Speaking with one of Nigeria's most versatile artists, Lady Donli, on her debut album 'Enjoy Your Life', having DaVido remix her track 'Cash' and the thriving Alté scene.

What was the inspiration for your latest project, ‘Enjoy Your Life’?


I was inspired by a bunch of hard times. I just wanted to create a body of work that allowed people to live in the moment and appreciate everything they had. Something you could get loose to, even if it was for a second. I also wanted to take myself and other people on a journey back to simpler times. The feel of the music a lot of Nigerians loved growing up with. 


How was working alongside the artists featured and how was your creative process working on the project?


Pretty cool! When I was working on the project I set up shop in a house that was away from a lot of people, then I had those I wanted to work with come over. We’d talk, eat, cook, commune and then create. So nothing was forced, the energy in the house was so good, people wanted to create. Even people that didn’t make music were helping out. It was very communal. 


Is there a track on ‘Enjoy Your Life’, which you feel best captures the tone of the project?


I think ‘Cash’ and ‘Corner’. Those two, you listen to them and it just feels like 'enjoyment'. If there is such a feeling. 


How did the DaVido remix of ‘Cash’ come about?

  Well I had asked people who they wanted on a remix and someone had said the only person who makes sense is Davido. Cause you know Davido is Cash , that’s the money man, the enjoyment guy, the hardworking guy. So I tweeted about how I wanted him on it, his manager hit me up and the rest is history. 


What was the inspiration for your project, ‘Letters to Her’ and how do you feel your sound has grown since then?

 Well, I was going through a lot of pain when I made that project. I had been in a long term relationship and it had ended. I was also just really naive and looking for shelter in anybody who would offer it. 'Letters To Her' was a way of shedding the pain. It really helped me grow. From then til now, I’ve just experimented more with sounds, tried to make music a bit more fun and a little less gloomy. 


How is the music scene, especially the Alté scene in Lagos and who are some local artists you would recommend?


 It’s vibrant, everyone is headstrong and ready to make it. Everyone wants to break out and they’re working. I hear so much incredible music, from my hometown (Abuja) and from Lagos as well. It keeps me on my feet and inspires me. Right now, some of my faves are The Cavemen, Somadina, 234Jaydaa, Ayüü. They’re all killing it. 


What was the inspiration and creative process of your first EP, ‘Wallflower’?

Honestly, I can't remember much about that time. I was in university and I really just wanted to create something. I just needed to express myself because I hated uni and it was messing with my energy. 'Wallflower' was my outlet and it made a very big difference in my life. Funny thing is it’s actually my third project. I just took the first two down because they really sucked, but they helped me grow so I can’t complain much. 


How did your collaboration with Mr. Eazi come about and how was it to be featured on the opening track of ‘Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 - Lagos to London’?    


Well, I just liked the way he was moving. It really inspired me, so I reached out to him and he invited me to the studio one day. The energy was great and that was that. We worked on a bunch of stuff. It was cool, opened up my mind to so much and it made me realise nothing was too far out of my reach. I can do anything if I work hard and move right. 


As someone with a lot of collaborations, which has been your favourite, so far and who has taught you something that you have kept with you, when creating?

Funny, I don’t think I have a favourite collaboration. But all my collaborations with Tomi Thomas for sure, I love him and he just teaches me how to be better. I don’t know if that makes sense, but every time I watch him I strive for excellence because for me he embodies everything an excellent musician should be. I wouldn’t be as great if I hadn’t met him that’s for sure. I owe him a lot and he doesn’t even realise it. 


What’s been your favourite video to create, so far?


I haven’t made many videos but shooting 'Corner' was sort of fun, I did enjoy it the most. It was a large production team and just seeing people so passionately involved made me happy. A bunch of them didn’t need to be there but they chose to be and that excited me. 


Which artists inspired you to first get into music and who is inspiring you today?

Erykah Badu, Brenda Fassie, Beyoncé. The list is endless. Right now I’m being inspired by Angélique Kidjo, Burna Boy, Santi... this list also goes on and on.


If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?

The Cavemen, SOMADINA, 234Jaydaa, Ayüü and Tay Iwar.

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