Nigeria’s Yemi Alade first caught Africa’s attention in 2013, when her catchy breakout hit, “Johnny,” began dominating the airwaves. Since then, the Beyoncé-approved performer’s unmatched work ethic has made her one of Africa’s top female artists— and she’s outpacing most of the men there. Here, we break down the secrets to her rise.
01. She Has a Backup Plan
Alade was still a student at the University of Lagos when she realized she wanted to be a singer. Despite gaining early success, she continued with her studies and graduated with a degree in geography.
02. She Keeps Her Word
Known for her commitment to her craft, Alade never misses a show if she can help it. Even when there was a fire in her hotel right before she appeared at London’s Wembley Arena in 2015, she grabbed her phone, her Bible and a stage outfit and kept it moving. “Whether the building burned to the ground or not, I was going to perform,” she said. “I was ready to die on that stage.”