Nneka Lucia Egbuna (born 24 December 1980) is a Nigerian-German hip
hop/soul singer and songwriter. She sings in both English and Igbo.
Nneka is the daughter of an Anambra state- Igbo Nigerian father
and a German mother. She was born and raised in Warri, in the
Delta region of Nigeria, and went to the primary school of the Delta
Steel Company, then the secondary school at the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation. Nneka relished the experience of singing from
an early age in her school and in the church choir. After relocating
to Hamburg, Germany, at the age of 18, she pursued a career in singing
alongside a degree in Anthropology. She now divides her time between
Nigeria and Hamburg.
Since 2003 Nneka has been working closely with the hip hop beatmaker
DJ Farhot, a producer living in Hamburg. As a young singer she first
gained public attention in 2004 while performing as an opening act
for dancehall reggae star Sean Paul at Hamburg Stadtpark. After much
acclaim, Nneka was given a green light to record her first album.
After releasing her debut EP 'The Uncomfortable Truth' with the
music label Yo Mama's Recording Company, she performed on her first
tour with Patrice Bart-Williams in April 2005, playing shows in Germany,
Austria and Switzerland.
She finished recording her first album in the autumn of 2005. Entitled
'Victim of Truth', it was released not only in Germany but also in
England, France, Netherlands, Nigeria and Japan. Garnering rave reviews
from the media, the UK's Sunday Times later declared it “the
year’s most criminally overlooked album”, comparing it
favourably to 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill'.
Following the release of the album, Nneka enjoyed a sustained and
successful period of touring, performing at festivals such as Chiemsee
Reggae Summer, Haarlem (BevrijdingsPop), Den Haag (Park Pop) and
Saint-Brieuc (Art Rock Festival) as well as in respected venues like
La Maroquinerie and New Morning in Paris, Tivoli in Utrecht, Paradiso
in Amsterdam and Cargo and ULU in London. She has also supported
artists such as Femi Kuti, Bilal, Seeed, and Gnarls Barkley.
In February 2008 she released her second album, 'No Longer at Ease'.
The title of the album is taken from a novel of the same name by
Chinua Achebe and reflects the lyrical content of the record. Most
of the songs are political, talking about the plight of the Niger
Delta and the corruption in Nneka’s homeland. “No Longer
at Ease” combines the political and the personal in “a
winning mix of soul, hip-hop an reggae”. The lead single
from it, 'Heartbeat', became her first song to break into the German
Top 50. In September 2009, the song entered the UK Singles Chart
at number twenty.
The following months saw tours in France, Italy and Portugal, while
she also supported Lenny Kravitz on his French tour in April 2009.
Nneka has been nominated in three categories for the 2009 Channel
O Music Video Awards, and won an award for Best African Act at
the 2009 MOBO Awards.
In late 2009, she was chosen as of one Beyond Race Magazine's "50
Emerging Artists," resulting in a spot in the publication's
#11 issue (with Bodega Girls and J. Cole on the cover), as well as
an exclusive Q&A for the magazine's site.
In November 2009, Nneka staged her first concert tour of the United
States where she performed shows in New York City, Vienna (Washington
DC), Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Furthermore
she was a special guest on The Roots Jam session. Her first US release
Concrete Jungle was set for 2 February 2010.
Her track 'Kangpe' is also featured as a soundtrack on the EA Sports
FIFA 2010 video game.
In January 2010, Nneka appeared in Late Show with David Letterman
in New York before getting her US tour underway.
In June 2010, she won the reggae category of the Museke Online Africa
Music Award 2010 with her hit song, Africans.
She agreed to go on tour with Nas and Damian Marley to help them
promote their 'distant relatives' album. She has done a remix of
her highly rated track, 'heartbeat' with Nas which is expected to
be made public soon.
She has also agreed to participate in this year's Lilith Fair Concert
(2010) where the likes of Tegan & Sara, Sarah McLachlan, Kelly
Clarkson, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mary J. Blige,
Rihanna and others will be performing. She will be performing in
Washington, Raleigh and Charlotte (United States). She recorded a
song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa called "Viva
Africa". It is a tribute to the premier mundial on African soil.
She won the award for best indigenous artist in Nigeria at the Nigerian
Entertainment Awards 2010 which was held in New York, U.S.A.
 Musical style
Even though Nneka sings more than raps, she names hip hop as her
primary musical root and most important source of inspiration, while
citing artists such as Fela Kuti and Bob Marley as well as contemporary
rappers Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Lauryn Hill as key influences in
her own pursuit of musical recognition.
Her lyrics reflect much of her history and life in Nigeria as well
as her time spent in Western Europe. Her songs stress the issues
of capitalism, poverty and war and are often loaded with moral and
biblical messages and references, with some music commentators comparing
her to Erykah Badu, Neneh Cherry and Floetry.
2005: Victim of Truth
2008: No Longer at Ease
2011: Soul Is Heavy
2009: To and Fro (3 CD-Box-Set)
2009: J.Period & Nneka The Madness (Onye-Ala) Free Download
2010: Concrete Jungle
2005: The Uncomfortable Truth
2005: The Uncomfortable Truth
2006: God of Mercy
2008: Heartbeat #9 Portugal, #20 UK, #34 Austria, # 49 Germany
2011: "Beat The World"