“That thing you just said about Simi is nice,” said our new intern at Pulse. Her name is Mary, she is 21, and listens to Simi’s music. She was referring to a video recording I had done for social media, about the article idea.
In that video, I said one thing: Simi is winning the hearts of every young woman out there because she is their reflection. One song at a time, the X3M singer is accumulating deep unbridled love and fandom from young women who are connected to their emotions.
Like another of my young friends excitedly told me, “listening to Simi is like capturing all of the emotions that go through your head in music. Everything you have dealt with as a woman seeking love and acceptance in Nigeria, she expresses them beautifully as an artist.”
I agree. Simi’s sophomore album “Simisola” might be a music project for many people, but for others, it’s a way of life. The album which marks time as her first body of work since she blew under X3M Music is a beautiful body of work which artistically dissects love and happiness. Simi takes a universal subject and commoditizes it for pleasure.
‘Remind me’ is all about her fallibilities a flawed human. Redemption is around the corner, and she is calling for it from an unnamed source. This reverberates with people. Simi carries the music soulfully, and when she takes on subjects, they come alive in a natural, mundane way.
She isn’t the high priestess and uber-celebrity that hands down her art from a throne of lights camera and action. She’s in your mirror, acting as your desires. She is the lady you see in the morning, making faces for a selfie before she jets off to work. She is the stranger you bond with at the bar, who watches your favourite football game with you. She is right beside you in lowest points and heartbreaks, holding your hand and handing out wipes for your tears.
Her music reflects this. It is served without pretence, lined with affection, and delivered with quality. Her vocal performance is ethereal, almost haunting, and that’s why she resonates deeply. There’s a fine line that she skirts with her music, and it strikes deep.
As a woman making music, getting genuine and appreciation from other women is a hard feat. Fandom among women in Nigeria tends to be deposited in the lap of the men. Women in the art are required to pass through a rigorous set of rules, definitions and requirements to achieve true support from their fellow women. Only a few can depend on a strong female fan base for support. Simi has that.
Politically correct people will say the sky is big enough for everyone to fly. But in music, the heart isn’t that large. It only has four chambers and a little extra space for love. Simi isn’t the first to occupy this position. Once upon a time, Mo’cheddah had the honour of occupying that space. But her departure from music meant that it would lie fallow until Chidinma showed up with her petite frame, childish charms and thunderstorm vocal performance. She’s relinquished it for a lot of reasons.
Simi owns it now, and the music she is making to service that love is worthy of it. There’s no negativity here, no over-the-top display of celebrity. She’s leading with music for the heart, and her fans continue to follow, to trust, and to understand that it can only lead to pleasurable and satisfying places.
Just like the intern told me at my office, Simi can only be praised at the moment for being who she is, and making the music that has provided Nigeria with happiness, and young women with connectivity to the best parts of themselves.