(SINGER, SONGWRITER, ENTREPENUER)
With the release of her debut album “Ajebutter”, Nigerian native Marenikae has positioned herself as one to watch on the African music landscape thanks to the creation of her own Afro-Merge music stylings. The idealistic creator meshes an eclectic blend of her vast musical influences which include Nigerian artists like 9ice, Styl-plus, Dare Art-Alade, Fela and Plantashun Boys all the way to the Backstreet Boys, Freddie Mercury, Daughtry, Dwele and Raheem Devaughn to make up her Afro-Merge rhythms. For the impassioned singer/songwriter, and proud West African cosmopolite, the importance of using her voice to bring her womanist rooted millennial perspective to the forefront is not only timely but very necessary for women worldwide. For those who don’t know, an “Ajebutter” is Nigerian slang for a “spoilt kid” or a “rich kid” and It has the connotation that one has had an easy life and doesn’t know suffering. Marenikae incidentally, feels that every story has a purpose and is worth telling. Whether she’s chronicling the extreme ways of traditions passed down from the stories of her grandmother as in the album’s premiere single “Remember” or whether she’s paying homage to Nigerian icon Sade by way of her follow up single “Smooth Operator”, she does so in her own distinctly bold, sultry and soulful manner. “Ajebutter’s” unique mix of rich African culture meshed with Western European subtexts and overtones is this artists way to musically bridge the Western worlds.
Born Morenikae Lasode, to a Yoruba father and a mother born of the Efik tribe, growing up in a mixed tribal household was enlightening as it gave her an appreciation for deeper aspects of culture. She was no stranger to the world of music and entertainment as her mother majored in theatre arts and her father owned one of the first Nigerian record label’s - ‘Africa N Vogue’, where he worked with several Nigerian artists like Daddy Showkey and the Plantashun Boiz. Her father was also a celebrated film director of several television shows and even cast his daughter in one of his shows titled “First Family”. Marenikae’s mother often produced shows alongside her father making them a film family.
Marenikae went to boarding school at age 10 and graduated at age 16 before heading to the US to attend college. A natural wordsmith, she recalls writing songs and poetry as early as age fourteen stemming from a fascination with spoken word and attending numerous poetry and writing workshops. She credits listening to great orators as the key to perfecting her songwriting skills. She discovered the melodic timing in spoken word resembled her natural writing style and translated to the melodies she discovered in song. She began working on her first demo in Nigeria and took them when she went to Atlanta to shop them at record labels. She recalls the early stages, “At the time we met with record labels the format was changing, they weren’t just signing artistes with just songs anymore, they want artistes to be brands before they put money behind you.” When a record deal was not forthcoming, the ‘Remember’ singer concentrated on graduating from college and after completing her degree in Criminology in Boston, she relocated to Atlanta and got busy building a brand for herself. She began working on her album arduously even using skype to co-produce tracks with her producer Bigfootinyourface (Ezenwa Ogbona) who has worked with artists including Illbliss, and Aramide. The duo collaborated on the singer’s first demo when she was just 15 years old and reunited 10 years later to create Ajebutter magic.
In celebration of her 25th birthday, the West African beauty released her 11-song debut “Ajebutter” in March 2018. on her own independent record label, The Zuchia Nexus. The US received “Ajebutter” with adulation as she received features in mainstream media outlets like Billboard Sound, Singersroom.com, EUR Web, Rolling Out Magazine, OfficialR&BJunkie.com, Right On Digital and more. Returning to her native country for her press tour, Marenikae was overwhelmed with gratitude at the opportunity to make her first television performance on Nigerian Television Assoc (NTA) “ALIBABA SERIOUSLY” where she debuted her hit “Remember”. The whirlwind Nigerian press tour included performance and interview stops at television and radio including: Close Flow, Beats Lounge, Saturday night Alibaba Seriously, Wake up Nigeria, Entertainment Splash, Channels TV, Silverbird Television, Galaxy Television, AIT in Africa, Kennis Music Channel and Ben TV London which airs in the UK. One Tribe Magazine was quoted as saying this of the freshman project, “A debut album without features is a bold statement and a testament to Marenikae’s hustle. Her confidence is through the roof and you can feel it in her voice. This is a feel-good album, and gives you Marenikae’s signature sound, straight from a REAL Ajebutter.”
As if being the flagship artist on her own label wasn’t enough, Marenikae also started a fashion line entitled, MAKAN GID’N. The urban line focuses on luxe African wear with an urban twist. Much like its founder, MAKAN GID’N is a blend of West African culture meshed with urban streetwear. For Marenikae, MAKAN GID’N was her way of creating memorable costuming for her performances. The line represented her music perfectly and allowed her to create an atmosphere that would entertain and educate fans about her native homeland.
Today Marenikae is looking to increase her fan base and find additional opportunities for “The Zuchia Nexus”. “Ajebutter” is currently available on all streaming outlets.