You could hear the live drums, the rattles and the clanging of a gong as the new single opens up. There’s a piano accompaniment that follows it through, and ushers in Simi’s outstanding vocal.

“Smile for me,” she urges beautifully, “even if you sad oh.”

Her voice slowly comes on, steady, distinct and probing. She is doing what she has always done. That vocal magic and the distinct power that she wields whenever she makes melody pass through her lips.

This time, everything feels like a live production, which makes it all seem like she is inside of you, alive and present, singing directly into your body as a gateway to your soul.

This is how you begin to listen to Simi’s first single of 2017. Titled ‘Smile for me’, the X3M Music artiste is out with another record produced by her friend and frequent collaborator, Oscar. The record which was released on January 27, is the start of her plans for the year.

Simi has big plans for 2017. Over the past three years she has steadily been working on her brand and her music, with each new single representing growth for her. She came through with the syrupy ‘Tiff’, before graduating to ‘Jamb Question’, and ‘Love don’t care’. Along the way, she had explored pop sounds on ‘Open and Close’, which made everyone, including herself, understand that there is a defined path for her to follow. A trip that has no rush in it.

Along the way she had stumbled on a working relationship with Falz, milked it for good effect and fully explored it as it took on form and life to become the irresistible EP, “Chemistry”, which was one of the few highlights of Nigerian music in 2016.

Everything has been a journey, a gradual movement to the top, as she continues to grow in both the art, and the celebrity that comes when it is done right, and accepted by the public.

The time is right for her album. I feel it. You feel it. Everyone feels it. Like a huge puzzle working at being complete, all the final pieces had come together, creating the need for that final piece, which for Simi, is her album. According to reports, that project will be released in first quarter of 2017.

That’s why ‘Smile for me’ is important. It is the first single that generally leads up to that release. And it is a beautiful song. In 'Smile for me', the singer who impresses with her soothing vocals as always is asking her partner to take a chance on her as regards their love voyage because he’s the one her heart belongs to.

Simi belongs to all of us. Her art, which she has consistently shared with her fans, has created a special bond which she continues to explore. For her core fans, she can do no wrong, and the beauty in the song and the imagery that it conjures, will be enough to make fans personalise the lyrics, and make it about them.

“Will you fight for me even if na hulk Hogan, Take a ride with me” She inquires on the song.

Of course Simi. Of course. We will not only smile for you. We will die for you.