Arts, Culture & Media

Sia Tolno: A Rising Singer From Sierra Leone

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Sia Tolno (Photo: myspace.com/tolnosia)

For the Global Hit, we look at a rising star from West Africa.

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Sia Tolno is from Sierra Leone and critics are comparing her sound to that of the late great Miriam Makeba and Tina Turner.

The 36-year-old once had dreams of being a lawyer, but she never got a chance.

Her father was strict, her two stepmothers abused her.

So, Tolno fled home and ended up living in a squat with 30 other people.

Then, in 1995, the war in Sierra Leone forced her to flee to neighboring Guinea.

It was in Guinea where she began to sing in public.

She performed in a few small clubs and built a fan base.

Some fans gave her the nickname "Whitney" because she covered many of Whitney Houston's big hits.

Then, a talent contest in Guinea put Tolno in touch with a European talent agent.

Her recent album is called "My Life" and she has written every track in the album.