Artist Focus: Naira Marley
Nigerians can’t get enough of Naira Marley
Real name: Azeez Fashola Stage name: Naira Marley Date of birth: March 21 State of Origin: Lagos Nationality: Nigerian Genre: Afro Hip Hop
Fast-rising musician and songwriter, Naira Marley, never planned that he would be a singer. His focus was on being an MC and voice over artist. But fate had other plans for the young man.
He spent his early childhood in Agege area of Lagos, Nigeria and relocated to Peckham, England at the age of 11.
Despite growing up in the UK, Naira Marley kept his native Nigerian accent and that would influence his first studio recording.
He discovered his affinity for music when he accompanied some friends to the studio for a recording session.
“I paid for my mates to go to the studio cos I thought they had talent”, he recalls.
A solo track titled MARRY JUANA was recorded and his friends suggested he ‘jump on’ the track. He obliged and his verses, delivered in his thick Nigerian accent, was rated high by his friends. The song became an instant UK street jam.
His stage name, Naira Marley, was inspired by the reggae legend, Bob Marley. His hairstyle is an homage to the late star.
Naira Marley was introduced to Nigerian music fans in 2018 with a song that in some ways became the Nigerian anthem of the World Cup tournament held in Russia.
ISSA GOAL featuring Olamide and Lil Kesh became an instant hit, resonating with music and soccer fans, paving the way for the singer. The song is a fusion of party lyrics with UK funky drum patterns.
As he rose to prominence, the music artist became embroiled in controversy.
On May 10, 2019, Naira Marley was arrested at Lekki, Lagos for his comments showing support for the internet fraudsters commonly called ‘Yahoo Boys’. He was taken to court, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him. He was released shortly afterward.
Naira Marley has proven and is still proving that he is not a one-hit-wonder with hit tracks like OPOTOYI and SOAPY.
His musical influence is clearly seen in the introduction of the accepted ‘soapy dance’. Though criticized by other singers and dancers for its suggestive nature, the soapy dance has become widely accepted by fans.
Naira Marley continues to rise in the competitive music industry and though he may not be the artist that some want, he is obviously the one that has got our attention!