Nfld. & Labrador·First Listen

Musician Ife Alaba opens her journal to listeners in newly released singles

St. John's musician Ife Alaba has always been interested in music, from singing in choirs in South Africa to performances in opera and jazz. Now, she is making her own path, with the release of three singles in the last 18 months.

Have a First Listen to a collection of singles by Ife Alaba

St. John's musician Ife Alaba says her music is almost like a journal into her life. She has released three singles in the last 18 months, with the goal of releasing an EP in the future. (Spotify)

St. John's musician Ife Alaba has always been interested in music, from singing in choirs in South Africa to performances in opera and jazz. Now, she is making her own path, with the release of three singles in the last 18 months.

Alaba's music thrives with a lively personality and relatable subject matter, from the personal story of All By Myself to the guitar and electronic drum line of Vibes.

"It's basically a journal into what is going on in my life at that point in time," she told CBC Radio's Weekend AM. "Basically an outlet to my thoughts, feelings and emotions. So yeah, it is very personal."

Personal stories are all felt throughout the three tracks, highlighted by the story of loneliness in All By Myself.

LISTEN | Ife Alaba talks about her collection of singles with the CBC's Paula Gale:

Ife Alaba has released three singles, she spoke with Paula Gale about her plans for the future 18:13

"I think everyone can relate to just being alone at some point in life," she said. "Whether it's being left in a relationship, whether it's like a family member dying. At that point in my life, I really just felt alone. So I put it down on paper."

On top of releasing new music, Alaba is also a full-time student majoring in psychology at Memorial University. While trying to balance music and her studies, she said she has a clear idea of where she wants to be in the future.

"Music is my passion, so I try and spend as much time as possible [at it] while also making sure that studying is done," she said.

"Ten years from now, I want to be touring, just doing it as a full-time job. Making sure that I'm putting out more music, collaborating with other musicians, making money."

Like many musicians over the COVID-19 pandemic, Alaba has experimented with online performances on platforms like Facebook. While it's not always able to recreate the atmosphere of a live show, she said she has definitely seen a benefit to moving things online.

"Honestly for me, it's kind of been a blessing," she said. "Performing online has opened up more, so I've been able to explore that avenue. I have performed live, but I don't know if it's live if there are no people there. So that was really good for me."

Outside music, Alaba has also found other ways to flex her creative muscles. You can catch her and friends Columbus Guyo and Farai Gwasira as the hosts of CBC Newfoundland and Labrador's food segment Stuffed.

About First Listen

Do you have a new album of music that Weekend AM should know about for First Listen? Email us, wam@cbc.ca, and tell us about it. 

You can hear First Listen on Sundays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in Labrador) on CBC Radio One.


For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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With files from Weekend AM

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