Known as Africa's premier diva, Angelique Kidjo is an internationally renowned artist from Benin. Raised on a mix of Miriam Makeba, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding and Santana, Kidjo was no stranger to the powerful effects of soul, Latin jazz and Afropop. She began singing at age 6, and by the time she reached adolescence, she'd gained national radio play for her rendition of Makeba's "Les Trois Z." Soon after, she began recording her debut album, Pretty, which led to tours across West Africa. But due to the political turmoil at home, Kidjo fled to Paris in 1983 to pursue her career as an independent artist. After enrolling in CIM, a reputable French jazz school, she became a popular jazz artist. Since then, she's combined her jazz roots with Afrobeat and Latin styles, and collaborated with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Dave Matthews, Peter Gabriel and Alicia Keys.
Kidjo continues to live up to her sterling reputation with the release of her latest album, Oyo, which pays tribute to the artists who've influenced her. The record features a series of Kidjo-flavored covers with the help of guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Christian McBride and percussionists Kendrick Scott and Thiokho Diagne.