Last week, internationally acclaimed soul-jazz vocalist and songwriter Somi signed to Sony Music’s newly relaunched historic jazz imprint Okeh Records, making her the first East African artiste to join the major label’s roster.
This news follows the ambitious singer’s recent return from an 18-month creative sabbatical in Lagos, Nigeria. Originally from East Africa, Somi was raised in Illinois, USA and currently based in New York City.
Driven by her own curiosity and the fiery energy of the West African metropolis, Somi’s first release on the major label will be an album she calls “The Lagos Music Salon” – a collection of profound story-based songs inspired by her time in Nigeria.
Not only an accomplished musician and performer, Somi is an arts scholar and cultural activist who holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and who has earned the distinction of being named a TED Global Fellow, an inaugural Association of Performing Arts Presenters Fellow, a recognized songwriter at the American Society of Composers and Publishers, and a recipient of numerous international arts grants.
She is also the founder of New Africa Live, an award-winning non-profit organization committed to “carving out a cultural space of belonging for contemporary African artists through events that entertain, educate, and create awareness of the value of African culture in a globalized world.”
Somi’s full name is Laura Kabasomi Kakoma. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Ibulaimu Kakoma and Elizabeth Nyarubona Kakoma. Somi is half Rwandan, half Ugandan.