Diarra Sylla

The Rise of Diarra Sylla: From Now United to Solo Stardom


Oct. 29 2023, Published 5:36 p.m. ET

Diarra Sylla is a triple threat — singer, dancer, and actress. The French-Senegalese entertainer got her start as part of the global pop group, Now United. However, she has since stepped out into the spotlight solo. Here is a look back at her musical journey.

The Now United Era: A Global Rhythm Unites Hearts

Not too long ago, Diarra was right at the heart of Now United, this super swaggy pop group that took the whole world by storm. Picture a bunch of kids from all over the planet, each bringing their talent to the table. Now United was like a musical rainbow with members from 15 different countries. Diarra, repping Senegal, gave the group a special kick with her vibes.

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But Now United was not just any old band. The thing that made them so cool was that they could make whatever kind of music with their languages and dance moves, and it would work. When the fans first saw Diarra, she was like a whirlwind they could not stop watching. Once on stage, it was like everyone could not get enough of her. While the group was at its peak of popularity, Westerners could see for themselves how they brought people together and tore down racial and gender barriers.

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Breaking Free: Diarra's Solo Ascent

Diarra's time with Now United was like an exciting chapter in her music adventure, but deep down, the artist in her was craving something more — a chance to go solo, make her own music, and discover who she is as an artist. So, in 2021, Diarra made a bold move, deciding to start her solo career and saying goodbye to Now United.

Going from being part of a group to doing it all on her own might sound a bit scary, but Diarra was not afraid. She approached it with resolve and zeal directly. But she also was not just interested in being a solo player--she wanted her music to touch people on a personal level too. Diarra pulls from her experiences to write her songs as well as her emotions, and this can resonate with others.

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“I’ve been working on different musical projects, I’ve been recording with different producers, making music, also working on fashion projects as well,” she told Hollywire. “Fans can expect a lot of different sounds from all over the world. I have international fans from all over the place so I like to please them and make music that they can relate to. So, there is going to be a lot of African drums, Brazilian funk, just music from all over the place.”

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Diarra's solo music is different from the pop sounds of Now United. She is about fusing R&B, Afrobeat, and contemporary pop. Her first songs as a solo artist like "Set Free" and "Don't Leave," uncover a more personal and grown-up side of her art. The lyrics she writes deal with love and resilience mostly but also self-discovery. For her, these themes are like looking in a mirror and they pretty much write her lyrics on their own.

The Diarra Sound: Redefining Boundaries in the Music Landscape

Diarra does not just create music for her own sake. This is another reason why she leans into helping other young artists change things. Everyone in the industry seems to take the same direction, but Diarra is about being herself. In this way, she is designing a room for her identity within music.

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"I had this vision of myself when I was younger and I just felt like a darker complexion, couldn't really take over anything like modeling, singing, or acting," Diarra told People of Meagan Good, who directed her “Set Free” music video. "And then, growing up watching people like Meagan Good on TV every single day in movies, she was opening the door for other darker-complexioned women like me and other beautiful, young, dark-skinned girls around the world, to be able to make it out there in the industry. I felt really inspired by Meagan throughout this whole process."

The most killer thing about Diarra's solo career is how she uses fame to give back. But she also knows music can spark meaningful discussions and illuminate major issues. Her songs carry elevated messages of empowerment, unity, and cultural pride. Diarra has homegrown appeal wherever people gather.

From Now United to her current solo career, Diarra's experience shows how music can change a person. From a global pop group to her solo self, Diarra continues to dazzle audiences with her authenticity and talent while always staying true to that hard-to-label sound. Diarra Sylla, who is blazing her trail in the music industry, is an example that if you are yourself and listen to your voice, this path is definitely for you.

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