not a member? click here to sign up
The Liberty Belle
From the mean streets of Brooklyn to the not quite so mean streets of Drogheda, it’s been a long strange journey for AMASIS singer Nofe Liberty. But the former Miss Africa Ireland and her band are poised to take the pop world by storm with a crackling electro sound. Here Nofe talks about life in the ‘hood, her Nigerian pop star father and burning up the red carpet at the Meteors.
Stuart Clark, 22 Mar 2010
I thought my decision to leave Monaco in the 1990s to go and work in Limerick – it’s a very long story – was a pretty far out one, but I’ve just been trumped by Amasis lead singer, actress and former Miss Africa Ireland Nofe Liberty.
“I’m from a part of Brooklyn which is the ‘hood, but my Mom wasn’t digging it so we moved to Drogheda where my Auntie lives,” Nofe (it’s pronounced no-fay) says in a don’t-mess-with-me Noo Yawk drawl. “Was it a culture shock? Hell, yeah! There weren’t many Africans living in Drogheda then, so we got a load of looks and comments – some of them not very nice. Most the people were cool though and the atmosphere – man, I loved all that peace and calm! When I came over for the first time in September 2004 it was for a holiday, but as soon as I got back to Brooklyn and the craziness started again I knew I wanted to live here all the time. So I am!”
Exactly how tough was her neighbourhood?
“Coming out of your door you were like, ‘What am I going to see today?’” she proffers. “My Mom made sure I kept out of trouble – I didn’t go to clubs or nothing growing up – but there was always a danger you’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get caught up in something. The main reason we came here was to leave that gang culture behind.”
Yes, as mean as the streets of Drogheda are, they don’t have the Bloods, Crips, 36th Mob, Cojones Squad, Deceptions, La Familia and Latin Kings fighting turf wars on them.
Scrape away the hard as nails accent, and Nofe is a super-friendly person whose first love is her family.
“They’re everything to me,” she smiles. “My Mom – who’s trying to get her Liberty label off the ground here – made the dress I wore at the Meteor Awards and my Dad, Felix Liberty, is a big pop star in Nigeria. I used to go over there with him all the time. One of my favourite childhood memories was when he played in the State House, and all these business guys who’d been standing there in their suits looking serious suddenly started dancing around. Watching him get reactions like that is what made me want to be a performer.”