FOR MARY, MUSIC IS IKO NSI OMA
Nigeria-born and California-raised, Mary Akpa pulls listeners in with her seamless blend of soul, jazz, electronica, and African influences. For Mary music is iko nsi oma— (Igbo, for magical spell). Deeply inspired by community and heritage, Mary conjures sounds to connect and transport audiences. And whether the audience is 10 or 1,000, she meets each stage with a craving to create iko nsi oma. Akpa’s career spans numerous years over several continents, including time spent recording and touring both domestically and internationally. Her musical influences span from Nina Simone, Sade, and King Sunny Ade, to Alice Coltrane, Radiohead and D’Angelo.
Mary’s identity is clearly woven into her musical expression. At the intersection of being Black, Nigerian, and a woman, her experience is the central premise of her creativity. As an artist committed to social change, Mary co-founded Naija Girl Tribe: a non-profit supporting Nigerian girls through mentorship, personal and career development, and peer-focused counseling.
Mary’s latest offerings “Black Body” and “A Hurum Gi N’anya” give us a taste of Nno, her first album in five years, expected Spring 2021.