Alternative singer Aramide recently released her debut album, titled Suitcase.

Prior the album’s release, the singer had revealed she had named the album Suitcase, because it as filled with so many things. “When you are going on a journey, the first thing you think about is a Suitcase, and that is why my debut album is titled Suitcase. My Suitcase is filled with emotions, love, society; appreciation, God, my journey, heartbreak and I want everyone to come with me on this journey,” she said.

It’s kind of a custom for Nigerians to pray before journeys, so it’s no surprise that the album starts with the mellow, worship-themed Eledumare.  Aramide’s vocal ability is on show throughout the album, and Eledumare is just the tip of the iceberg.

She released Why So Serious as a single on the day of the album’s release, a song reminiscent of JoJo’s Beautiful Girls cover. She sings to an ex-lover who’s hooked on her, whom she lets know there’s nothing happening between them. “Because you buy me iPhone 6, I won’t lose my number six/ Because you carry me chop Chinese, you want me on my knees,” she sings.

Suitcase shows a deal of growth in Aramide, a singer who caught the public eye with covers of popular pop songs like Davido’s Ekuro, and Eldee’s Today Today.  She lets her fun side out on the feel-good tune, Fun Mi Lowo. The song features Sir Dauda, who delivers the best feature on the album, with Adekunle Gold’s appearance on Love Me a close second.

There are also a couple of unnecessary appearances on the album, such as Ice Prince on Tell Me, where he actually almost makes the song worse, and a remix to Fun Mi Lowo featuring Koker and Sound Sultan. Koker delivers a pretty fun verse, but the remix doesn’t come close to the original and shouldn’t really have been attempted.

One of Aramide’s many gifts is her ability to switch seamlessly between English, Yoruba and pidgin English (while still singing like an absolute beauty), and she does it so well on songs like Fun Mi Lowo and  Ayokunnumi.

A number of producers worked on Suitcase, including Sizzle Pro, Tin Tin, Laitan Dada and Cobhams Asuquo. It’s a very elite group, and on some rare occasions, Aramide finds it difficult to take control of the instrumentals. Two of such occasions are Devil At My Doorstep and Bose, where she delivers a weak hook on the beat, churning out a list of media houses.

Jos is known in the Nigerian music industry as home to rappers such as M.I., Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince, but on Suitcase, 31-year old Aramide shows that there’s much more to come from the Northern city than just hip-hop. She has already started getting recognition for her work, winning the award for Best Alternative Act at the 2016 Nigerian Entertainment Awards. She’s also currently nominated for Best Vocal Performance and the prestigious Next Rated award.

The album’s main theme is love, and it’s obviously Aramide’s strongest forte. She unleashes her vocal ability on Love Me and Iwo Nikan. She also shows off her ability as a songwriter on beautiful gems like Stranger In Rome and Ayokunnumi. Both songs tell love stories; the former a tale of a forbidden love, the latter a story of a lover’s journey back into her arms.

The album reflects different perspectives on love, from the growing, new love on Feeling This Feeling and Yemi My Lover to a sad, leaving love on Hurry Up. Hurry Up actually feels like it belongs in a Disney movie as Aramide shows her diversity in a fusion of country & pop.

Suitcase is a solid debut from Aramide, and we’d surely be looking forward to many more albums from her.

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