Just like the legendary footballer, ‘Maradona’ is dribbling the senses of Nigerians away.
“You be Maradona?”
That’s what a girl asked me after seeing me receive multiple calls from different women. She was referring to the Argentine legendary footballer, and one of the greatest acts who ever played the game.
But she didn’t find out about Diego Maradona from football. She swears to me that she has never seen a game of football. In fact, she hates football. But she knows Maradona was a great player who dribbled past people to score goals.
How did she get this? How did a woman who have never deliberately enjoyed a game of football know how to use the word Maradona?
Thank Niniola for that. She has a hit song titled ‘Maradona’, which has become one of the soundtracks of the Nigerian music story of 2017. The song, an Afro-House creation, was produced by Sarz. Maradona is a song about a terrible womanizer whose girlfriend couldn’t deal with his bad boy antics anymore and decided to take a walk after finding out he had cheated on her with her friends.
“The inspiration of Maradona came to me while I was in the studio with Sarz making the beat.”Niniola tells Pulse via email. “Like all the other songs I always walk into the studio blank until I hear the beat. Once he was 50% done he played it and we vibed to it, and what kept on coming to my mind was Maradona.”
The song which came out slowly, penetrated mainstream radio all across the country. The secret of Maradona is in its repetitive instrumentals and a bassline that is both immersive and calming. It can come on in the club to create a syrupy bridge during any supreme turnup, or it can provide soothing company during a road trip, or also can be enjoyed for its musical brilliance.
“The second we recorded we knew right away it was the next single and that people will like it, but we didn’t think the Love will grow this fast.” Said Niniola.
“It has been well received, right for the day it was released and has continued to find it’s way to places I never thought it would. For example I have done LIVE interviews with Argentine radio stations. It’s currently being played in different countries. A friend of mine sent me a video of her at the Barcelona stadium bar and Maradona was playing. So the reception has been massive and we thank God for that.”
The video for Maradona was directed by Mex, and its theatric execution has created a new promotional push on TV for the record. The video is complete with a cheating boyfriend, lots of colour, dramatic scenes, and a healthy dose of dancing.
Niniola who released her debut single ‘Ibadi’ in 2014, has stuck to creating an African iteration of House Music. She stumbled upon the genre when she recorded the song with Sarz, and it came out great.
The song became a hit, put her on the radar, and she has never looked back. Although she has fused her root house sound with R&B, Traditional music, and country music, she hasn’t moved far from House.
“Thats why you hear songs like ‘Akara Oyibo’ (R&B), ‘Start all over’ (R&B), ‘Gbowode’ (traditional folk) my feature on Eddy Kenzo’s song and others. But then who wouldn’t like to own their own sound?” She asks.
Not Niniola. She intends to release an album in 2017, and recording is already on for the project. Niniola says it’s “80-90% done, but you know how you just want to make sure everything is ready.”