By Nneka Chile
LAGOS (Reuters) – Singer Bianca Okorocha, aka Clay, is something unusual in the world of Nigerian music.
In a nation dominated by Afrobeats, the 26-year-old who calls herself the “Nigerian Rock Goddess” is trying to change long-held perceptions that rock is something alien to her country’s music scene.
Dressed in black with a crucifix sign on her cheek, she gives her alternative rock style a hometown vibe with lyrics in local languages: Igbo and Nigerian pidgin.
Okorocha’s new single, “Wetin you want”, which translates as “What do you want”, tells her story of defiance in a city full of crooks and hustlers with the catchphrase “This is Lagos”.
“People tell me that when they hear my song on the radio and they heard the English part, they thought it was an American song, and next thing they heard Igbo. My God she is Nigerian,” Okorocha told Reuters Television.
Okorocha says her musical style is heavily influenced by her father’s love of rock.
“Rock music chose me, because even when I was young without any idea or plan of going into music at all, I was already writing songs on the side and they were all rock songs,” she says.
“When I had to pick my own TV channel, I was picking channels that play rock music so this is something that I always liked when I was growing up as a child and my dad too influenced that because he used to listen to Bon Jovi and the likes.”
Okorocha began singing in a church choir then moved on to perform in bars and at concerts.
She released her first single in 2011, “Ogadisinma”, or “It’s going to be well”, which went down a storm.
Musician Jazz Atta is a fan.
“I loved it, I loved that raw thing, like you could feel where she was coming from, you could feel the music, you could feel the soul.”
(Editing by Giles Elgood)