California-based Charity Ekeke released She, an 11-track album, in October 2016. It contains messages that are, unsurprisingly, directed towards women.
The topics touched upon are broad and for some numbers, different from what we are used to—birth control, for example—which makes this album intriguing, to say the least. Ekeke has retained an accent from her native Nigeria which makes this release uniquely appealing. The overall sound is 1980s and 1990s pop, although the various songs take all the space they can take within these genres, creating music with the purpose to inspire.
The joyful and fun pop rock of “He Takes All My Breath Away” takes listeners back to the ’80s, especially because of the keyboard highlights throughout. Similarly, “Talk to Me” is a fun tune, although it is a call for a more meaningful and deeper form of communication than the text messaging and other superficial forms that seem to have taken over. Because of the uptempo, rhythmic, and tongue-in-cheek style taken on by Ekeke, listeners might be more open to the message. Similarly, the anthemic “You Belong” discusses the importance of getting an education and does so in an engaging and inspiring way.
A funk feel can be heard in “If the Roles Were Reversed”. The backbone of the track is a rhythm set by smooth, wah-wah-pedaled guitars, drums, bass, and Ekeke’s warm, rich vocals that seem to flow and dance, coming together to create an engaging and toe-tapping number. A funk influence is also clearly discernible in the pop rock number “Don’t Call Them” which calls us to be fair towards prostitutes and teenage mothers by not calling them “bad girls”, but rather to see the societal structures that helped get them there in the first place instead.
Despite being upbeat, “Bloodline” remains a quiet track. Inspired by the very serious topic of the Syrian migrant crisis, it comes off to the inattentive listener as cheerful and lighthearted. But a little attention to the lyrics will make it clear that it is a call for unity. Despite the dark inspiration of this song, Ekeke manages to make it uplifting, thus leaving listeners with a sense of hope.
When I read that “These Times” was about birth control, I expected anything but a pop rock song (with quiet ’80s keyboard synths). It will probably take a lot of others listeners by surprise when they realise that this fun track is about something so serious. Similarly, Ekeke’s treatment of the topic of the abuse that women around the world suffer from in “She Bears” encourages listeners to see beyond the immediate darkness of the matter to work for a better future. The tune is a midtempo, rhythmic, electronic-flavoured, anthemic pop rock track that oozes attitude.
A completely different sound is also available on She. The soothing and uplifting “All I Know” is an adult contemporary power ballad of the kind that ruled the airways in the 1990s. The trembling quality to Ekeke’s vocals gives them a certain vulnerability that suits the themes and the melody. “I’ll Catch You If You Fall” is similarly a relaxing, lighthearted, soothing ballad, while the slower “Look at Me Now” borders on melancholic.
Although different from what listeners might be used to, this is an album worth supporting just because of the topics it discusses as well as the way it goes about doing so. Tracks are available for streaming on her SoundCloud page. More information about the singer-songwriter is available on her official website and Facebook page.