Birth name Bukola Elemide
Born 17 September 1982 (age 33)
Pop jazz indie pop
Vocals guitar trumpet
Aṣa (pronounced “Asha”; born 17 September 1982) is a Nigerian French singer, songwriter, and recording artist. Her stage name “Aṣa” means “Hawk” in Yoruba.
Born Bukola Elemide, Aṣa was born in Paris, France to her Nigerian parents. Her family returned to live in Nigeria when she was two. Aṣa grew up in in a small town near Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria. Twenty years later, Aṣa returned to Paris where her life as an artist took off.
Whenever Asa came home from school in Nigeria, she discovered musical acts like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Lauryn Hill, Femi Kuti and Angélique Kidjo. This was while she was in pursuit of educational excellence, and these musical acts are whose footprints she dreamed of following.
Aṣa was the only female child in the family and had three brothers. At a young age she began to look after the house during her parents’ frequent absences. This is when Aṣa started to sing. Over the years her father had built up a fine collection of records featuring soul classics and Nigerian music, including Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, King Sunny Adé, Ebenezer Obey and Lagbaja and Asa went on to draw inspiration from them.
In 2004 Aṣa met her manager and friend, Janet, who introduced her to Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, who in turn became her musical partner and producer.
At this stage of her life, Aṣa returned to Paris. Back in Nigeria, her first single, “Eyé Adaba,” then “Jailer,” were beginning to get airtime. Aṣa soon signed to Naïve Records. Partnered with Cobhams, and with the new involvement of Christophe Dupouy, she produced her first album, Aṣa. The release of the album saw Aṣa win the prestigious French Constantin Award in 2008, where she was voted best fresh talent of 10 singers or groups by a jury of 19 music-industry specialists in Paris.
Her second album, Beautiful Imperfection, was released on 25 October 2010. The lead single from Beautiful Imperfection is titled “Be My Man” and was released in late September. A video for the song was released in mid-October. She also performed with Féfé at the Sydney Festival in 2011