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Suffer Suffer by Lady Donli

In the first few seconds of Suffer Suffer, you will hear a chorus of voices break into a chant that is very reminiscent of Fela Kuti’s live backup singers. The chorus plays throughout the song, and the rest of the song doesn’t stray too far from that iconic traditional Afro-pop vibe that Fela imprinted on Nigeria. But airy, dominant voice of Lady Donli is a strange and compelling force of its own. Her tone and the strange, disorganized rhythm of her lyrics will keep you in attendance until the song ends.

The Fela-esque afrobeats instrumentals and Lady Donli’s fairly conscious lyrics combine in Suffer Suffer to produce a song that is almost political. But instead of generating toxicity with blame or sarcasm, Lady Donli encourages listeners with a playful and optimistic anthem saying ‘I no come here to suffer’. The song is her personal story of hard work and a call for equal opportunities.

The song Suffer Suffer is a track off Lady Donli’s late August album Enjoy Your Life. The album, released on the 23rd of August, is a fascinating and experimental blend of different sounds that manage to compliment each other. Every track is a kind of experience separate from, but very related to the one before it. The album features alternative jazz, funk, Afro-pop, and a futuristic twist on soul. And like the title implies, the message is ‘Enjoy Your Life’. Lady Donli emphasizes the theme in Suffer Suffer and some of the other songs on the album like Cash and Good Time.

Zainab Elizabeth Donli is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and a law graduate from the University of Surrey in England. She has earned recognition, along with a strong and supportive fan base, with songs from the past 5 years like Mr. Creeper, Icecream, and Koshe Ni. She spent most of her early life in Abuja around cassette tapes and studios. Her music is influenced by the artistic freedom of singers like Erykah Badu, Andre 3000, Nneka, Asa, and Sade.

Like many promising Nigerian talents making an impact in the music industry these days, Donli’s sound is beyond borders. The budding artist has performed in a number of headline shows within Nigeria and abroad like: The Living Room Tour Lagos, Lady Donli Live in Toronto, Lady Donli Live in Ottawa, Lady Donli Live in LA, Lady Donli Live in New York, Lady Donli and the Cavemen Lagos, and The Wallflower Experience, Abuja.

Lady Donli has been ‘eazing’ her way into the spotlight for some time now with the benefit of mentorship from one of Africa’s biggest stars, Mr. Eazi. In 2018 she was featured on Eazi’s mixtape ‘Life Is Eazi Vol. 2’, and became a finalist in the Empawa Africa project, Mr. Eazi’s incubator program for emerging African artists. Her latest work is a mature development in her music, it gives proof that she is blossoming under the influence.


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Featured image source: Naija Vibes

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Tochi Onwubiko is a 'Jack' of many trades. A designer, book editor, lawyer and happy freelance writer. She enjoys drinking tea, sitting in quiet spaces, and reading thick books. She hopes to publish books one day. She also loves a good house party. If you know about any good books or parties, leave a comment on one of her posts.

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