Libianca’s “People” is a song that has resonated across the globe, captivating its audience and leaving them eager for an encore. And this comes as no surprise as the song is a profoundly exquisite composition.
In recent times, a new wave of musicians has emerged, crafting a distinct sound that the Afrobeats community has dubbed “Afro-depression.” These artistes navigate through phases of emotional turmoil, channeling their feelings into their music, resulting in poignant masterpieces. Among them, notable mentions are Omah Lay, Victony, and Libianca.
As per Libianca’s own account on Genius, the creation of “People” was a cathartic experience that allowed her to channel and release the weight of her own negative emotions. The song has now gone on to accomplish various milestones and show up on numerous charts around the world.
Libianca (born Libianca Fonji) is Cameroonian-American, she was born in the US but had to move back to Cameroon at just four years old due to immigration issues. She had started music at a very early age, singing in gospel choirs and also learning to play the guitar, familiarizing herself with music early in her life.
The focal point of her music career happened in 2021, when she competed at NBC’s The Voice impressing some of the biggest names in the US like Ariana Grande and Blake Shelton, even making it to the top 20, before being eliminated. The aftermath was her signing to 5K Records and Sony in 2022 and by December that year, “People” dropped.
“People” has gone on to become one of the most successful African songs of all time, garnering about 400 million streams on Spotify, over 160 million on YouTube, and becoming one of the four most streamed Afrobeats tracks on Spotify in the first half of 2023.
The song has also won her various honors, including a BET award for Best New International Act, beating artistes such as Asake and Camidoh for the accolade. It also earned her appearances on major stages, such as opening for Alicia Keys on her Keys to the Summer tour with Simi, for Davido at his New York event, and playing on the BET stage, to name a few.
The song reached the top of several charts around the world, including France’s SNEP (19), the Billboard Hot 100 and Global 200 (80 and 20, respectively), and the UK Singles chart at number 2. For certifications, it is certified Gold or higher in at least 10 countries worldwide, with the most recent coming just a few days ago in the United States. It was originally classified as gold in the country, with 500,000 units sold, but it is now classified as platinum after selling one million units. It is one of just a few afrobeats songs to be awarded platinum by the RIAA.
It must be truly heartwarming to witness a song born from personal pain, touch the hearts of listeners and leaving an indelible mark on countless lives worldwide.