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  • Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Aya Danioko (Aya Nakamura)

Jun 17, 2024 #Aya Danioko, #Aya Nakamura
singer Aya Daniokosinger Aya Danioko

Aya Danioko, known professionally as Aya Nakamura, is a French-Malian singer-songwriter.

She began publishing her music online, gaining a following with “Karma” and “J’ai mal”. Dembo Camara, a long-time friend, became her producer and manager. Notably, her song “Brisé”, garnered traction on YouTube, and a duo with rapper Fababy “Love d’un voyou” resulted in her charting in France for the first time. She released her debut album Journal intime in 2017, followed in 2018 by its follow-up Nakamura, which was certified Diamond in France. More than 1.2 million copies have been sold worldwide, and her songs rank high in French-speaking countries and abroad. It spawned the hit singles “Djadja” and “Copines” and launched the singer’s international career. The same year, she beat the record held by Édith Piaf since 1961 as the most listened-to French-speaking female artist in the Netherlands.

Throughout her career, Nakamura has accumulated five number-one songs and a number-one album in France. She was awarded a Victoires de la Musique award for her 2020 album, Aya, which was certified double platinum in 2023, having sold 200,000 copies. She also won an NRJ Music Award and received multiple nominations for the MTV Europe Music Award for Best French Act. Two years after its release, Nakamura surpassed a billion streams on Spotify, making the singer the most-listened-to French-language female artist on the platform.

In February 2023, she became Lancôme‘s international beauty muse.

Years active: 2014–present
Born Age: May 10, 1995, 29 years old and 2 months, Bamako, Mali
Sun Sign: Taurus
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Hair Color: Black
Height: 5 ft 9 in – 1.76 m
Measurements: 38-27-41 in – 97-70-105 cm
Bra size: 42D US – 95D EU
Genres: Pop, Afrobeats, Zouk, R&B
Instrument: Vocals

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Early life

Aya Danioko comes from a family of griot, West African storytellers, praise singers, and poets of oral traditions. She immigrated to France with her family as a child and grew up in Aulnay-sous-Bois. She applied for French nationality as an adult and was granted it in May 2021.

She is the oldest of five siblings.

Danioko studied fashion at La Courneuve. In a 2017 interview with Le Monde, she stated, “I wanted to be a fashion designer, but that stopped appealing to me, so I sang”. She later launched into music under the stage name Aya Nakamura, after the character Hiro Nakamura of the American science fiction TV drama Heroes.

Career

2014–2017: Journal intime

In 2014, at the age of 19, Nakamura released her first single, “Karma”, on Facebook. With the help of producer Seysey, she composed the breakup song “J’ai mal”, with a zouk-inspired melody.

In 2016, she made the song “Brisé” with composer Christopher Ghenda. She followed it with “Love d’un Voyou”, featuring rapper Fababy. She performed at the Modibo-Keïta stadium in Bamako, opening for American-Nigerian star Davido.

In January 2016, she signed a deal with Rec. 118 and Parlophone, a subsidiary of Warner Music France. The same year, she released the single “Super Héros”, featuring rapper Gradur.

On 25 August 2017, she released her debut album, Journal intime, led by her first platinum hit, “Comportement“. The record was certified platinum in France. On 23 September 2017, she participated in La Nuit du Mali at Bercy, in order to celebrate Malian Independence Day. She shared the stage with Oumou Sangaré and other Malian artists, such as Cheick Tidiane Seck, Lassana Hawa, and Mokobé.

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2018–2020: Nakamura

On 6 April 2018, Nakamura released “Djadja“—the first single from her second album—which stayed two consecutive weeks at number one on the French charts and was later certified Diamond.

The song became a hit in France as well as internationally. Nakamura became the first French female artist to reach number one in the Netherlands since Édith Piaf with “Non, je ne regrette rien“, in 1961.

“Djadja” was also the first Francophone song since 2009 to reach the top of the Dutch charts, the last one being “Alors on danse” by Belgian artist Stromae. “Djadja” then conquered charts and radios all over Europe.

Nakamura’s next single was “Copines”, released in August 2018. It entered at number four in France before climbing to number one in November 2018 and was also certified Diamond.

On 2 November 2018, Nakamura released her second album, Nakamura.

In January 2019, she won the European Music Moves Talent Award for Best Urban album.

In February 2019, she was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Urban Album at the France Music Awards.

In April 2019, she released the video for “Pookie”, which became the most-viewed French music video that year. In August, she issued a remix of the song, featuring American rapper Lil Pump.

In May 2019, she was portrayed by The New York Times as “one of the most important acts in Europe now, musically and socially”.

In June 2019, she earned her first nomination at the BET Awards as Best International Act.

In October, “Djadja” went Platinum in Spain and Portugal, while “Pookie” was certified double Platinum in Italy.

On 25 October 2019, Nakamura released a re-issue of the now double Platinum Nakamura, with five new songs, including the top-five single “40%”.

In the December year-end recaps, she was named Most Watched French female artist in 2019 by YouTube and Most Streamed French female artist in 2019 by Spotify.

On 3 January 2020, she was announced to be perform at that year’s Coachella Festival.

On 12 June, Nakamura released a Spanish-language version of “Djadja”, with Colombian singer Maluma.

2020–2021: Aya

On 17 July 2020, Nakamura released the single “Jolie nana“, from her third studio album, Aya. It debuted at number one on the French singles chart and achieved Gold status in two weeks.

On 9 October, she issued the second single from the album, “Doudou”. It peaked at number 6 in France, in the top 40 in Belgium, and number 16 on the UK Afrobeats chart.

Aya came out on 13 November and included collaborations with StormzyMs Banks, and Oboy.

On 26 March 2021, Major Lazer released a deluxe edition of their album Music Is the Weapon containing the song “C’est cuit”, which features Nakamura and Swae Lee. This was followed on 27 May by the non-album single “Bobo“, which peaked at number three on the French singles chart. Nakamura was also featured on French rapper Franglish‘s song “Sans moi”, from his album Vibe. It was released as a single in August, and its music video reached one million views in 24 hours. Nakamura’s image on the cover of Vogue France was chosen as the favourite magazine cover of 2021.

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2022–present: DNK

Throughout 2022, Nakamura released three non-album singles: “Dégaine” featuring Damso, “Méchante“, and “VIP“. “Dégaine” debuted atop the French singles charts, while the other two reached the top 40. In October, Nakamura performed a virtual concert in the video game Fortnite, becoming the first French artist to do so. This was followed by the release of “SMS” in December as the lead single from her fourth studio album, DNK. The album was released on 27 January 2023 and peaked atop the French albums chart for two consecutive weeks. It was further promoted by two other singles, “Baby” and “Daddy”, featuring SDM. On 17 August, Nakamura surprise-released a deluxe version of DNK, featuring three additional songs.

On 25 January 2024, she issued the single “Hypé“. It was followed on 7 March by a remix in collaboration with Ayra Starr. At the second edition of the Flammes Awards [fr] in April 2024, she won three awards, the most wins of that year.

Artistry

Nakamura’s music draws on genres such as pop, R&B, zouk, and Afrobeats, with Shamira Ibrahim of Pitchfork calling her “fearlessly genre-bending”. She writes her own lyrics, which are in French and make frequent use of argot as well as expressions borrowed from other languages such as English, Arabic, and Bambara. Due to her family’s background, she has sometimes been described as continuing the griot tradition, but she argues that her work is different.

Public image

Le Figaro has described Nakamura as a polarising figure in France. Her lyrics in particular have been the subject of much debate in the country. Detractors consider that her use of slang devalues the French language, with some, such as far-right commentator and politician Éric Zemmour, calling her lyrics “a foreign language”. On the other hand, linguists tend to defend her work; they view it as part of the broader tradition of French poetry and songwriting that helps keep the language alive. In November 2020, deputy Rémy Rebeyrotte of the centrist party Renaissance cited Nakamura during his argument in favour of a law that would ban discrimination based on accent in France, saying that the way she “reinvents” French expressions is “remarkable”. Nakamura herself has expressed frustration over constantly being asked to explain the meaning of her lyrics and believes that this may be related to misogyny, as “there are [male] rappers who invent much worse” in her opinion. She has stated that “there are lots of people who speak like me and young people who understand”.

Nakamura is also known for her “boastful” and “unapologetic” persona, which has been compared to that of artists such as Rihanna and Cardi B. This has earned her accusations of being haughty, which she countered with “I see it as confidence”. Rokhaya Diallo wrote in The Guardian that her persona “may be why she draws such a hostile reaction in a country that tends to demand humility and gratitude from minorities”. Conversely, she has been described as a symbol of empowerment, particularly for black women. Malian singer Oumou Sangaré has praised the way that Nakamura “built a name for herself in a male-dominated world” and considers her an inspiration for young people, while French fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, who has worked with Nakamura, views her as representative of her generation, “whether … men or women, black or not”. Her song “Djadja” has frequently been quoted in demonstrations against sexist violence in France. Although she does not view her work as feminist, she has said that she is “happy if [her] songs speak for themselves”.

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2024 Paris Olympics harassment

In March 2024, it was reported that Nakamura was being considered by French president Emmanuel Macron to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, with the possibility that she would sing an Édith Piaf song. Neither Macron nor Nakamura confirmed the rumour. Nonetheless, this led to protests, especially from the far-right, including a banner by Les Natifs (a splinter group of Les Identitaires) that read, “There’s no way, Aya. This is Paris, not the Bamako market.” Politician Marine Le Pen, the former president of the National Rally, also criticised the rumoured decision, deeming it a “provocation” and a “humiliation” on Macron’s part. The backlash was described as racist by French politicians and public figures as well as by international media. In response, Nakamura received support from the Paris 2024 committee and others, including French Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and Minister of Culture Rachida Dati. According to an Odoxa [fr] poll, 63% of French people disapproved of Nakamura performing at the Olympics.

On 15 March, an investigation into racist online posts towards Nakamura was opened following complaints filed by the LICRA and SOS Racisme. Nakamura herself responded to the backlash with a social media post stating, “You can be racist but not deaf… That’s what hurts you! I’m becoming a number 1 state subject in debates… but what do I really owe you? Nada.” This was followed by another post thanking those who had supported her, “especially my community”. In April, Macron stated that Nakamura “speaks to a good number of our fellow citizens” and that he thought she was “absolutely in her rightful place in an opening or closing ceremony”, but he did not confirm whether she would perform and said that the decision was up to the ceremony’s artistic director.

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Personal life

2 Childrens

Nakamura is Muslim. Since 2019, she has supported the ALIYAH association, created by the parents of a young girl suffering from hemolytic-uremic syndrome.

Nakamura gave birth to her first child, a daughter, in 2016. She has declined to share the father’s identity. In 2019, she was in a brief relationship with her “Sucette” collaborator Niska. She has accused him of domestic violence and expressed regret over not pressing charges.

In October 2020, she confirmed her relationship with music video producer Vladimir Boudnikoff, with whom she had worked previously.

Their daughter was born in January 2022.

After an incident in August of the same year, Nakamura announced the couple’s separation in October. Both Nakamura and Boudnikoff were charged with reciprocal domestic violence in relation to the events of August 2022.

On 23 February 2023, a Bobigny judge ruled that Nakamura had to pay a €10,000 fine, while Boudnikoff had to pay €5,000.

About her

She have French nationality since june 2021

7 things you didn’t know about Aya Nakamura

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