Simi grew up dancing and singing as a member of her local church’s choir. She wrote her first song at age 10. Her professional music career started in 2008 following the release of her debut studio album Ogaju, which consisted of a variety of songs such as “Iya Temi” and “Ara Ile”. The album was produced entirely by Samklef.
In January 2014, Simi released the 5-track EP Restless; a compilation of covers of top hits by various RNB artists like Rihanna and Adele. This was well received by the public and eventually got her a record deal with X3M Music.
In 2014, Simi released two singles “Tiff” and “E No Go Funny”. Both songs received frequent airplay and were met with generally positive reviews from critics. “Tiff” was released on August 30, 2015, which was nominated for Best Alternative Song at the 2015 edition of The Headies.
In 2015, Simi won the Most Promising Act to Watch category at the 2015 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
On February 14, 2016, Simi released the Oscar Heman Ackah-produced love ballad “Love Don’t Care”. It received frequent radio airplay and was met with positive reviews. “Love Don’t Care” effectively addresses tribalism and discrimination in Nigeria. On October 27, Simi collaborated with Falz to release the EP Chemistry. Oghene Michael of 360 Nobs described the EP as an “experiment of the word art”.
In anticipation of her 12-track second studio album Simisola, Simi released two singles; “Smile for Me” and “Joromi”. Both songs were accompanied by music videos directed by Clarence Peters and Aje Films, respectively.
Music videos for “O Wa Nbe”, “Complete Me”, “Gone for Good” and “Aimasiko” were also released to further promote the album. Simi unveiled the album’s track listing on September 1, 2017. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard World Albums chart.
In March 2019, Simi disclosed that she would be releasing her third studio album Omo Charlie Champagne, Vol. 1 to coincide with her birthday on April 19, 2019. The album is a slight departure from the relatively afro-centric feel of Simisola. It is a mixture of sentimental ballad, Afropop, Afro-fusion, Afro-soul, R&B, EDM and moombahton. The 13-track album featured guest vocals from Patoranking, Maleek Berry, Falz, and her husband Adekunle Gold. Its production was primarily handled by Oscar, with additional production from Vtek, Legendury Beatz, and Sess. Simi dedicated the album to her father Charles Oladele Ogunleye, who died in 2014. Omo Charlie Champagne, Vol. 1 was preceded by three singles: “I Dun Care”, “Lovin” and “Ayo”.
In May 2019, X3M Music announced Simi’s departure following the expiration of her recording contract. Both parties did not renew the contract and agreed to part ways. In June 2019, Simi announced the launch of her independent record label, Studio Brat.
IN CONVERSATION WITH…