Singer. Songwriter. Performer. Sound innovator. Philanthropist. These are just some of the magic ingredients that make up Niniola Apata, the singer who has managed to carve her own lane in the bustling Nigerian music scene. (She is also sister to up-and-coming afrobeats star Teniola Apata.) Apata first caught national attention in 2013 as a contestant on the sixth season of the popular Project Fame West Africa. But it was her first single “IBADI” that properly launched her career. Since then, she has built a unique sound for herself as the Afro House queen, one that mixes South African house with the attitude and lyrics that are unabashedly Nigerian. Her 2017 hit “Maradona”—her biggest yet—exemplifies this best.
It is hard to imagine that this mesmerizing performer was once on the path to becoming a teacher. Though her life’s path took a sharp turn, she still sees education as one of the world’s biggest problems. She is doing her part with her “Adopt A Child’s Education” program, which in itself is an ode to the philanthropic nature of her late father. The initiative is aimed at giving brilliant students access to quality secondary school education with full scholarships. “At some point, we were all youths and if someone didn't believe in us we won't be here today,” she tells OkayAfrica.” So because of that, I believe so much in them and their talent…My story has been an encouraging one for any young child out there, so I never hesitate to share it. And based on the success I have been able to achieve, I have made it compulsory to support the younger ones in any way I can.”