by Howard Campbell
OTTAWA, Canada – Nigeria has produced its share of firebrand artists. Think Fela Kuti and Majek Fashek; Confidence Survival maintains that proud tradition with “Confidence is Key“, her debut album.
The self-produced set was released in May by Black Star Liner Studio out of Ottawa where the 20 year-old singer/songwriter lives.
Careless, its lead single, is homage to black champions like Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Patrice Lumumba.
Indeed, Garvey a father of the Pan African movement, was a source of inspiration for the album.
“The phrase Confidence is Key is linked to the Marcus Garvey quote, ‘without confidence you’ve been defeated twice in the race of life…confidence is key’. Therefore, it aligned with my original birth name which I deliberately chose to continue to use as my artist name and add ‘is key’ for the name of the album,” she said.
Confidence Survival is only 20 years-old but has delved into black history through the Ottawa-based Sankofa company which promotes Pan-African culture by releasing books, movies and videos not accessible to the mainstream.
She credits Sankofa for expanding her knowledge of the activism of Nina Simone, Winnie Mandela, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur and Jalil Muntagin.
“My influence in writing the Confidence is Key album was not on a specific person but on finding knowledge that’s hidden and the journey that’s attached to being one with applying that knowledge. Music has always been a source of comfort to me and I am joyed that I am able to use it as a cultural expression,” Confidence Survival reasoned.
Like Careless, other songs from Confidence is Key, such as I Take my Vow, Eyes Open and Peace on Earth are mainly driven by incidents affecting people of color.
Born Confidence Survival Eyong in Cross Rivers State, southern Nigeria, she has diverse influences — from the jazzy Simone, to the Afro Beat of Fela, roots-reggae of Bob Marley to the dancehall message of Vybz Kartel.
For the last five years, Confidence Survival has lived in Canada where she found a mentor in Mitch Stone of Black Star Liner Studio who worked on Confidence is Key. Jamaican engineer/producers Gregory Morris and Rohan Dwyer also contributed to the set.