After coming second at the first West African Idol in 2007, singer Omawumi Megbele has gone ahead to become a force in the music sector. Her jovial nature and distinct sense of style have helped her gain acceptance.
In this interview, she tells us of her plans for marriage, her baby and her career.
What informed your change of hairstyle?
I always make different hairstyles, but whenever I want to get on stage, I know I have a signature look. I try different things. I like my afro look and I advise everybody gets one too, irrespective of the desire to experiment with other styles.
You seem to have a thing for African fabrics sewn in tube style. Why is that?
I used to tell myself it is cheaper and asides from that its nicer and I like to portray my culture and where I come from every time I have to make an appearance as an artiste. I am an export, don’t forget. If I am taken to America, I am not expected to wear American clothes. As regards my love for tubes, I like accentuating my shoulders because they are small and it makes me a lot comfortable and before you ask why they are always short, it is because I like to show off my legs and that is about it.
Which Nigerian designers do you work with?
I work with a whole lot Nigerian designers, Ituen Basi, Sasha’s Eclectic, Ejiro Amos Tafiri. I also work with stylists, Ebun Aboderin and Ify. I have never made myself out to be a fashion icon or fashionista, I try hard though, but I am a musician, not a fashionista.
Tell us about your upcoming concert
I have my concert coming up in April. I realised a lot of people wonder who I really am, which is what I intend showing on the day of the concert. I agree I joke and I have a tendency to be a bit healthy crazy but I am also a very serious person. All these personalities are what I intend displaying on stage on that day.
How do you manage to keep up your energy on stage?
I think it is because I perform frequently nowadays, that gives a level of confidence. However, before I get on stage, I usually like to relax and save up the energy.
Has there ever been a time, when people failed to respond to your performance the way you expected?
There has and it happens a lot of time. It is usually a mixture of both. There are times when people go crazy and there are times when they don’t but the thing is, I am an eclectic artiste. I have had both command and energy performances, so I understand it is not every time people want to jump and shout.
What is delaying your second album?
I have been working and now I am ready. My album will be out in a matter of weeks and it will be titled, Lasso of Truth and before you ask what it means. My last album was titled Wonder Woman and in the story about her, she has a lasso with which she whips and forces victims to tell the truth. That is what I am about as an artiste and it reflects in my songs too. It will be a 12 track album and I can’t reveal for now who I worked with because anything can happen at any time.
What do you do apart from music?
I work, although it relates to music too. I write and compose songs for blue chip companies which they use for adverts. I also have personal businesses that I run, don’t ask me about it. I also host programmes, I did The Headies last year. I act too and will be off to Ghana next week for a movie location with John Dumelo, Majid Michel.
What do you intend doing with your law programme?
I will have to go to Law school but I don’t know about practising
Six years after West Africa Idols, why do you think you didn’t win?
While in the house, I worked as hard as I could do and when it was announced, there was nothing I could do. People thought I was faking my happiness for Timi Dakolo, but I wasn’t. At that moment, I had two feelings. A sense of gratitude, because I did not believe I could get that far and of course I felt low that I dint win, but I am happy Timi (Dakolo) won. It was better he won than anybody.
How is your baby (Kamila) doing?
She is doing really fine.
How come you hardly show her off?
There is no time for all of that. She goes to school and she comes from a large family. When she is not with me, she could be with her grandparents or her god mother (Waje) or her many uncles and aunties. She was born into a large on both sides.
Why are you yet to disclose the identity of the father?
It doesn’t really concern anybody.
Do you have plans to get married?
Matrimony is not something to rush into and I intend to live by that. I will not fall for the pressure of marriage because if I do and in the end something goes wrong, the same people will ask why I didn’t take my time. I don’t think it is a bad thing to take my time to understand the person I intend getting married to.
Does that imply there is someone on board at the moment?
Dem no dey know finish.
Do you agree with the opinion that you are the hottest Nigerian female singer?
Amin Jesu! I am not someone who is moved with titles but I always pray that God continually makes me relevant and bless me with a fan base that will stay true to me and my career. I am a musician, whether I am the first or the last is not a problem for me but I strive to make good music and I get people who like it.
How would you describe your journey into music since you began?
It has been great. There have been more good than bad times.
You look like a very strong hearted person. How do you react to disappointments?
I am not as strong minded as you seem to believe. I just have a lot confidence in myself and in the God I serve and the people surrounding. If I said nothing breaks me, that is lie, but not much can.
Tell us about your humanitarian projects
There are a couple of initiatives I am a part of Project Alert is one of them. I also worked with Boyle Foundation when I teamed up with Waje, M.I and eLDee for. For all of these courses, I make my stand known, Project Alert for instance, I made it known that I totally harbour and hate violence against women.
What is your take on the music industry?
I like to be optimistic. I must say we are growing and getting better by the day and I hope it continues like that. These days, we hear of international collaborations and I’m glad at the rate at which it is increasing. We have heard of Wizkid and Chris Brown’s. D’banj and Kanye West. Psquare and Akon and many like that. However, the level of piracy still bothers me. I wish something concrete could be done about it.
What international act will you like to collaborate with?
I have always wanted to work with Angelique Kidjo because she is African and is an exportable product. Alicia Keys is also on the list because she makes meaningful music and is pro woman and that is what I do too. Locally, I will say Asa because I respect her and her craft.
You seem to lean towards the feministic. Is this inspired by any personal experience?
No, I just be woman. It depends on who you are and it gets to a point in one’s career when you are expected to do certain things with it. If I were a man, I will protect man. I have my voice and I will protect women and children.
Music is a very great tool. What do you plan to do with it?
I want to be able to inspire people with meaningful works made by me