We talk to the burgeoning Nigerian- American singer and songwriter for an exclusive interview discussing her recent release “TEMI,” exceptional multi-genre discography, stage name inspiration, and much more.
With a couple of tracks across diverse genres and a few features in this timeless and soulful musical tabloid, No5hade has clarity on the talent she embodies. Upon experimentation with different sounds, she is aware of her innate abilities not only to take on multi and hybrid genre compositions but also seamlessly execute them in grandeur style. No5hade has a track for every genre, and she proposes a vibe to get you through every mood. While the idea of a niche might seem foreign to her, she consistently carries along a profound beacon of light and depth on every project, regardless of its genre classification. Expeditiously glowing through the years in her vocal prowess, well-antecedent lyrics, and top-notch brilliant delivery to boast of. The Osun State native makes the extra effort to include the indigenous Yoruba language in her songs; this is her view of displaying cultural ties to her roots and heritage. “I want people to know that, though we might not live in Nigeria, some of us know our native language,” she says.
RadrAfrica chats with No5hade about her musical journey, thrills, highs, and lows, and the release of “TEMI.”
Who is No5hade?
No5hade: I would say she is outgoing, calm, mysterious, emotive, and an open person—fun to be around and likes to learn.
How Did You Get into Music?
No5hade: I have always had an interest in poetry since middle school. I enjoyed reading Tupac Shakur’s lyrics and Lil Wayne’s because I was really into rap. I was just digesting what they were saying in their songs. Interestingly I never thought it was a path that I would see myself on.
I would have guessed whatever path I would follow would be more academically inclined. It was more likely education, going to college. As I got older, I decided to try music; considering I liked poetry, it just made sense to put it in a song. In 2015 one of my cousin’s friends, who was making music, invited me to come to the studio. I got to the studio, he played a beat, and I started writing.
This is how my first song came about; however, it never came out.
Do You Remember the Lyrics?
No5hade: I don’t remember anything, I think he sent it to me quite recently. So I have to go find it.
How Did the Name No5hade Come About?
No5hade: My first name is Folashade. Growing up in America with a Yoruba traditional name posed difficulty for teachers to pronounce the right way. The intonation was off, I would try to shorten it by calling shade, but that wasn’t helping still. Sometimes my friends would call me Shade or Shawty. At this point, it was like, call me shade. It’s okay. So I guess because I threw a lot of shade as well. This is how Nigerians cruise all the time. It subtly poses as an oxymoron “No shade, but I’m still going to throw the shade,” with pun intended. The name came as a combination of all of this she speaks in her Yoruba dialect ( Everything pa po.)
A close look at your Discography shows you frequently switch across multiple genres. How did this come about?
No5hade: I initially started rapping, then moved to Hip- Hop. It was pretty easy because I believe there is a close nexus between the both of them. I am of the opinion that rap I wouldn’t want to say angry but it denotes an assertive, direct, raw, and clear-toned way of expression. I ventured into Rnb and Afrobeats a couple of years later on. Instead of being so raw with my lyrics, these other genres allow me to amplify poetry to either make it groovy for people to enjoy or spark deep introspection to be felt intricately. Basically, I am not afraid to say that my genre preference depends on how I feel and that my personalized sound is primarily influenced by my personal decision and no external force or coercion, whether from my management or mainstream appeal. I feel blessed to own it and also be in control of that which I own.
Who would you regard as your Greatest Musical Inspiration?
No5hade: My all-time greatest inspiration would have to be Sade and Tupac. I am currently inspired by the boundaries Asake is pushing and the originality and relatability it carries along. I think it’s amazing. For some, I don’t know why I love Zinolesky; he has a special place in my heart.
Let’s Talk About Your Dream Collaborations.
No5hade: Definitely Omahlay; I feel like we could vibe. Tiwa Savage as well, I think that would be a learning experience and something different, I also want to do a song with a female artist, and I feel Tiwa fits the description of what I am seeking. Female artists don’t get the spotlight when people ask about collaborations. Who else, Wizkid, of course.
Walk me Through your Creative Process.
No5hade: Right now and based on the recording process from my EP. My creative process with that was I would have my producer send me beats, and I would listen to them. Words naturally come, maybe from past experiences. I would first get a verse, thoroughly review it, and perhaps a chorus follows or hook. It just flows naturally.
Can You Remember the Moment You Felt the Stars Aligned In Your Musical Journey?
No5hade: I think I have had a couple of those. The one that stood out for me would be in the year 2019/2020. I was putting in a lot of time, effort, and work. I had just released my rap album, and I was hardcore going at it. My manager at that time got me to open for shows. I opened up for Micheal Blackson, Renni Rucci, and Chief Keef. It felt so right and natural.
What Missing Puzzle Would you say that Your Music has come to Complete?
No5hade: I would say my music is timeless, and you can feel it. I feel like nowadays, yes, we all want to have a good time, but there are emotions we have to feel. Sometimes It’s heartbreak we don’t want to feel it, but you will chop breakfast, and it’s okay to feel those emotions. I feel like some of my songs get you through those moments.
Earlier, During this Interview, You mentioned your songs are influenced by personal choice. How do you feel about bowing to mainstream appeal and redefining your preferred choice?
No5hade: I feel like there is a push and pull as an independent artist. It is the tussle between staying original to who you are, but you would also want to get into the mainstream. So you have to compromise in some areas.
Kudos to those who didn’t have to compromise, but I am sure at a stage of their career, they were faced with that hefty decision and probably compromised and went back to being original. It also might not be compromising, it could take place in the form of a transition into the mainstream on a couple of songs before returning to your original or initial sound.
What Values or Mantras do you live by?
No5hade: Let’s see, I always say everything happens for a reason, and your calling will always call you. So you have to pick up the call, you can’t keep letting it ring. Also, live in the moment.
Actually, I have that tattooed on my arm. Dwelling in the past and thinking so far into the future allows us to miss out on the beauty and joy of the current moment. So you have to live in the moment.
While Walking Me Through Your Creative Process, You made Mention of Working on an Ep. Can You share in Detail the Title and Progress of the Ep? Is Temi going to be on the EP?
No5hade: Yes, Temi is going to be on the EP. I don’t have a title yet; also, I am thinking it will be about five songs on there. It will definitely be released this year, hopefully before December.
I am just trying to ensure I do the right things on my end, which involves dropping it correctly. Taking note of effective and strategic marketing and making sure everything is aligned the way it should be.
What Does the Track Temi represent to you?
No5hade: Temi is a song to myself; every artiste has their artiste side to them and the regular part of them. It is always a battle between both sides. Personally, I have to learn how to trust in me.
Double down on Whatever is mine is mine, so I don’t need to be doing too much considering that it is mine.Temi is a Yoruba word. Lately, indigenous artists have been getting worldwide recognition, regardless of catering in this representative capacity.
Flowing from the previous question, are we getting more tracks fused with Yoruba, Just like Temi?
No5hade: Definitely, I am a first-generation Nigerian- American, so I think a lot of time, we get a negative view for not knowing our native language. So I want to let people know it’s not the same for everyone. Some of us, just like I am, know our native language and shouldn’t be categorized generally as not being aware or in close connection with our culture. Also, I encourage all first -gen’s to speak what they know. Even though it’s not perfect, don’t be afraid of other people’s reactions because you can’t speak it fluently. Just do it and try it. Importantly it is up to us not to let our culture die just like that, and there is definitely going to be more Yoruba in my songs.
Would You Like to Share What is Currently on Your Music Vision Board?
No5hade: My music vision board definitely has my Ep on it, as a couple of collaborations with some label artists. I really don’t want to put too much on my board. I feel like if I have too much on my board, I will be anxious that I haven’t met this mark and be too hard on myself. So it’s like I’m just trying to go with the flow. I would love to be on award shows and some other things in that regard. But I am just keeping it chill for now.
What Would Your 8-Year-Old Self Say to You Now?
No5hade: Wow, that is a good question. She is definitely surprised and proud because I used to be a shy little girl. A bit astonished “Is this the same person from growing up.” She would be very proud of me, and I feel like she would tell me to keep going and not give up. Just keep going, don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it because you are already doing it. So keep going.
Can you briefly share your Family background and Where Exactly in Nigeria you are From?
No5hade: My mom is from Osun state, and I lay claim to being from Osun, Osogbo, where my mum and grandma grew up. I went to school in Ondo State for a couple of years and have three siblings. Two older sisters and a younger brother. I would say we are a pretty tight and close-knit family, and my siblings and I own our individuality by doing our own thing.
Do You Remember Your Mums Initial Response to You Making Music?
No5hade: She initially learned about me making music through my raps, and curse words predominantly constitute rap lyrics. I remember her asking me questions like, “ Do you have to smoke Igbo (weed) when you are doing your music” It was a bit embarrassing; she thought once you are a rapper, that is what your life instantly becomes characterized by. She was a bit confused at first.
After I transitioned to Rnb and Afro beats, I guess I would say she saw the clear picture and started asking questions like ‘ When is your next song coming out” and making statements like “ I saw your video on youtube.” She was just happy, and it seems the older she got, the more understanding she became. I feel very blessed for that.
What Makes up Your Support System?
No5hade: My friends and family, for sure. My friends help me shoot some of my content, and they are always excited whenever I am to release a new song. I am happy to have supportive friends around me. My family as well reposts my songs and plays them. It’s awesome.
If there was anything you wish you had done differently at the onset of your career, What would that be?
No5hade: I wish I was consistent. I wish I didn’t let the doubts overwhelm me. Sometimes you feel like you are to be somewhere at a particular time, and when you are not there, it feels like you are wasting your time. So consistency is it for me.
On the days you Question the Process, What remotivates You?
No5hade: As I mentioned earlier, your calling will always call you. That calling never dies, even when you feel like you should do it at any time. Something inside of you activates, and you feel like it’s the gift inside, use it, or it’s going to be taken away. So having that in mind always keeps me returning to doing what I love.
On a Final Note, what would you want your Music to be Remembered For?
No5hade: I want it to be remembered for being heartfelt, something people can relate to. Something that helps someone get through a hard time and put someone back on the right track. It is being able to be there for people through my music.