on Kunle Afolayan’s Mokalik. During a Canon private screening of the movie, Kunle talked about Simi’s role saying, “Simi’s part was not originally in my head until the writer, Tunde Babalola wrote her character into the film. I had always imagined a Simi in that role and she was able to pull it off.”
21. Later that year, in May, after 5 years with X3M Music, she finally said goodbye to the record label at the end of her contract.
22. By June 2019, she had set up her own record label called ‘Studio Brat’.
23. Under her record label, she has released some hits including, “Selense”, “Jericho” and her feature with Mr Eazi on “Doyin”.
Simi has come a long way since the gospel singer she was in 2008. She is one of the most popular and influential female musicians in Nigeria with a fan base that stands by her. Her songs are constantly topping charts and it’s clear the singer is only just starting.
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