Saturday, February 13, 2016 7:57 am
The 58th Grammy Awards is two days away with one Nigerian – American making the nomination list for best rap/sung collaboration with his ‘Classic Man’ single.
He is Jidenna Mobisson, the 31 year-old Stanford University graduate, born to a Nigerian father and an American mother.
Jidenna was born in Wisconsin to Tama Mobisson, an accountant, and Oliver Mobisson, a Nigerian Igbo academic. Jidenna grew up in Nigeria, where his father was a professor of computer science at Enugu State University. Jidenna’s name in the Igbo language means to “embrace the father.”
The family moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1995. Jidenna graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, in 2003. He founded a rap group while in high school when he began producing, arranging and writing. Jidenna attended Stanford University, first studying sound engineering but eventually switching his major to “ritualistic arts.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2008, he pursued his music career full-time, moving between Los Angeles, Oakland,Brooklyn and Atlanta. He now lives in Brooklyn.
Jidenna is signed to Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records labeland distributed through Epic Records. He has collaborated with numerous artists, including Roman GianArthur, St. Beauty, Deep Cotton and Janelle Monáe herself, recording a five-song compilation EP titled The Eephus. In February 2015, he released his first single, “Classic Man”,featuring Roman GianArthur, another artist signed to Wondaland Records.
The song has been played in heavy rotation throughout the United States and debuted at number 49 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. On March 31, 2015, the second single from the EP was released – “Yoga” by Janelle Monáe and Jidenna. His song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards.
Jidenna, is a man of style, a nattily dressed singer as the Associated Press decribes him in a recent article.
” He’s straight out of a time machine with his fiery red hair, slicked into a dapper 1930s style, slim suits and a gold watch chain dangling from his pocket. His look is as distinct as his background.”
He started turning heads growing up in Enugu,,Nigeria.
It’s something Jidenna’s mom reminded him of during a recent trip to South Africa, where he kept bumping into fans who recognized him. “My mom, she was saying (to my friends), ‘It was kind of like this for Jidenna as a kid — and it wasn’t because he was a celebrity. It was just because he looked different from everybody in his neighborhood,'” Jidenna said. “‘Whether it was in Nigeria, whether it was in America. If he was in a predominantly white neighborhood, or predominantly black neighborhood, he would just stand out.'”
Jidenna continues to stand out, and not just because of his unique style. There is also his head-turning and head-nod-inducing music.
“Regardless of whether we win or not, that nod is a nod that inspires you to keep doing what you’re doing,” Jidenna said.
The platinum song, which samples Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and has a remix co-starring Kendrick Lamar, peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart; it reached No. 22 on the Hot 100. It was released last year on “The Eephus,” an EP from by Janelle Monae and her Wondaland Arts Society crew, which includes Jidenna.
The singer says he’s busy working on his full-length debut album with input from Monae.
“I feel good about where it’s at right now,” Jidenna said. “I’ll show it to everybody else, and we’ll see what the finishing touches are, and put it out sooner than later.”
As for whether fans can expect a guest feature from Monae, Jidenna said that is likely. Monae has been spending every day working on a project of her own, Jidenna said, and “I’ve been part of the process of her album .so I’m sure that some of our collaborations will end up either on my album or hers.”
*Sourced from AP and Wikipedia.