Arts

Nigerian Opera Singer Explores Classical Crossover In Atlanta

Nigerian opera singer Abiodun Koya will perform Sunday at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College.
Nigerian opera singer Abiodun Koya will perform Sunday at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College.
Credit Daryl Brown Photography
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Abiodun Koya is an opera singer, even though she comes from a country (and a continent) that doesn’t have very much opera.

The Nigerian-born singer moved to Atlanta four years ago after 11 years in Washington, D.C. There, she infiltrated the diplomat circuit, singing at political events. “That’s one of the benefits of working in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “My embassy, the Nigeria embassy, was really behind me.”

In Atlanta, she has mostly been singing at private events, but while she is here, she hopes to explore classical crossover instead of sticking with strictly opera. “I just got to that point where I wasn’t satisfied with ordinary anymore,” Koya said.

On her first album, she focused on sacred music, but she translated some of it into the Nigerian dialect Yoruba and added techno elements.

Koya said, “I constantly think I’m like a music scientist. I kind of picture myself in a music laboratory in a coat, but my coat would be pink or purple and fun colors instead of white.”

Koya is performing a benefit concert at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College. It will feature African songs, spirituals and classical music. Proceeds will benefit the Courtesy Foundation’s scholarship fund for underprivileged girls in Nigeria.