Asa has returned. Asa Elemide, the Nigerian-French songstress has emerged from her five-year hiatus to remind us what healing feels like when you’re not hacking away at it, day-after-day. Pinning Asa’s specific brand of soul is a futile affair, but if one was to try, it’s best to put her in an ethereal sweet spot between Tracy Chapman and Amy Winehouse. Her voice has dynamic timbre and an unforgettable pull that had me sold the first moment I heard “Jailor” or “Bibanke.”Asa’s new release hints at the artist she was when she first emerged a decade ago, when she released her self-titled, studio debut, which became a platinum-selling hit that gained her notoriety across Europe, Africa and Asia.
On Asa’s comeback single, ‘The Beginning’, her vocal tone is as clear as the day she left. She transports and uplifts you, each second feels like the moment you leave the ground. Asa’s return comes with a sense of growth and new story carried by a more mature musical voice. Not so much older, as it is honest and sober — yet it somehow lifts and uplifts. There is a quiet hallelujah in the depths of the truth being told and shared. It’s a relief to listen to an artist’s new work and be reminded of why you fell in love with them, almost like you grew with them. If we can appreciate anything, let’s appreciate our own growth and how musicians like Asa lovingly provide the personally crafted soundtrack of that growth. Cannot wait to see what else her return has in store.