CNN’s African Voices ‘My Drive’ Takes A Ride Through Local Neighbourhoods With African Entertainers 


In a special edition of African Voices, CNN’s Larry Madowo highlights the My Drive series, hearing the stories of what inspires musicians and actors as they drive through their neighbourhoods. 

First up, Nigerian musician Pheelz, whose single ‘Finesse’ made Time Magazine and Rolling Stone’s ‘Best Songs of 2022’ list. He says of his sound, “I would call my genre Afro World. Cause I think my sound is African, but it’s for the world as well.” 

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During the drive, Pheelz gives his advice to aspiring musicians, “Know your why. Know why you’re doing this. A lot of people do it for the wrong reasons. But I feel like just the passion of it should be enough goal for you.” 

Fellow Nigerian singer-songwriter Korede Bello has similar advice. He tells CNN, “You have to find something that makes you stand out. But most importantly start with, why? Why are you doing this? It’s always been a question in my subconscious, why are you doing what you do? Because that’s where you get meaning from. And that’s how you can stay when the times get rough.” 

Bello began songwriting in primary school. His 2015 hit single ‘Godwin’ now has more than 21 million views on YouTube. He speaks about his motivation, “The inspiration for everything I do is the intention to help people feel better. And fortunately for me, I’m in the art industry, I can do that with music.” 

Nigerian actress and producer Toyin Abraham Ajeyemi has acted in more than 70 films and TV shows. During her drive, she discusses her job, “I love acting. I love the fact that I have to be, I will be someone else, playing someone else. I like the fact that I’m like a messenger to a lot of people. I like the fact that with me you can pass your message to a lot of people.” 

In Ghana, actress and director Yvonne Nelson explains her decision to fund her own film company, “I registered a company in 2010 – YN Productions. I registered a company because I felt too much hatred in the industry. I had a ban on my head because a group of producers called the FIPAG banned me. And then I said to myself, but Yvonne, you can tell your own stories So I made the move, and then in 2011, I started telling my own stories. And it’s been rewarding.” 


Nelson has also owned and operated a day care since 2019. While driving, she talks about this venture, “I want to make a difference with how our education sector is in the country. So, when I’m no more and I’m gone, I want people to look at education in Ghana and go like, oh wow, this is Yvonne’s touch.” 

Finally, Senegalese musician Wally B. Seck takes CNN on a drive around his neighbourhood. He speaks about gaining traction as an international artist, “It took me a lot of time to access the international level, but I quietly made my way so that I got the opportunity to play with international musicians like Chris Brown, Jason Derulo, Diamond, Davido, etc. I think it’s not too easy because here in Senegal we are not numerous. We are only 17 million inhabitants. Some other countries have more than 200 million. That’s the reason only a few Senegalese musicians are on the international scene.” 

Seck sums up his advice to future music stars, “I think the best advice is don’t be afraid. Keep going, don’t be afraid. The other thing is also to be concentrated on your goals and believe in God. Because we got everything from God.” 


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