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New & Next: Meet East African Jazz and Soul Singer Somi

Somi infuses her East African roots and jazzy soul for her latest album, "The Lagos Music Salon" that she recorded in Lagos, Nigeria. Why does an Illinois-bred Harlem-based singer with Rwandan and Ugandan roots choose to record an album in Nigeria? "Lagos feels like an African version of New York City," she says.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

[UNKNOWN] My name is Somi, I am a vocalist and a song writer. Originally from East Africa Rwanda and Uganda, but live here in New York City, Grew up in Illinois and I have a new record coming out. Its all about my time in [UNKNOWN] Nigeria. Ginger me with. [MUSIC] [UNKNOWN] Feels like an African version of New York City. The cosmopolitanism. The energy, the intellectual community, the cultural scene, I mean it's always been sort of a cultural giant on the continent so I really appreciated that energy and being able to come and be a part of it, as opposed to looking at it through sort of diasporic lens [MUSIC] Well, this record, I call the Lagos Music Salon because it's sort of this room full of. Of ideas and conversations I was having with the city, with fellow artists, with myself really, for that year and a half I was living there. And I wanted to celebrate that diversity and celebrate all those different influences. [MUSIC] So you hear a wide range of, of influences. Maybe too many. [LAUGH] But I, I feel as though the story is whole. And the story is about you know just what inspired my heart. And, and I just wanted to be honest with that. [MUSIC] Ginger me, slowly. Yeah slowly. What I would love anybody to know about my music is just that I, I try to be honest with myself. Try to be honest with my heart. You know, it's really just about that visceral connection right? So I hope that if they hear that honesty in my heart that hopefully connects with honesty in their own. [MUSIC] Slow down [MUSIC]