”Simisola” was released on September 8, 2017, and one year down the line, we re-visit the vision and process that settles Simi gracefully in a place where many have dared, scoring a cohesive and well rounded musical masterpiece.
On Sunday, September 9th, singer Simi took to her Instagram page to celebrate the one year release of her album, Simisola.
The eponymously named project released under X3M Records is her sophomore album, and one that has seemingly elevated her status from next in line to a bonafide superstar.
In the post, Simi left a fairly lengthy caption describing how the album came to life and thanking her fans for the support.
”1 year ago, today, Magic happened. Take a seat. It’s about to be an epistle.
If I said I wasn’t and am not constantly blown away, and overwhelmed by the love you guys constantly show me, it would be a big lie.
It took my team and I, years to compile the content and emotions packed in this album. I work with a group of people, without whom I couldn’t possibly be who I am today. Thankful for them.”
She then goes further to explain her mindset behind the project.
”I remember a big part of me wanted to prove myself. I wanted to make a statement.
It’s not a secret that to thrive as a woman in the industry isn’t exactly a stroll in the park. People second guess you. Make you second guess yourself.
It was especially annoying for me because I felt too many people were fixating on the wrong things. Some said I was only successful because other men put me on.
Some people wrote headlines and used TV shows to talk about my fashion sense (or lack of it). Some were upset about how simple I was and me not trying to change that, because “she’s a celebrity, how dare she?”…
I’m not perfect, but I’m working on it. Will never be perfect, but I’m alright with it. This is why “Original Baby” was my fave song on the album – because it was my truest and most personal song.
So I put all my energy and heart into working and reworking SIMISOLA. Told my team not to put anything in my schedule for a while. I’m a perfectionist, so I would sometimes obsess over the songs.
I kept removing and adding songs. I replaced two songs about a month to the release date. Some days, I would wake up and love the album, others, I would go to bed hating it, cos it didn’t feel right just yet…
But on the 8th of September, Magic happened. And I’m so grateful that magic was my magic and you experienced it with me. I love you. So much. Thank you.” She concluded.
Indeed looking at where Simi was at the start of 2017 and then picking up the award for Album of the Year at the 2018 Headies Award, barely months after the release of the album, alongside two other awards, it is quite easy to see why the singer is so grateful for the journey thus far.
But really, looking back a year after, how has Simisola fared?
The Simisola album placed Simi at a position where she had a lot to prove.
The last two years before its release have seen her on a run of impressive singles, stellar collaborations and the test run of a joint project with Falz, ”Chemistry”, which effectively shined a light in the direction her album will take.
Produced primarily by her longtime collaborator, Oscar, the 15 track album comprising of 12 original songs and 3 bonus tracks featured only one name in the person of Adekunle Gold, allowing Simi to fully express herself and tell her story which majorly circled around love, humour, charm and good vibes.
The album thrives on a numer of elements, as Simi effectively explores her playful character in delivering RnB in purely Nigerian form, one that is relatable, motivating and fitting.
She is also in fine form when it comes to tapping from old inspirations to create an urban sound like she did with Sir Victor Uwaifo‘s ‘Joromi’ and Ebenezer Obey‘s ‘Aimasiko’, while ‘Hiphop Hurray’ reminds you of the type of music Trybesmen offered in the past.
Commercially, [even though the numbers are sacred], the album has seemingly fared well, not to forget upon its release, Simisola charted at the No. 5 spot on the Billboard World Music Charts and more importantly, it was generally received by both the young and old.
In August 2018, the album helped Simi become the first artist to hit 1Million streams on Nigerian streaming site, Boomplay.
A year later, the album is no less impressive on the ears as when it first came out, songs like ‘Smile For Me’ and ‘Love Don’t Care’ still enjoy heavy rotations, as she succeeded in creating a sound that is refreshing and not just devolve into glorified spur-of-the-moment singles.
Certain factors will be considered in understanding the impact of the album which will swing along certain lines like videos, appeal, relevance and how well the shelf life of the songs have been maximised.
There is a surreal energy that you get from the album, one that is transmitted from her playful personality right into the mind of her listeners. There is also a sense of vibrancy that drives the mood, lyrics and message of the songs.
I particularly like how the rollout of the visuals to songs on the album, which has helped in keeping its shelf life going have been structured. With releases spread from last year up until two months ago when she put out the visuals for Aimasiko, bringing it to a total of 10 videos out of 15 songs, which judging my most album standards is fairly impressive.
This has also helped maximize the beauty of each record on the song as almost every person you ask has a favourite record separate from the other.
On relevance, Simisola album is still upper echelon in the music space largely due to the creativity and brilliance of the record, but also partly down to the lacklustre pop projects that have dominated 2018 so far, with none matching it in quality, wow moments and appeal.
There are really few songs that seem out of place on the album, her singles still hold up fairly well, the consequences of which has now birthed a deluxe version released in July.
One area where Simi alongside her team has however not fully connected with in maximizing the potentials of the album is the area of touring.
For most Nigerian artists, the market is limited to the Lagos audience and those in the diaspora who key in through the internet and streaming sites, while relying on the traditional media to help spread the message to the inner cities, without much effort from their part.
For Simi, a regional tour, if not nationwide is an opportunity missed to score a legacy where her album will really be one that will go down in the annals of the music industry as a proper nationally successful album.
The album also faced some form of criticism from those who felt there was little edge to her lyrical dexterity, but the reviews have been more positive than rattling.
Simi, clearly has a strong vision as a sounds person and songwriter, which is obvious in how she incorporates her creativity, innovation and heart in her songs. With Simisola, she offers great artistry, pouring her all into the album and serving her listeners with an unfettered view into her life and person.
A year after release, it is fair to say that Simisola the album has gone full circle in delivering a statement album, one that is critically acclaimed and mainstream successful, and will go down as one of the finest projects of its decade.