Prepare To Get Romantic: The Soulful Rise Of Yinka

"I make beautiful music regardless of what box it goes in..."

Fresh bed sheets, scented candles, a bubble bath, and maybe even a face mask if you’re feeling adventurous, all you need now is Yinka’s debut project ‘Let’s Get Romantic’ playing in the background. Not every Friday night needs to end in a rave, just trust me on this one. Seven tracks of pure bliss that bounce around different aspects of love, a nod of reassurance and what feels like a hug from a loved one, ‘Let’s Get Romantic’ is a roaring entrance from the LA-based newcomer, Yinka. 

Growing up in a strict household in Benue, Nigeria where education was at the forefront of her and her siblings, Yinka found herself wondering back to music. “I was only really allowed to listen to Christian music, but I did slide some other things in there. My late uncle used to rap, and I watched him write, I would try and do my own. I would go to school and get that out of the way but mostly figure out ways to be connected to music and my uncle really inspired that.”

Taking in house-hold names from Destiny’s Child, Lagbaja, Alicia Keys, and Celine Dion, Yinka’s sound from a young age subconsciously started shaping itself. It wasn’t until the school talent show came by that she finally got to showcase her hidden superpower. “The school was having a talent show and I decided to sing in it. I didn’t know how I sounded to others, but everyone was shocked! My principle came to my house, spoke to my parents and said: ‘Did you know she could sing?’ And everyone was just looking at me confused! I just remember thinking I wouldn’t have had that reaction if there wasn’t something in me, so that definitely sparked something. Ever since then I have always wanted to perform.”

On a mission to prioritise gender equality and in turn empower women all over the world, Yinka’s music is laced with messages of meaning and intent. “I grew up in surroundings where women always came second. You need to wear a dress like this, you need to learn how to cook, clean and all these different things. I was a rebel child and questioned things, even down to why I can’t learn what my brothers are learning”, she explained. When entering her college years, she took the opportunity to raise funds to build an all-girls school in Tanzania after volunteering out there and seeing first-hand their lack of access and general rights. “If I continue to have these platforms I want to speak about these kinds of things not only for me and the girls back at the school, but for the future.”

Stepping out as an artist to watch, Yinka is keen to push the boundaries and not limit herself to one label. “I see myself as a multi-dimensional artist, it’s almost genre-bending in a way because I think I make beautiful music regardless of what box it goes in. As a Nigerian artist, sometimes we are expected to have Afrobeat sounding music but there are so many different aspects to us, and we do have a lot more sounds. I wanted to step into the industry letting people know that we can do so much more”. And she’s not lying! Cooking up a soundscape drenched in silky melodies, angelic harmonies with her buttery vocal tone, her self-proclaimed “Alternative Lover Girl Pop” style is an irresistible take on contemporary art.

Spread across seven sultry tracks, ‘Let’s Get Romantic’ is about giving love another chance despite previous experiences and romanticising every aspect of your life. Romance doesn’t need to be a big gesture from a love interest, but instead through your friends and people around you. “I wrote this project a while ago. It was inspired primarily from me saying f*ck love when really, I love it, I just hate what it’s become in this generation. I wanted to give it another chance, I thought let me scrap the ‘men are trash’ thoughts and enter the dating scene with a new mind”, Yinka explains. “Once I did that, I dated around and it was a good experience; we don’t hate love, we just don’t like the fact it’s not really a serious thing now.” From the poetic space of ‘Interlude’, a track that I can only describe as something out of a Disney movie, to the alluring sounds of ‘Two Weeks’, Yinka offer’s her listener alternative ways of thinking. It’s a breath of fresh air and something we all needed. 

Although only at the start of her career, Yinka has already turned the heads of many; one of which is Afropop icon Adekunle Gold – she featured on his ‘Afro Pop Vol. 1’ project on their track ‘Exclusive’. The release of ‘Let’s Get Romantic’ feels like a milestone in her career and pays homage to her growth as an artist. With more music to come, this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Yinka.

Words: Elle Evans
Photo Credit: Lindsey Childs

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