Out on June 3 via her own label Studio Brat, TO BE HONEST is the long-awaited new album from Nigerian-born global music star SIMI. Highly anticipated since the release of her last full-length project in 2019, To Be Honest comes on the back of Simi amassing over 500 million plays online, a top 5 record on the Billboard world album chart, and an MTV Africa Music Award nomination under her belt. Written and composed by Simi, the brilliant 11-track album features just two guest appearances from Adekunle Gold and Fave, and production from the likes of BlaiseBeatz (Wizkid, Tiwa Savage), Pheelz (Davido, Fireboy DML), and Grammy Award nominee P.Priime, among others. She spoke with OkayAfrica for an interview to talk about the album.
Unlocking a new era of creative expression since becoming a mother, which she has been teasing with recent hit tracks like ‘Sare’, ‘Woman’ and ‘So Bad’ in the past 8 months, the new album To Be Honest sees Simi deliver what is the most defining record of her career so far. Driven by her amazing voice, lush harmonies, clever lyricism, and relatable songwriting, and coupled with captivating afro-leaning R&B, soul and pop soundscapes, Simi takes listeners on an enchanting musical journey throughout the album, exploring themes of love and life in her most open and honest way yet.
The To Be Honest album opens with the introspective ‘Story Story’, which sees Simi reflecting on her journey so far, and reminiscing on the hurdles and breakthroughs, the rich life-affirming anthem ‘Born Again’, and one of the album’s essential tracks ‘Naked Wire’, an afropop masterclass and love song where Simi waxes lyrical about yearning for affection from her lover. The album also sees Simi in magnificent form with Fave on the glorious ‘Loyal’ about the complexities of friendships, while she is joined by Adekunle Gold on the infectious afrobeats future hit ‘Balance’.
‘Logba Logba’ reveals Simi in a celebratory mood as she implores her man to spend his money on her, while the dancehall-fused ‘Easy’ calls on listeners to enjoy their lives no matter the circumstances. On ‘No Joy’, Simi pushes back against people projecting their insecurities onto other people, and ‘Temper’ sees the singer extoling the virtues of self-worth and contentment, while she implores listeners never to settle for less on the aptly titled ‘Settle’. The album closes out in resounding fashion with ‘Love For Me’, with Simi showing gratitude for God’s goodness, mercies and grace in her life.
Speaking about the inspiration behind her To Be Honest album, Simi says, “This record ‘To Be Honest’ is a compilation of my stories and some really candid things I’ve wanted to say for a long time. It has a couple of songs for love and vibes because who doesn’t love, love and vibes? It’s different from anything I’ve done before, but it is also stamped with my signature inflections and emotions and passions. People see my face or hear my voice and think they already know what they’re going to get. Well, they don’t. To be honest, they don’t!”
Revered as one of the pioneering forces behind Nigeria’s new afropop wave, and acknowledged one of most distinctive female voices in African music today, Simi boasts a successful career on the continent that has birthed three acclaimed albums and an EP, chart-topping collaborations with the likes of Davido and Mr Eazi, and a coveted discography that has garnered over 500 million plays. With over 25 million fans online, Simi has built a loyal community around her music, and is excited to share this new era, perfectly encapsulated in her new album To Be Honest.
‘To Be Honest’, the new album from Simi is out on June 3.
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