Nigerians excel at blending foreign genres, helping Afrobeats lead Africa’s musical exports.
Nigerian artists worldwide boost Afrobeats. Rose May Alaba, an Austrian-Nigerian singer, champions Nigerian music6 globally.
Rose May Alaba, raised in Austria, experienced the blend of her Austrian, Yoruba, and Filipino heritage. Her music fuses her parents’ diverse musical backgrounds, creating a cross-cultural sound.
Rose May was first exposed to Nigerian culture through music, with artists like P-Square influencing her in her teenage years. As she grew older, she embraced the evolving sound of Afrobeats, following the rise of Wizkid and Davido.
“While growing up, the church was the only place to get Nigerian food because there was no Nigerian restaurant around. So the church was a place to interact with my Nigerian roots.”
The church provided community, and May’s father, a Prince from Ogun State, taught her about her Yoruba heritage.
“At 12, I visited Nigeria to connect with my roots. I have a family house in Lagos, and since most of my family is there, it feels like home,” May explains.
This connection to her roots has shaped May Alaba’s music which is a hybrid of her multiple influences. Growing up in Austria, May’s first attempt at making music was to deliver Austrian mainstream Pop music.
Rose May later fused her Nigerian roots with Afrobeats, beginning with “Toxic,” a German-sung track with an Afrobeats backdrop, and teaming up with Mayorkun on “50/50”.
“I got inspired by African artists. The way they sing, and the way they make music are all good vibes and I love the energy. My roots are from Nigeria and I decided to incorporate this into my music,” May shares her decision to take on the challenge of transitioning into making Afrobeats-styled music.
Immersing herself in Afrobeats and collaborating with creatives in the genre helped May transition into Nigerian mainstream Pop music.
Her transition is evident in the single ‘Ibadi,’ her first attempt at singing in Yoruba. For May, the decision was a bold one as she appreciated the fact that the experiment could go either way.
“It could either go great or completely wrong since it was my first time singing in Yoruba,” she reflects.
Rose May understood the discerning nature of Nigerian music fans. She collaborated with her dad for Yoruba guidance and writing, and enlisted producer Blaise Beats for an authentic Afrobeats sound.
‘Ibadi’ has brought May success, reaching audiences in Nigeria, Ghana, and Europe through her festival performances.
‘Ibadi’ is Rose May’s springboard to becoming an international Afrobeats artist with global influences.
May Alaba, under the dual role of her father as manager and Yoruba tutor, maintains strong connections to her Nigerian heritage.
“I have visited Nigeria consistently since 2017. Aside from having family here, we also have a foundation that operates in the country,” May shares about her family’s foundation that has done some work in Nigeria to support the Ministry of Environment’s effort to eradicate open defecation.
She’s the sister of David Alaba, a footballer who’s won numerous trophies with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
“You know I tried to become a footballer. I used to be a Right Back but football just wasn’t my thing,” Rose May shares about her attempts to follow in her brother’s footsteps before quitting as a teenager and switching the football academy for Art school.
Rose May Alaba, drawn to Afrobeats, plans to advance her music career by staying connected to her cultural roots. She plans to drop an EP that will showcase her talent and contribute to the global exportation of Afrobeats.