After recording Afrobeats and pop songs, Nigerian singer Belliyah goes reggae on Different and Smile, her latest singles. They are produced by Tuffgig Music Empire, an independent company based in New York.

Different tackles racism while Smile is an uptempo, lovers rock track. Both feature Jamaican musicians.

Belliyah, a radio personality in Lagos, began recording songs three years ago. She starts the new year with confidence after an encouraging 2022.

"It came with a lot of learning, unlearning and relearning. I must say that it's been a success. The recognition took a further height in 2022 and it gave me more courage to keep pushing," she said. "And I guess working with Hardy Jimbaz made the success push more and more achievable."

Jimbaz is head of Tuffgig Music Empire. A former reggae artiste from Lagos, he has lived in New York for many years and worked with several Jamaican artistes and musicians.

In 2022, he introduced Afro-roots-reggae, a blend of indigenous sounds from his homeland and Rasta-inspired music he first listened to during the 1980s.

On Different and Smile, Belliyah was backed by veteran Sidney Mills, the English-born, Jamaica-raised keyboardist known for his work with Steel Pulse, Shabba Ranks, Aswad and currently, Big Mountain.

Ras Droppa, a seasoned bass player who has played with Worl-A-Girl and Easy Star All Stars, and guitarist Shelton Garner also played on the songs.

Jimbaz told the Jamaica Observer that he is "pretty excited" about his latest reggae ventures.

"Though, in this case, I'm aligning and directing it towards my artistes. And being that they are versatile and have love for reggae music, it was just so easy to flow, because for me personally, before I became a music producer, down to having my own label, I was a reggae artiste," he said.

For You, an Afrobeats song and the Gaelic ballad Hussh are Belliyah's previous songs.

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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