Literary talent Chibundu Onuzo shares soulful single ‘Mama’, a climate-conscious song for humanity


Olivia Rayner

Chibundu Onuzo is a name you might already associate with the world of books, whereby she’s published several novels from her unique perspective as a Nigerian creative who moved to the UK in 2005. Lauded by New York Times, The Guardian and BBC Radio 4, it’s an impressive career from an incredible talent who also shows that her writing capabilities extend beyond literature and into music. As she so beautifully explains, “Music has always been this part of me that I can never shake. It's the bass line running through my life. I sing, I play the piano and I write my own songs.”

She’s already released debut single ‘Good Soil’ alongside her latest novel SANKOFA, which introduced the soulful resonance of her voice and penchant for contemporary pop melodies, all complete with a stirring music video celebrating the beauty, diversity and strength of the African diaspora.

Now we have Onuzo’s second single ‘Mama’, which takes on a more sombre tone that reflects the dire climate crisis and the deep concern that many now feel for the future of younger generations. Listen here:

"I wrote Mama during the lockdown. I was reflecting on the state of the world and the direction humanity is heading in. I want a better world. I hope we can course-correct."

For all of Onuzo’s musical efforts, she won the Drake Yolanda Award in 2021, her first ever award and one that gave her a grant to further pursue her career as an emerging musician.


Born in 1991, Chibundu Onuzo grew up in Lagos, moved to the UK in 2005 and signed her first book deal at nineteen. Published in 2012 by Faber, Chibundu’s first novel THE SPIDER KING’S DAUGHTER, has won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize.

In 2018, Chibundu performed her musical literary show, 1991, in front of a sold-out audience at the Southbank Centre. In 2020, "Dolapo is Fine," a short film which Onuzo co-wrote, co-produced and composed the film score for, won the 2020 American Black Film Festival's HBO Short Film Competition and was longlisted for a BAFTA in 2021. Published in June 2021 by Virago, Onuzo's most recent novel, SANKOFA, has already been selected by Reese Witherspoon as her book club pick for October.

Source Olivia Rayner

November 10, 2021 5:52am ET by Olivia Rayner  

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