Aṣa (pronounced “Asha”) was born Bukola Elemide in Paris but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. When she was fully grown, the young musician returned to France to pursue her musical career. The rest – her rise to the status of an internationally regarded musician — seems almost predestined. But before all that she was just hanging out in Lagos with her father’s awesomely diverse record collection.
It shows on “Be My Man,” a retro-soul track full of Motown horns, organ, and the charm of ’60s girl-group pop that appears on her 2010 sophomore album Beautiful Imperfection. To some, this might just come off as an impish, Gen Y answer to Sharon Jones or maybe a quirky, retro R&B artist like the UK’s VV Brown. But Aṣa is also an impassioned singer-songwriter who pens poetic reggae-influenced songs of protest like “Jailer” and “Fire on the Mountain” from her critically-lauded, self-titled 2007 debut. Sometimes though, she’s more of a smokey-voiced jazz chanteuse. The truth is, the more you investigate Aṣa, the more of her faces you uncover.