Weekend Recall: Aisha Badru Goes to Egypt and Nigeria

by Kara Powell

Hailing from Yonkers, New York, urban folk singer-songwriter and Nettwerk Records signee Aisha Badru uses airy vocals and vivid lyrics to draw listeners into her soulfully emotive world. She's got the heartwarming single "Bridges" out there and protest anthem "Mind on Fire," which has impressively racked up over 5 million streams on Spotify since its release.

The world first met Aisha in 2015 through her self-released Vacancy EP. The project garnered the attention of the advertisement world when the exquisitely hushed single “Waiting Around” was selected by Volkswagen for a viral South African campaign. Since then, Aisha's music continues to buzz, with features on numerous major playlists including Spotify's Feminist Friday, Vevo's Incoming Indie, and most recently on Apple Music's Best of The Week. Her uniquely soulful sound has touched the hearts of many including Afropunk who called it "difficult to describe but impossible not to feel."

The single "Bridges" is a powerful song about overcoming obstacles in a relationship. Aisha filmed this introspective visual to accompany the stripped version of the track that captures the emotion of the song beautifully. Check out her "Bridges" single here along with her Weekend Recall in Egypt and Nigeria below. 

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"The first time I fell in love with the world was from behind my television screen when I was just a kid. I was especially entranced by all the mystery and wonder that shrouded Egypt. I used to dream of being an archeologist, going on adventures and excavating pyramids. Although those visions did not come to fruition, the seeker in me never died, and when I found out that I would have a 20-hour layover in Egypt while in transit to Nigeria, I was stoked."

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"Arriving in Egypt honestly felt like everything was coming full circle. We are now at a point in history where we are at the height of technology and it appears that the megalithic structures in Egypt are remnants of a society at the height of technology as well. Two time eras colliding and here I am right here in the middle witnessing it all. There are still many mysteries to be unraveled, so I’m sure I’ll be back. In this life or the next."

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"If the only images you have of Africa are from infomercials, then you will likely forget that this continent is one of the lushest, resource dense places in the world, filled with so much beauty. Nigeria is where my father was born. After teaching as a professor in America for many years, he is now retired and decided to go back home. On the other hand, I was born and raised in the United States, without any knowledge of who the other half of my family was or who the other part of me was. This is officially my second time here--the only other time being last year. We began our sightseeing at the Badagry Beach in Lagos and spent the rest of our time eating pounded yam and catching up with relatives."

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"A highlight of my trip was visiting my father's old elementary school in the city of Ile-Ife. I went into all the classrooms and the majority of them had inspirational messages written on the chalkboards. Although there are many modern schools throughout Nigeria, this school in particular still lacks a lot of the amenities that we take for granted in the United States."

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"To see the inspirational writing on the chalkboards reminded me that there is plenty room for change and I know that I want to be a part of that change in Africa someday. I would love to fund a project that spreads solar energy in Nigeria because energy is a serious issue there. Currently, the population’s main source of power is sourced by generators that need to be fueled by petrol oil every few hours. Can you imagine that?"

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"Overall, this trip was very soul-fulfilling and I feel like I have expanded so much. Traveling around the world is like having a mirror held up to you from new angles that allow you to see parts of yourself that you could not see before. You become reunited with the full picture that we often forget we're a part of and that we often forget we are co-creating."


Written by Aisha Badru
Photography by Aisha Badru