Nigerian-American poet, recording artist and TED Fellow, Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo has completed recording her second album, “Gold”, for US-based label Underground Sun. The new 13-song collection of work was released worldwide on July 1, 2016.
The album was recorded in Venice, California over the last year. Key songs include the inspirational “Thunder”, “Hurricane” and “Akomen of Udomi”; a song dedicated to the captured girls in Nigeria. Similar to the last full-length effort by the writing & producing team Iyeoka and producer/ songwriter David Franz, the album captures an eclectic mix of afrobeat, pop, jazz, dance, and rock. “Sinnerman” is an ode and nod to the great Nina Simone who also covers the song. “ Sweet Song” features an award-winning poem.
Although a resident of Boston MA, Iyeoka spends many months in Hawaii where the core of her band Rock By Funk Tribe call their home base. It was in Hawaii where the hypnotic and melodic songs “Who Would Follow” and “Gold” were created and came to life. The album also includes the single “ Every Second Every Hour” which was released in May 2015.
A few of Iyeoka’s many accolades include recipient of 2010 TED Global Fellow and winner of 2009 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. 2016 brought her back to TED to host a conference last June. Her family started and runs the Amenawon Foundation to help less fortunate people in her home country of Nigeria. This is a repeating theme in many of her poems and songs.
Iyeoka means I want to be respected in her native Esan language and the artist is the true embodiment of her name. Daughter of Nigerian-born parents who both hold Doctorate degrees from Boston University, Iyeoka was a practicing pharmacist before launching her career as a poet, singer, activist and educator. By channeling her culture and ancestral influences, she delivers an authentic and inspiring message of healing through her expression in the arts.
Iyeoka has toured in support of artists such as Femi Kuti, Zap Mama and Soul Live, as well as played several musical festivals throughout 2014 and 2015 including Cully Jazz Festival, Colours Festival, Afro Pfingsten, and Helsinki Festival to name a few. The buzz surrounding her poetry has also garnered her national attention through performances at the TBS Trumpet Awards, the Sullivan Honors Awards at the Kennedy Center and Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam on HBO.