- Words Notion Staff
- Photography Terna Jogo
- Fashion Natalie Ruvimbo
- Production & Location Studio Notion
A duo going global, El’Vee discuss their new EP, a musical relationship as identical twins, and being 'Unapologetically African'.
Whether myth or fact that twinship offers a bond different and above to all others, there’s no doubt that El’Vee are a duo using their unique relationship to their advantage. Sisters Lilian and Vivian are Nigerian-born but now UK-based, building a musical partnership blending percussive afrobeats sounds with infectious vocal harmonies, for a truly joyous result.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria but growing up in Reading, their musical journey so far has taken them both to the Nigerian and UK music scenes, becoming rising stars in both. Their new track “Jealousy” explores the hurdles the pair have overcome during this time, in their words, “a blend of eclectic sounds, that reflects not just our culture and heritage but our artistic individuality”.
Known for their ability to empower through their music, Lilian and Vivian are often inspired by authenticity and feminine drive, both themes that run throughout their new releases. With a growing fanbase of ‘El’Veellains’ and an EP on the way, El’Vee are very much on the rise. We sat down to discuss their plans for the future, a musical relationship as identical twins, and being ‘Unapologetically African’.
- Green Blazer Anciela
- Necklaces Vicki Sarge
- Yellow dress Anciela
- Black Blazer Aylafaye Studios
Hey – how are you both doing?
We’re doing great thank you. Not loving the weather, but we’re thankful to God.
So for people who haven’t come across your music before, how would you describe or sum up the vibe?
For people who haven’t come across our music before, it is definitely all about rhythms and vibes. It’s also a dichotomy of our two worlds – Nigerian and British – filled with sensuality on a plethora of eclectic sounds.
November sees the release of your new EP, “U.A.R” or (Unapologetic African Rhythms), can you talk me through the meaning of the title?
The title U.A.R (Unapologetic African Rhythms) simply means us embodying and loving who we are as unapologetic Africans, unafraid of our sound, culture and our power.
And does that idea of having music that is unapologetically celebratory of African culture run throughout the EP?
Yes, it does, whilst also highlighting our sensuality and femininity.
- Dress (left) Anciela
- Shoes Vetements
- Shoes Stella McCartney
You can definitely feel it in the video for “Jealousy”, it’s so fun and energetic – what was the creative process behind the video?
The creative process behind the video involved a lot of planning and brainstorming on all the ideas we wanted portrayed in the video. We wanted it to be an embodiment of African renaissance, from the location to the styling and so on. That’s what we got.
And in the track itself, you’ve spoken about how it represents your artistic individuality, alongside a blend of eclectic sounds and a reflection of your heritage. Could you explain that for me?
It simply means that as a female duo in the afrobeats space, it is important for us to individually express our personalities through our sound, and our culture as British-Nigerians influences in that sound.
As a twin myself I’m intrigued to know, how is it working and spending so much time with your sister? Do you feel like you have a bond that helps your process and in support of each other?
Oh wow, you’re a twin, that’s amazing – you know twins rock. It’s so refreshing and we feel so blessed to have each other and to work on something we love together. We’re not just identical twins, but we also share this dream of being successful recording and performing artists, so that’s a blessing. We do sometimes get on each others nerves, but it’s all love.
When did you both start making music together?
For as long as we can remember, we’ve always made music together. However professionally, we started in 2012.
A lot of your tracks have a real empowering feel, is that an intention behind your music?
Yes it is. We are strong black women and empowering people is at the core of our existence.
If people listen to your new music and take away one thing, what do you hope that is?
Freedom to create.
What’s next for El’Vee?
More music, sold out shows, amazing fashion and continuing to empower the next generation to create and to have faith in God.