Bella Alubo’s timely single contributes to fighting Covid-19 and uplifts Nigerian artists

Album artwork for Kele•le, a compilation EP that benefits the non-profit organization Red Hot.

Nigerian singer Bella Alubo couldn’t have chosen a better time than the coronavirus pandemic to release her new single “Loneliest Girl in the World.” As many are spending the majority of their time indoors, away from family and friends, learning Tikok dances and searching for hobbies to get through the isolation, Alubo’s new bop speaks to the struggle of feeling alone. 

Released on May 8th, “Loneliest Girl in the World” is the first single out from Kele•le, a new EP produced by the Red Hot organization that’s set to come out in full later this summer. The EP is a compilation of songs from four up-and-coming Nigerian artists who are promoting women’s leadership and creativity around the world. “Nigerian women are speaking of and acknowledging our feelings, talking about what we want, chasing our dreams,” Alubo said in Red Hot’s press release for the single. “We express ourselves more through music, through our careers, through our achievements- through saying what we want, really.” The singer has spoken several times before about changing any negative perceptions people may have of Nigerian culture and hopes to help dismantle the oppressive power structures that prevent Nigerian women from achieving by promoting female empowerment. 

Of course, many are on the front lines fighting the pandemic and are not fortunate enough to be safely sheltering indoors. Red Hot and the album’s contributing artists aim to bring awareness to the lack of resources that these frontline workers have globally and encourage donations to aid communities in need by donating all proceeds from the album to those fighting Covid-19. According to their website,  Red Hot is an “organization dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS through pop culture.” It brings awareness and funding to combat other health related issues as well, and over the course of more than two decades has produced 20 albums with music icons like Nirvana, U2, Patti Smith, and Madonna. Since the 90’s it has found creative ways to promote music and advocacy through innovative events and projects like Kele•le.

Alubo’s single takes us inside her thoughts and feelings as she reflects on some tough times she went through in 2019. Speaking to the anxiety and mood swings she went through, she sings “I get happy, I get sad” over and over, indicating that feeling lonely can come with an on-and-off rollercoaster of emotions. However, the song itself is one that’s easy to groove to, since it’s an upbeat and smooth blend of afro-pop and hip hop. 

The tune’s release comes months after Alubo released her fourth project titled Summers Over during the fall of 2019, which plays like a classic R&B album that speaks to love and relationships. Alubo and other artists sing tracks in English and French. From singing in different languages, rapping refined bars and singing slow ballads, there is endless diversity in her music. Plus, “Loneliest Girl in the World” is just the latest in her long-lasting streak of releases. Summers Over was her third project in 20 months, previously releasing a solo EP and Late Night Vibrations with Nigerian rapper Ycee. 

Alubo hopes that “Loneliest Girl in the World” will offer “the vibe we need to pull through this wave together.” Her single is available on all streaming platforms, and you can watch the lyric video below. 

Sabby Robinson is a fellow with the investigative documentary team at American Public Media, APM Reports, and largely reports on education news. A proud Oakland native, you’ll most likely find Sabby traveling and listening to R&B music or a podcast.

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