If you have yet to hear of Naomi Achu, prepare to fall in love. Born and raised in Cameroon, the singer, songwriter, and rapper is best known for blend of African, Western, and Caribbean sounds, straddling a melting pot of genres from Hip-Hop to Afrobeat to R&B and even pop.
Boasting 1.4 million followers on Instagram alone, Naomi Achu has a whole vibe beyond the music, bringing her bubbly personality and vibrant style to audiences all around the world. In fact, her music videos speak for themselves, showcasing Naomi in the spotlight as she flexes her standout vocals, witty bars, and colorful fashion style.
Naomi Achu draws inspiration from African Royalty Manu Dibango and her mentor, the legendary Wes Madiko. But when it comes to her biggest musical influences, it’s none other than Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
Most recently, Naomi Achu unveiled her newest single titled “Waiting All My Life,” an idea that came to her immediately as she heard the beat. Having won two prestigious AFRIMA awards, this year Naomi also took home the Humanitarian award for her community involvement and charitable works.
Sheen spoke with Naomi Achu via Instagram Live, who was in high spirits in Washington D.C. Read below as we discuss her roots, new single, studio essentials, fashion influence, and more!
For those who don’t know, who is Naomi Achu?
Naomi Achu is a singer, rapper, songwriter, Afrobeat. Origin is Cameroon. So yes, I’m by way of Cameroon. A lot of people ask “where is Cameroon?” Sometimes, they confuse it with Cambodia. Cameroon is right beside Nigeria, we’re sister countries. I do Afrobeat. I do Afro fusion. I write most of my songs, almost all because I enjoy writing. It’s a way of self-expression. That’s me in a nutshell.
What was it like growing up in Cameroon?
Growing up in Cameroon, it was good. The food is good. The food was good back then, and it’s good now. I’ll say that. The music scene is good, but because we’re not as populated, we’re not one of the more populated countries so getting out and being seen by the world is sometimes a challenge. But I wasn’t always in Cameroon. I moved from Cameroon to England, because my dad was working at the embassy. I was in class with people from all over the world: Jamaica, India, all over. My background growing up from childhood is very diverse.
Where are you located now?
I’m in D.C. I just came back from Miami. I was doing some networking there. It’s beautiful. The weather is not as good as Miami. I wish I could have stayed in Miami but I’m here, so we gon’ make it work.
Was Miami lit?
What I went for was lit, because there was the Snipes, We The Best collaboration. They launched their collaboration. I was in this store, it was amazing. DJ Khaled showed up, his team showed up. It was great, I was really happy to be there.
Is Naomi Achu your real name?
Yes, I’m a born Achu. The name is very big coming from Cameroon. We have diplomats, we have prime ministers, we have governors. Naomi is a name that I grew up with, it’s an English name. I have a tribal name, but I usually go by Naomi to make it more marketable. But I’ve had that since 12.
You just dropped “Waiting All My Life.” Who or what inspired this record?
It was the beat. I was inspired by the beat. I heard the beat like, let me see what I can write to it. I was heading to the studio. I came up with the hook first. I’m like, what lyrics can I use that can make this really pop? All my life, waiting all my life. I started writing. At that moment in time, it wasn’t personal. It was just a song. When I went into the verses, I had to make this more personal so the people can relate. It was the verses that became a little bit more personal, then the hook was “waiting on my life.”
Best memory from the video shoot?
I really enjoyed the yacht. I don’t get to be on a yacht so often, because I’m always either on the road or doing a show, or in D.C. I really enjoyed being on the yacht, shooting on the yacht. I felt totally in my element and I would love to do it again and again and again.
Where did you shoot it?
That was in Miami. I told everybody in Miami: y’all go mess around and make me move to Miami because I keep coming back. [laughs]
Does the D.C. influence your music at all? Because they have a huge go-go scene.
You know, not so much. I have been in conversation with a go-go band about doing a go-go, Afrobeat remix thing. It would definitely be something different, so that’s something I’m working on. I love D.C. I am in communication and doing some music with some R&B artists, because R&B is heavy in DC. They used to call it the Chocolate City.
3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Water, but regular temperature. Not hot, not cold. I need water. I need a good engineer. I need a good internet. Funny enough, I don’t need a big system or big speakers. Because to me, it’s not about the equipment. It’s about the engineer. You could get the best studio set to a beginner engineer, and they wouldn’t know what to do with it. So give me a good engineer, some water, and give me my internet.
What inspires your fashion?
Color. I love color. Color makes me feel good. I step out the doorstep of my home and I’m feeling good. Anything colorful. Right now, I have on a shirt that looks similar to the Jamaican flag. It’s red, yellow, orange. Anything color makes me happy. I shop everywhere. I shop from high end to mid end to low end. Because to me, it’s not always about the maker. It’s about how it fits on your body.
What are your beauty go-to’s?
Lots of water. Lots and lots and lots of water, water cures everything. It prevents a lot of things. If you think about it, all these toxins that stay in your body, how do you flush them out? Drink water. If you’re drinking alcohol mixed with soda every day, day in day out, those toxins stay there. They become different kinds of chemicals, then they turn into something else in your body. But that’s why some people, when they drink, when they go out, they’ll drink water after to prevent themselves from getting [sick]. But also to flush out all the toxins in your body.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
Follow me. Instagram is @imanaomiachu. Facebook is Naomi Achu. YouTube, I’m everywhere. Support, like, share, comment. Come to my shows. Stay Beautiful. Stay creative. Stay humble.