Friday, March 12, 2010

‘My music, my man and my cars’ – OMAWUMI

2007 Idols West Africa runner-up and winner of a brand new KIA Optima at the recent Hip Hop Awards, Omawunmi Megele opens up to Notes and Tones on some very interesting issues in her life…

Prior to Idols West Africa, what were your major musical activities?
I was already singing before Idols, but it wasn’t something that I would call a career. I was concentrating more on my law studies, did some businesses on the side and a couple of choruses for some people. I was also a very active member of the choir.

At what point did you know that you were going to make a career out of music?
Immediately I got into the top five. Even right from the top ten, I knew I was in for something big because we were voted into the top ten by viewers and for one to be amongst the top ten means that the people must have seen something in the person to vote him or her into the top ten. I felt that if people think that I can be a good and successful musician, then I should give it a go. It is only fair that I do that.

You trained as a lawyer, with all these musical developments, do you think you will ever have the time to practice it?
Yes, I trained as a lawyer and I am not yet a barrister because I haven’t gone to Law School, but I will have to go to Law School at some point. If I don’t do that, It would be like being handicapped. You can’t get to being a lawyer and not go the whole nine yards of becoming a barrister. So, I would have to, eventually. Besides, it is a good thing for me to do because it is going to help me in whatever field I find myself in.

So, when do you think you can find time?
When? That’s the issue. But we thank God because there is no age restriction to admission into Law School. But it is something I am seriously considering. Maybe in a maximum of five years, I should be at the Law School.

Do you intend to ever practice it?
Eventually I am going to have to. What I wanted to do with law was to teach it. It wasn’t entirely to practice it. But you can’t teach it without practicing but most times it is always good for one to practice it before teaching it so that one can have practical examples while you are teaching it. Now that all of this has happened, it has put it on a hold, but it has also made my future more open. There are so much more opportunities that those experiences have given me. The things I planned to do with my future. This has made it easier. Let’s just see how it goes. That’s all I can say for now. My life is in God’s hands. It is where he decides to push me to, that’s where I am going.

Now God has pushed you into music. You were second in Idols West Africa, you won two awards at the Hip Hop Awards, you have three exotic cars and have just won another one. All with just one released song…
(Laughs and cuts in) God is wonderful because na as you talk am na so e be.

Do you have a passion for cars?
Yeah, to an extent. I have a passion for cars. I like having different cars for different occasions. I don’t like driving at night and there are time I like being inconspicuous. I like classic cars. I know that in my life that I am going to own a Volkswagen Touareg, I know that in my life I am going to own a Jaguar, I know that in my life that I am going to own a bad Monster Truck…I have a thing for cars, to tell the truth.

Let’s talk more about your music. When is your album coming out?
The album was supposed to be out in April but we decided to take our time. We think that it is only better for us to work hard so that the people out there who have put so much interest and trust in us will be happy to buy my album. Not to say that delay is a very good thing, but it is just like God was just arranging the situation for me to wait. In The Music to have bagged two awards (thanks to the many people that believed in me and voted for me) only goes to say that the album should be better. In The Music has set the pace and everything should be as good as it is or better. I cannot afford to go into the studio and bring out something that people will not be happy with. So, I have to work harder. The question of when the album is going to come out, push come to shop, next month. But I promise you that I will do everything in my power to make sure that you get a good album not a quick album.

Nigerian music has acquired its own style, language, rhythm and various other distinctive qualities that distinguish it from that of other people. What you did with In the Music is a kind of experiment with South African beats, are there other experiments like that in your upcoming album?
Firstly, yes. It was an experiment. But it would not be fair to limit me to any particular genre of music. Without wanting to sound immodest, I believe, people noted my versatility during Idols West Africa. Yes, you are right to say that the beat is Kwaito, but it was in pidgin English. I would also like to say that it would not a fair to limit music. Someone could wake up tomorrow in Nigeria and start doing country, as long as it good music, I think it is okay. Secondly, yes. You are going to have a whole lot of other experiments in the album. There is going to be a blend of many things. I am going to touch hip life, highlife, reggae, techno, RnB and so many other genres.

We met you performing Live at Idols West Africa, are you still on that part or have you joined the bandwagon of artistes performing with their CDs?
I have an eight-man band and perform live most times. The few times that I performed with my CDs are with a special performance CD. The lead vocal is silent on it, so the voice you hear is mine live. The only time I have ever mimed was on Moments with Mo, when I didn’t have my band or my performance CD and they insisted that I sing for them, and I sang over my voice. I don’t mime. I don’t like miming and I don’t encourage it. Anytime you see me mime in the future, know that I was either forced, and if you listen clearly, you will hear my voice over whatever of my CDs they play for me.

Let’s talk about your man. How and when did you meet Dr. Frabz?
We met in a studio in Ikoyi late last year.

What attracted you to him?
It is not something that you can see. He weighs his words. He is not a man of many words and that I respect a lot because I am a woman of many words. He is very respectful. He is very observant and he is very good at what he does.

Did the music contribute in anyway? I mean did he being in the music line contribute in any way to the development of the relationship?
I don’t know. I don’t think so. He is not the only producer that I have worked with and I work with a lot of other producers. I have intentions of working with ID Cabasa and Terry G.

Apart from music, what else do you like doing?
I like reading a lot. I can read anything, but they have to be good. I read Steven King and John Saw. I collected the complete series of their books because I like horror novels. In my university days, I read thrillers and courtroom drama, but I am not a fan of John Grishma. I like his books but if I want to go into real courtroom drama, I have other authors. I also read fantasy novels. At moment, I am doing British humour. I hate outdoor games but like indoor ones. I like crossword puzzles and scrabble.

At the Hip Hop Awards, you had an already prepared acknowledged list prior to your winning the prize for the Best Female Vocalist. What made you so sure?
The first step in everything is belief. I had already weighted the two and felt that also preparing a list for the Next Rated Category would be a bit over-confident. I rallied my friends on Facebook to vote. Waje and Nikki are my very good friends and they are fantastic signers in their own rights, but just because they are my friends does not mean I will sit back and let them win. I knew that I worked as hard and so I wrote my script. My wish was for the best man to win but I believed and prayed that I was going to win.

So you lobbied for the award?
I believe lobbying is a strong and derogatory word to use in this context. I would prefer campaign. I campaigned on Facebook. I did not go the length to which some people did to win these prizes.You don’t know what people did for these prizes. I did not send text messages to people. I did not do bulk messaging. I got bulk text messages in my phone. I got e-mails in my box. I got a lot of things and I did none of those. The only thing I did was ask my friends on Facebook to vote for me.

What about your parents are they there?
My dad is dead but my mom is in Warri. I called her in the middle of the night when I won the car and she woke up, she went to my sister’s room and woke her up and both of them started singing. I joined them on the phone. I was overwhelmed with joy and emotion and I had to sing the worship song which my mom brought up with her and my sister.

What’s your relationship with Timi Dakolo like?
You know you cannot rule it out that there comes when you and somebody, una body no go dey sweet una, but I don’t think it is something that people should sit on. Timi and I are just two ordinary people like everybody else. If we have differences, we can sort it or straighten it out. I don’t have differences with somebody up to the extent the person becomes my sworn enemy.

What are the remaining promises of the organizers of Idols West Africa that have not yet been fulfilled?
I don’t know. I am not part of them anymore. I only got the same kind of record deal that Timi Dakolo got. Mind you, the competition was a winner takes all thing. They kept their part of the bargain to a certain extent, but the contract expired before my first single came out.

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