Justina Lee Brown captures the Nigerian sensibility

How Justina Lee Brown captures the Nigerian sensibility even in Blues and Funk music.

Justina Lee Brown is a Nigerian artist that mixes influences from Blues, Jazz, and Funk to bring to life her exciting sound that emphasises the universality of music.

In 2019, 10 years after captivating listeners in Nigeria, Justina Lee Brown returned with a new album titled ‘Black and White Feeling’. The album offers a rich exploration of blues and funk which she combines with her Nigerian heritage.

The sensational singer and songwriter continues her musical journey in 2023 with a new album titled ‘Lost Child’ where she engages in deep introspection that birthed 9 breathtaking tracks.

“The motivation of staying alive and overcoming every obstacle that stands in my way is what inspires my music,” Justina Lee said.

Justina Lee is known by some listeners for her hit single ‘Omo 2 Sexy’ released in the 2000s and produced by Mekoyo who has helped stars like Styl Plus churn out hit singles. Even within the Afropop exploration, her vocals conveyed heavy Western influences.

These influences were further reinforced in her music after she relocated to Europe to start all over again. This was a time when Afrobeats wasn’t fully accepted in the West, but the audience were familiar with the Funk and Blues music she also wanted to make.

“I had to start afresh and it took 10 years,” Justina said about kicking off a new journey as a Funk and Blues artist with her 2019 album ‘Black and White Feeling’.

Justina Lee Brown’s new album ‘Lost Child’ carries the musing of a woman caught between two worlds with none fully feeling like home.

After not being able to visit Nigeria for years due to her touring and COVID-19 travel restrictions, Justina Lee Brown would go back to a Nigeria that was strikingly different from what she knew, abandoned in the age of TikTok. Her second home which is in Europe is also one that occasionally provided her with experiences that reminded her of her place in society.

“I don’t know where to go,” she belts out over piercing electric guitars in the emotionally charged record 1OK Feeling that conveys her pain. The emotions float to the top on the Blues record ‘Bililki,’ where she taps into her Nigerian roots through Yoruba to tell the nostalgic story of a lost child who left home in search of solace.

The eternal funk vocals of James Brown shine through Lee Brown on ‘Lost Child’ where she shares her bewilderment with her regressing birth country and an adopted one that doesn’t feel like home.

She searches for happiness in the chilly blues strings on ‘Happiness’ and finds positivity and hope in the funk drums of ‘Happy Day’. Lee Brown would share this message of hope and love to Africa on ‘One Love Africa’ where she speaks pidgin and Yoruba to drive home her message.

It might have taken 10 years for her to finally make the fusion of Blues and Funk music that speaks to her soul, but this perseverance and patience has been rewarded by music that solidifies her standing as an artist in her own lane.

Justina Lee Brown’s music, aside from being musically rich and thought-provoking, shows that Nigerian artists can make Western-styled music that captures the Nigerian sensibility.

“I plan to grow in life and inspire people. I will be happy if Nigerian people see what I’m doing right now,” Lee Brown said on her plan for her music.

It’s for those early fans, the pride and love of family, and for the honour of Nigerians at home and abroad that Lee Brown continues to push the boundaries of her talent through her exciting exploration of Blues and Funk.

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