Interviews

Qing Madi: The Afrobeats Woman King

She refuses to be seen as a female artist but a human being who sings with a style and story that does not fit with the regular. 

Qing Madi interview
Qing Madi [PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram/@QingMadi]

Qing Madi, a young Nigerian singer and songwriter, has weaned her interest in music from the age of seven into becoming a recording artist as early as 16, and with a recent self-titled project, streaming and airplay numbers are answering the work and expectations of up-and-coming art. In about 45 minutes of my curiosity conversation on her route in music, she exudes tenderness, self-possessedness, and toughness to take her dreams to the peak. 

“No, you’re not late.” My contralto and ready voice broke out in response to her courteous remark. 17-year-old Amanda was ready to attend to my curiosity regarding her journey into the music industry and the acceptance she has enjoyed with just a few recorded singles.

Chimamanda Pearl Chukwuma, artistically known as Qing Madi, a fast-rising songwriter and recording artist, has enjoyed a resounding reception with just several singles. Her first single ‘See Finish’ released in 2022 gave a breakthrough primarily on TikTok; Qing Madi garnered over 8.2 million streams with ‘Why’ and ‘See Finish,’ performed at arguably the biggest concert in Lagos; Homecoming released ‘Ole’ featuring BNXN, a collaboration that made entry to multiple music charts and streaming platforms and peaked at Number 12 on the Turntable Official Nigeria Top 100 and number 16 on the Official Afrobeats Chart. Qing Madi was chosen as Spotify Africa Equal Ambassador for Jmonth, a very promising start for an up-and-coming artist in the highly competitive Nigerian music industry. 

Benin Before Fame

“Can I say you started professionally at 14?” This writer inquired. “Vision and See Finish was recorded when I was 14, but I started much younger than 14,” Qing Madi responded fluently, sounding knowledgeable of her steps and strategies in becoming a music artist.

The Benin city-born Afro-R&B singer started singing at an elementary age, and just like a common behaviour in children to be wary of future ambition, little Amanda had a share, but the keen attention and support of her mother made the music dream more realistic. Qing Madi began performing at a young age, participating in school talent shows and dancing and singing in her church’s adult choir. From singing in elementary school to dancing, attending competitions, and growing in a regular rap music clime, Qing Madi fell in love with the way artists could talk and lyrically explain situations. She weaned her love for lyrical writings and interest in music from Kendrick Lamar.

Qing Madi
Qing Madi [PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram/@QingMadi]

Having an African parent support a career path away from educational ambitions like medicine, law, engineering and the like is a very rare situation, but for Amanda, her mother not only gave a go-ahead in her music pursuit but went ahead with her too. She said “Mum stood on the part that I was going to be an artist, took me for rehearsals, took permission for me in school, she was my inspiration. A lot of talented young people don’t have that 100% assistance from parent or guardians, especially with the uncertainty of music.

Probably, one can say her mother’s early belief and support in Amanda’s music career could be attributed to her mother’s roots in dancing or the heights other Benin and Edo State prodigies have attained in the music industry. Her family’s move to Lagos after her secondary education was to stay closer to their father, who lived in Lagos at the time, but for the young, talented singer, who is the last kid in a family of 4, it was a move to something bigger. 

Qing Madi With The K

Not until the move to Lagos, QING MADI was the only name Amanda answered on social media—Instagram and TikTok. Having the ‘Q’ pronounced as ‘K’ and causing a male expectation when the name is called, the Afro-R&B singer shares a deep meaning with her choice of artistic name. 

I find myself fighting for individuality and not gender roles, I find myself fighting for the ability to exist and be whatever you want to be regardless of your gender.

Qing Madi, 2024.

“In school, we read literature stories where the highest authority was the king, always male and that of a woman was queen, always attached and solely depending on the king, I wanted to be the highest authority but I didn’t want to be attached to anybody. I made my ‘Q’  sound ‘k’. It tells my vision of life not dependent on anyone, being in charge and on top of my game.”

Wow, that’s creative and interesting,” I applauded. “Can this be likened to your perception of feminism? I inquired.

“I mean, I won’t call myself a feminist, it depends on what you define as feminist; women fighting for equal rights. To me, I find myself fighting for individuality and not gender roles, I find myself fighting for the ability to exist and be whatever you want to be regardless of your gender. I wouldn’t put myself in that category as a feminist,” says Qing Madi.

With a name that can cause gender confusion when called, Qing Madi sticks to blue hair as a signature to being known and recognized. 

“I mean it’s my favourite colour, it boosts my confidence. It is what people will remember about me easily, the girl with the blue hair and artiste needs to have something they can be identified with,” she added.

Lagos and J Ton

JTON discovered me, I was still creating content on TikTok when JTON MUSIC discovered me, which was like my introduction, JTON is like my beginning.’ 

With strong support from her mother, artistic influence from Kendrick Lamar and a family move to Lagos, Qing Madi took her interest in music professional, had some singles and collaborated to keep her name resounding before her first EP, a self-titled project.

“The project is intertwined with me, sometimes people mispronounce my name, and have issues remembering me. Every song has a reason for being there, and the moves made have been very strategic. Some of the singles were recorded before the complete body of work because l wanted to get attention, and let people get a bit of me before a whole body of work, two of the songs were recorded when l was 14, it feels amazing hearing my younger self sing back to me. After a few singles and a collaboration, we were ready for a full project,” she said.

The Afro R&B singer who blends African and Western cultures in her sound has a journey into music different from most other artists who had struggles with family accepting their course of life. Qing enjoyed the support and input from their mother and siblings in expressing her young musical talent. She grew from creating content on TikTok to a recording deal with JTON MUSIC, SONY MUSIC and other big names in the industry. 

Two of the songs [on Qing Madi EP] were recorded when l was 14, it feels amazing hearing my younger self sing back to me.

Qing Madi, 2024.

The singer describes making music to be purposeful, consisting of a focused mind to write to pass a message and appeal to the needs of listeners, and a patience to record where every detail has to be studied. Taking these bits into consideration must have given her first EP the streaming numbers transcending to a fan-packed listening party. 

‘The listening party was a very new experience for me, I have never done anything like that. It was an awakening as well to see that many people came out for me. It was a very beautiful experience, and went very well.’

Describing how she got to collaborate with BNXN, she said, “After my first single ‘See Finish’ BNXN posted a video of him singing the song in his car and my friend was like, yo! BNXN posted a video, I went to his IG and appreciated it. I was not expecting a response, just wanted to show how I feel. But he responded; that he’d love to get in the studio with me. I was excited but scared as well, I had not worked with anyone before, and I didn’t know if we were going to sound right, I was scared of creating a wrong impression. We got to the studio, he asked what the plan was, and I told him I was planning on releasing a body of work, I played him ‘ole’ first and he liked it, so he worked on that one. It came out well. It was cool and super easy.”

As the interview progressed, she highlighted the importance of transitioning to Qing Madi. In her words, she said, “I mean it can be like an alter ego thing where those two people like wants to come, it comes once at some point. I still don’t want to forget that Amanda plays a huge role in my everyday activity and creativity, but the Qing Madi has to be who she has to be for the people you have to meet and the fans you have to connect with. They both play a very important role.”

There have been changes, everything has to be considered, can’t do the same things anymore, and have to be careful not to destroy my image, my comments on social media and my likes. It wasn’t this deep in the past.’

What’s Next?

Qing Madi is a fast-growing young talent with a big start in the music industry, one can only say that the future is very bright and promising for the songstress. With her first EP getting the necessary attention, streams and airplay, Qing is ready to put in the work and stay on top of her game even as she posits that music is uncertain.

You can get a crazy level of fame for a while, and later the attention span goes away and people tend to forget about you. Music is uncertain, you can’t predict if it will work out, coupled with the pressure of music, it can be mentally detrimental. 

The growth of Afrobeats and the Nigerian music industry has created a thriving space for up-and-coming creatives despite the industry being described as male-dominated.

Reacting to that, she said, “100%, I agree, I feel like it is not even about music, but with music being uncertain, you hardly hear an African parent support a child going into music, especially the female, because of gender roles which goes down into tradition. The men get the liberty of venturing into anything just because they are men and meant to go out and work, they break out more than females. Women are very talented, especially in Africa, but issues of being submissive, family and typical ways of putting women, even when they breakout, they are still women.”

Despite accenting male dominance in the industry, the talented young singer and dancer gives credit to the women in the industry who are going head-to-head with their male counterparts.

Ladies like Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Temz and Fave, I listen to them, I respect them, they have been in the industry even before I was born and they are doing well,” she added.

With a sustaining inspiration from Kendrick Lamar, Qinq is hopeful of collaborations, and more projects, optimistic about nominations and awards, and looking forward to working with Temz, Wizkid and Wande Coal. She refuses to be seen as a female artist but a human being who sings with a style and story that does not fit with the regular. 

The men get the liberty of venturing into anything just because they are men and meant to go out and work, they breakout more than female. Women are very talented, especially in Africa, but issues of being submissive

Qing Madi, 2024.

Qing Madi is a fashion-conscious singer who loves dressing to her comfort, especially wearing baggies which aids her performance and attitude as an artiste.

The fast-rising Afro R&B singer and songwriter is aware of the work expected to stay relevant and not flop, especially with the streaming and airplay reception she has enjoyed. 

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