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Artiste of the week: Niniola

Niniola Apata (born 15 December 1986), better known by her stage name Niniola, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Niniola is a native of Ekiti State, but was born in Lagos State, where she had her primary and secondary school at Apata Memorial High School. She later proceeded to the University of Lagos, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Education certificate. Niniola rose to recognition in 2013 after she placed third runner-up at the Project Fame West Africa Season six. During the competition, she performed a live rendition of ‘Limpopo’ with pop star, Kcee and also performed her composition ‘Itura’ which was produced by Cobhams Asuquo. She mentions Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Madonna, Beyonce and Angelique Kidjo as some of her music influences.

After leaving Project Fame, the school administrator turned singer did not rest on her laurels. Instead, on 19 March, 2014, Niniola released her debut single ‘Ibadi’, produced by Sarz. The song received positive critical reviews, topped national music charts and gained extensive airplay. ‘Ibadi’ and her single ‘Gbowode’ were used as soundtracks in the Season two of Nigerian television drama series ‘Gidi Up’. In 2015, she was listed on Notjustok’s 15 artistes to watch in 2015 and was nominated in the ‘Most Promising Act to Watch’ category at the 2015 Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA). She currently has a record deal with Drumroll Records.

Niniola, on what inspired her foray into music, said that music started for her since childhood. She was a bathroom singer growing up. She later moved on from there and became the classroom voice all through secondary school and would sing to entertain her friends whenever they had free times. Over time, she realised music was her calling and there was no going back. Growing up, she didn’t go out much. So far, her Afrocentric style has gotten her massive attention and she has even more potentials to seal the deal with a resounding album.  She is quoted to have said her album is about her reflections, style, expressions, immediate environment and what inspires her music. Despite her apparent love for music, Niniola says an alternate career would have been teaching, She is also involved in charity work. She already has a charity organization and the objective is to finance the tuition and other related expenses for these kids who haven’t the means to get some education from their families.

For one who started off being the class music box, Niniola has risen through the ranks, as well as established herself as a name to watch out for in the Nigerian music industry.