Femi Kuti is a Nigerian musician, whose father Fela Kuti, founded the Afrobeat genre. Born in 1962, he spent his childhood in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, with his mother. However, at the age of 16, Femi chose to live in with his father; the following year, he left school and decided to become a member of the band Egypt 80.
In 1986, he formed a group of his own, and named it Positive Force. He continued to tour and perform, and by the mid-nineties, his career was beginning to take off. A record label called Tabu offered him a deal, which he quickly accepted, and his first album was released in 1995. It was inevitable that people would draw comparisons between his music and that created by his father; many contended that Femi’s approach to the genre made it more accessible and enjoyable to listen to.
Whilst from a professional perspective, the nineties were a very successful period for Femi, this was also one of the darkest times in his life. In 1997, his father passed away, and just a few months later, so did Sola, his sister. Femi turned to his music for solace, and ended up creating one of his most emotive songs, which he entitled ’97′. This is a piece which most music fans, including Tunde Folawiyo, are probably familiar with.
During the same year, MCA signed Femi, and after a considerable amount of promotional work, the label released Femi’s second album, Shoki Shoki, in 1999. Like his first, this work proved to be very popular, and received a great deal of praise from some of the top music publications, including Vibe and Rolling Stone.
As a fan of the Afrobeat genre, Tunde Folawiyo might recall that after a couple of years of touring, Femi released another album called Fight to Win, which consisted of a series of collaborations with musicians like Jaguar Wright, Mos Def and Common. In 2002, Femi suffered yet another tragic loss, when his mother passed away at the age of 60. This led to him taking a break from his career that lasted until 2008, when he released Day by Day, which was a resounding success. His latest album was launched last year by Knitting Factory, and was entitled No Place for My Dream.