Bisa Kdei’s new album has been four years in the making.
It was meant to come out sooner, but covid got in the way, and now felt like the right time for a piece of work that Bisa Kdei tells me is the story of his personal experience and emotions since he broke through as an artist a decade ago:
“I didn’t think of any other title than Original because this is coming straight from my heart.”
It’s primarily in the first song Next Chapter that Bisa Kdei bares his soul.
The lyrics talk about the fact that the very same day in 2015 that Bisa Kdei dropped his hit song Mansa was also the day his mother died.
Unfortunately, the coincidence led some to jump to deeply hurtful conclusions:
“People started insinuating, they started saying a lot of things, that I used my mum, you know, this juju stuff, and it really got to me, and I really wanted to talk about it but I couldn’t find a proper time to talk about it but I think the time is now.”
Bisa Kdei says he is over the hurt now, and is keen to point out that there’s lots of variety in the album, other songs are about love, partying and happiness.
Original is a departure for Bisa Kdei when it comes to sound. He’s known for songs like Brother, Jwe and of course Mansa, which are clearly heavily indebted to highlife.
He says the song which best demonstrates the new sound he was aiming for is his collaboration with footballer Memphis Depay. It’s called Drinks On Me.
You can hear the full conversation between Bisa Kdei and DJ Edu on This is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa, as well as online here: BBCworldservice.com/thisisafrica