Musumba (Naomie Soda) is a 16-year-old singer/songwriter/instrumentalist of Congolese heritage, who lives and attends school in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She blends contemporary R&B with Afrobeat and hip-hop - often singing, rapping and using spoken word within individual compositions while playing guitar, piano and beat tracks. She has been causing quite a stir since her career was launched with her début single ‘Pourquoi’ in June 2019.
The BBC has identified Musumba as a potential future star. BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire has played her tracks multiple times and in September 2019 she was their studio guest artist. Musumba has also been played on BBC Radio 6 Music and several times on BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio 1Xtra.
Naomie has been into music for as long as she can remember, writing songs and playing piano. Recently she started writing and performing in an Afrobeat/rap genre, using her middle name Musumba as her stage name. She describes her art as experimenting with the fusion of African rhythms with contemporary feminist lyrics, R&B vocals and rap.
In March 2018 Musumba made her first ever public appearance, singing her self-penned 'Feminism Rap' in front of a huge audience in Trafalgar Square at ‘Million Women Rise’, aged 14. In November last year she was invited to support the Brits Award and Mercury Prize nominated Kate Tempest at the Women of the World Festival in Bradford. Naomie was thrilled to receive an amazing reception from a packed audience of 400, many of whom sang back her lyrics and asked for an encore.
At the WOW gig at Kala Sangam Musumba met the singer/songwriter Vanessa Maria, who was main support to Kate Tempest. Vanessa helped Naomie to record two of her tracks at RubixCube Music-Lab in January 2018. Both 'Pourquoi' and 'Different Wave' were released on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play and other streaming platforms.
In May 2019 Musumba's début single was heard by Alan Raw of BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire and in June it was played three times on Radio Leeds and on Radio Sheffield. Tom Robinson of BBC Radio 6 Music also featured the track on his Mixtape show.
Alan Raw said: “Such a raw talent – a total ‘must-hear’. Musumba’s clearly got a big future.” Tom Robinson said: “I just thought what came out of the speakers was brilliant.” And after performing acapella at Bradford Literature Festival in front of a huge audience at St. George's Hall, the organisers referred to Musumba as "taking the mic and stealing the show."
Musumba released her second single, 'Different Wave' in August 2019. BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire have played it several times, presenter Alan Raw referring to Musumba as "super-talented" and "absolutely a star in the making". Adding the track to his weekly mixtape, Faisal Motin of Radio Leeds Grime Up North said "she can sing, she can rap, she can do everything."
Nominated by BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire, Musumba was chosen to represent the county in the 'Musical Mashup' feature of BBC Music Day, the topic of which for 2019 was 'Music and Wellbeing'. Naomie wrote a spoken work piece entitled 'Y O U T H' which she delivered to Elgar's 'Nimrod' from his 'Enigma Variations' performed by the 50-strong Bradford Youth Orchestra in Bradford's Broadway shopping centre. It was described on Radio Leeds as "the jewel in the crown of BBC Music Day in West Yorkshire.
Radio 1Xtra picked up on Musumba while visiting Bradford for a special 'Bradford 1Xtra' show to coincide with BBC Music Day. She was interviewed and played by Kenny Allstar and Kofi Smiles and praised for her young talent by local music icon Jae Depz and 'Voice of Bradford' Faisal Motin.
As a result of being selected for BBC Music Day in West Yorkshire, Musumba was invited to perform at BBC Music Introducing Live 2019 in London at the end of October. During three days at Tobacco Dock she was able to attend workshops by some of the BBC's top music broadcasters and to network with hundreds of fellow emerging artists. She was featured live in session at BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire at Radio Leeds on the BBC Music Introducing Live simulcast that went out across all 39 BBC local radio stations and BBC Radio 6 Music.
Since returning from London Musumba has focused on her academic work, with mock exams early in 2020 and GCSEs in spring/early summer. In her spare time she has co-written and produced tracks with successful Leeds producer Ben Matravers and also worked on new material with leading Bradford grime artist and producer Jae Depz. She is planning to release some of her new music later in 2020.
Musumba is overwhelmed by the speed at which her music career has taken off but has remained calm and balanced. With a very strong family and mentoring team around her, she is determined to keep her feet firmly on the ground, keep writing and recording music and try her best to live up to the wonderful comments she has received from leading lights in the music world.