Lady Donli’s new EP “Wild” is described on Apple Music as ” moodier, bolder, multi-genre”. Seeing the word “moodier”, my first thought was, this is exactly my type of music. Before listening to her album, I had never heard of her prior, and after doing research and finding her Instagram page where she referred to herself as a “Space Whore”, I was already intrigued.
When I first saw the album cover, I knew I was in for something unique, weird and different, and I was right. Donli’s first song on the EP “Wild” opens with a beautifully crafted tune, you hear her soft effortless voice, and you immediately fall in love. You can tell, to Lady Donli, singing comes like drinking water. She’s not trying too hard.
The song brought to life the way the majority of us felt during the 2020 lockdown. The singer sings lightly about being in a depressive state “I’ve been down so many times before” and “now I’m all alone battling my demons.” It’s great to see more Nigerian musicians freely touch on mental health struggles. This is also seen in Omah Lay’s “Bad Influence”. Hopefully, this will help in eliminating mental health stigma. And is a step forward in normalising us talking about these things.
The album is not necessarily a feel-good album, but it does make you feel refreshed. It is an album that lays out different feelings and emotions and challenges you to acknowledge them. And it’s not a bad thing. Music is supposed to evoke emotions, whether joyful or sorrowful and allow you to think deeply. I don’t tend to listen to the majority of mainstream music, as I feel they lack the poetic, deep and meaningful substance, which is what I look for when I listen to music. Nigerian music sometimes is perceived as the kind of music you can only dance to, with words that don’t exactly have a meaning or make sense, but a very nice beat that will light up any party. Described in 2014 by the Vanguard as “it’s all about sex and no sense”. This is changing very quickly. We now see musicians like Lady Donli, Burna Boy, Tems and many others explore more complex topics in their music.
My favourite song on the album is “Searching.” I replayed it several times. The song starts with a unique African tune, and even though she’s singing about something deep, it still makes you want to dance because it’s just that good.
Another song on the album that made my Gen Z antennas go up was M.K.K. The song reminded me of American singer Doja Cats “Rules” because of how explicitly boss bitch it is. I love seeing Nigerian women sing freely about sex and whatever they want.
Lady Donli creates her lane, she is not trying to fit in. She is simply being herself which she states clearly at the start of her song “set tha fire” “you can’t shame me for being myself.”
At 24, Lady Donli is simply and effortlessly killing it.