Simi reflects on her musical journey from gospel singer to global star

Simi has become a force to be reckoned with in the global music scene, earning international stardom and setting the stage for the future of Afropop and soul. With her unique style and soulful voice, the Nigerian music sensation has amassed over one billion streams across various platforms.

Simi, whose real name is Simisola Bolatito Kosoko, began her career as a gospel singer, releasing her first album Ogaju in 2008. However, when she wanted to produce her Restless EP in 2014, she found herself without a record label and without the funds to pay for production. So, she took matters into her own hands, teaching herself how to record, mix and master her own music by watching videos on YouTube.

“It came to me so naturally,” Simi said in a recent interview with CNN’s Larry Madowo. “I love doing it.”

Simi’s journey from gospel singer to Afropop star “definitely happened organically,” she said. 


Her transition into mainstream music with the hit “Tiff” led to a record deal and a critically acclaimed album, Simisola, that reached the Billboard World Albums Top 5. This album served as her introduction to the world, showcasing her unique style and soulful voice.

“That album was about basically introducing myself and my sound to the world at large,” Simi reflected. “When you hear my name, when you hear my voice, this is what I represent and that was such an intimate process, and it was very important that I got it right.”

Simi’s hard work and dedication have paid off, earning her a spot on Alicia Keys’ 2023 tour and making waves on the Billboard World Album Charts. She continues to write, produce and engineer her own music, launching her own record label, Studio Brat, in 2019.

“I would be in the studio 16 hours a day. I would just take breaks to eat and sleep,” Simi described. “It can be very tedious because it takes a lot of time and you have to be very precise about certain things.”

Simi’s latest release, “Men Are Crazy,” features fellow Nigerian superstar Tiwa Savage, a collaboration that “immediately” came to Simi’s mind as she wrote the track.

“It was just so great having that experience on the song,” Simi said, “and getting both our energies on the same song, and just vibing.”

Simi’s balancing act includes a busy personal life as a wife and mother. She is married to fellow critically acclaimed Nigerian Afrobeats artiste Adekunle Gold, with whom she collaborated on the track “No Forget.”

“We’re both very respectful of each other’s craft and we also respect each other’s opinions,” Simi said of her husband.

Simi’s story is one of self-belief, talent and relentless hard work; her success is a testament to her determination. She is setting the stage for the future of Afropop and soul, proving that there is nothing she can’t do.


Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date