- 20 Apr 22
As UNQ makes her long-awaited return with a brand new single, the Dublin-based rising star discusses her journey to ‘In Or Out’, and embracing her heritage through her music.
What have you been up to since the release of your breakout single, 'Tried', in 2020?
I took a hiatus to master my craft a bit more. I went through the ups and downs of life, which led me to gain more experiences – and helped me find myself, not only as a person but as an artist.
You've returned with a more fearlessly vulnerable approach than ever on 'In Or Out'.
With that new growth and development, I reached a point of accepting myself for who I am. I realised my worth, and I learned about genuinely loving myself – and being me, unapologetically. That helped me truly understand that I can only stretch myself so far. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and it’s equally as important to fill yourself up. I also learned about setting healthy boundaries. Although I’m a believer of wearing your heart on your sleeve, and loving openly, it’s also necessary to let it be known that you won’t accept subpar treatment.
How has your music been influenced by your Hausa heritage?
Being raised in a Nigerian home, I’ve always been aware of my heritage, but growing up in the western world differed my worldview from those raised back home. So, I didn’t have the deepest connection to my background till my late teens, when I would visit the Motherland – especially going to Kaduna, the state I’m from.
R&B is truly my first love, but the older I get, the more I resonate and appreciate the Afro sound. I’m passionate about fusing the two sounds together, to really embody who I am. And even though Nigeria is taking over with Afrobeats, I noticed that there wasn’t much representation for Hausa people in the mainstream. I promised myself that I would do everything I could to be a role model figure to other young Hausa kids. I want all Hausa people to have that sense of pride and joy when they listen to my music. I have plans to incorporate the Hausa language, style and culture into my songs and visuals.
There are so many gifted artists coming out right now. The talent here is unbelievable. What I love most is the varieties in genres – like it’s a melting pot of greatness! There are hidden gems in Ireland, and it’s just a matter of time before the Irish scene gets its well-deserved recognition.
What can we expect from you over the next few months?
You can expect a lot more music from me – I’ve spent more than enough time perfecting my sound! I’m ready to show other sides of my musicality, so expect more harmony-filled R&B songs, but also some uptempo, Afro-R&B sounds.
‘In Or Out’ is out now.