Angélique Kidjo

Bio

Angélique Kidjo is a Beninese singer born in 1960. She is one of the most exciting and electrifying performers in the contemporary music world, in addition to being one of its most original and creative personalities. Angélique’s mission was always to create a common language between different cultures starting from Benin’s cultural heritage and including elements originating from funk, jazz, and samba.

Kidjo recorded her debut album, Pretty, in 1981, from which was extracted the successful single “Ninive”. Due to the political climate in Benin, the artist moved to Paris in 1983 where she began to collaborate with the Euro-African group Pili Pili with whom she published three albums.

In 1990 she released her new solo album, Parakou, which earned her the attention of Island Records that signed the artist in 1991. Angélique’s debut with Island Records, Logozo (1991), was a mix of dance, pop, and African rhythms and revealed itself to be the great success that introduced her to the international public, reaching the first positions of the Billboard World Music Chart. 

Kidjo’s subsequent project was recorded in Prince’s studio, Paisley Park. Ayé was released in 1994 precede by the single “Agolo” which earned the artist her first Grammy nomination thanks to its innovative music video.

After exploring more the Beninese traditional music in Fifa (1996), Kidjo started working on a trilogy of albums composed of da Oremi (1996), Black Ivory Soul (2002), and Oyaya! (2004), exploring the African influences on American music. Combining elements from hip-hop, jazz, and soul, Angélique collaborated with Kelly Price, Dave Matthews, and Kenny Kirkland.

For 2007’s Djin Djinthe Beninese artist was accompanied by artists of the caliber of Peter Gabriel, Josh Groban, Amadou & Mariam and earned her a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album.

In 2014 Kidjo released Eve, an album dedicated to the African women’s resilience and for which she traveled around the continent to record these women singing while working to add them to the album sound. For her extraordinary contribution to music, Angélique received another Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album. That same year, she published her memoir, Spirit Rising, and she debuted with L’orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg with a performance of songs written for her by Philip Glass. A second collaboration with the orchestra in 2015 produces Sings, while in 2018 she explored once again the pop genre dedicating herself to the recording of a cover album of The Talking Head’s Remain in Light. A year later, she released another set of covers, this time in honor of one of her music heroines: Celia Cruz. The album Celia earned her another Grammy in 2020.

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