NAME: Oyenkie Laoye-Oturu
ALSO KNOWN AS: Nikki Laoye
DATE OF BIRTH: December 19, 1980
GENRES: Gospel, Soul, Urban contemporary, Alternative rock, RnB, Pop, Hiphop
YEARS ACTIVE: 2005 – present
OCCUPATION: Singer, Songwriter, Radio/TV personality, Actress
LABELS: Wahala Media Entertainment
Oyenike Laoye-Oturu, professionally known as Nikki Laoye, is a Nigerian recording artist, singer, songwriter, dancer and occasional actress, renowned for her eclectic musical expressions and captivating stage performances. As a recording artist, Laoye‘s music has earned her several awards including The Headies Award in 2013 for Best Female Vocal Performance and the All African Music Awards (AFRIMA) in 2014 for Best Female Artiste in African Inspirational Music. She is also well known for the 2006 hit song “Never felt this Way before”, the 2013 dance single “1-2-3”, the soulful ballad “Only You”, which she remixed in 2016 featuring Seyi Shay and the love song, Onyeuwaoma featuring Banky W.
The singer, fondly called, the small one with the big voice, rose to fame in 2006 with the hit single, “Never Felt This Way Before” from her debut studio album, Angel 4 Life (2008), which also featured other notable singles, including the Hip-Hop collaboration with Rooftop Mcs and her brother, Rap2Sai – “Taka Sufe”; the love ballad “Someone to Love” with R&B crooner Jeremiah Gyang amongst others.
Laoye was born in Lagos, Nigeria, the only daughter to Prince Olushola Isaac Laoye and Olori Christiana Yetunde Laoye. Laoye bears traces of a mixed heritage as her father, Olushola is of European (Dutch), Ghanaian and Nigerian ancestry. She is sister to three brothers, Femi, Bola and Ade, who is also known as Xblaze, a budding young music producer/hip-hop artist.
In 2000, a chance meeting along the hallways of St. Anne’s hall, a private female hostel, at the University of Ibadan brought about the creation of the female girl group, Soul Sistas, composed of Laoye, Debola Kester and Aboyowa Tene. The girls met during an evening of music, fun, and games in their dorm room and struck a chord literally. They started performing together, simply for the love of it and ﬁnally took up the name “Soul Sistas” after singing at a campus fellowship and the Pastor, Dele Osunmakinde remarked cheerfully “these ladies sing to your soul”. In 2003, the girls were joined brieﬂy by another female singer, Funmi Ojo, but returned to a trio within the same year.
In 2005, the girls went their separate ways after graduating from the University with Laoye pursuing a solo career while Debola and Aboyowa took up regular jobs. In 2007, the trio returned to record a remix for their hit, “Baba L’oke” for Laoye‘s debut album, Angel 4 Life.
Laoye began her career as a solo artist in 2006, with the release of her ﬁrst single, “Never Felt this way Before”, produced by Nigerian music producer, Cobhams. The release of her hip-hop collaboration single, “Taka Sufe” featuring Rooftop Mcs and Rap2Sai further endeared her to Nigerian youths and provided a platform of expression for her brother, Xblaze who produced the track.
In 2008, Laoye followed up with the release of her debut album Angel 4 Life. The singer soon gained notoriety as her singles gradually rose to the number one spot on the Nigerian Chart Show for weeks.
The release of the single “Never Felt This Way Before” brought a fresh urban Christian contemporary sound to the Nigerian music industry. This seven-time award nominated song, (2009 Hip Hop World Awards- Best Vocal Performance (Female) and HipHop World Revelation (Best New Artist); Kora Awards-Best Spiritual Artist and Best Arrangement; 2009 City People Entertainment AwardsMusician of the Year (Female); the 2009 Nigerian Entertainment Awards in the US Gospel Artist of the Year & 2009 SoundCity Music Video Awards-Best Female Video), received major accolades and gave Laoye the rating as the 3rd Best Performance at the 2009 HipHop World Awards in Nigeria (Darey Art Alade and Tuface coming 1st and 2nd respectively, out of the 10 performances at the awards).
Laoye was the only female contender alongside top male Nigerian Artists – M.I, Banky W. and Naeto C for the HipHop World Revelation (Best New Artist) category of the 2009 HipHop World Awards.
Laoye‘s music has gained critical acclaim beyond Africa, as she was one of the ﬁrst three Nigerian artists ever to be interviewed and recognized on American entertainment channel, BET in 2009
In 2013, the singer made a comeback into the music scene after being on a hiatus following the loss of her father in 2011.
Laoye was commissioned to record her own version of the Nigerian National Anthem for Nigerian TV Producer, Mo Abudu’s Ebony Life Television in June 2013. The video is renowned as the ﬁrst ofﬁcial music video for the Nigerian Anthem. Since its release in June 2013, Laoye has been invited to perform the anthem for the Presidency in Aso Rock, Abuja and at other ofﬁcial functions. As at 2013, she released the singles “No Be Beans” with Yoruba Hip Hop artist Base One; the dance single “1-2-3”; and the Rotimi Keys produced ballad “Only You”, a song dedicated to the memory of her late father, for which she won an award for the Best Vocal Performance (Female) at the 2013 Headies Awards.
On 12 February 2016, two days to Valentine’s Day, Laoye released a love duet with Nigerian R&B singer, Banky W titled Onyeuwaoma, the song enjoyed rave reviews and the ofﬁcial video was released on 14 April 2016.
On 11 December 2011, Laoye married Alexander Oturu in Lagos, Nigeria.
Recognition And Awards
On 26 December 2013, Laoye was unveiled as the winner of the category of the Best Vocal Performance (Female) for her soulful ballad “Only You” in a strong ﬁeld that included singers Waje, Niyola, Seyi Shay and Zaina, at The Headies 2013 Award ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria.
On 21 May 2014, Laoye was nominated in the category for the Best Gospel Artiste at the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) 2014. Later that month, Laoye was also nominated for Best Gospel Artiste of the Year by the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA).
On 20 July 2014, Laoye picked up the Crystal award for Best Worship Song for “Only You” at the 2014 Crystal Awards in Lagos, Nigeria. She was also nominated for the Artiste of the Year and Best Female Vocalist categories at the awards. On 24 August 2014, Laoye won the award for ‘Female Artist of the Year’ at the 2014 Africa Gospel Music Awards (AGMA). She had also been nominated for the ‘Artiste of the Year’ (West Africa) at the same awards.
On 19 August 2015, Laoye was given the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the World Hope Foundation in honor of her humanitarian activities and in commemoration of the 2015 World Humanitarian Day.
- Never Felt This Way Before (2006)
- Joy Comes (2006)
- Taka Sufe (Snap and Whistle) (2006)
- No be Beans (2011)
- 123 (2012)
- Only You (2013)
- Can’t Hold Me Down (2013)
- Your Number ft. X-Blaze and Runel Karebian (2014)
- Mighty God (2014)
- Onyeuwaoma with Banky W (2016)
- Only You (Remix) with Seyi Shay (2016)
- Angel 4 life (2008)
- The 123 project (2014)