By Remmy Diagbare
Olumide is precocious inÂ Â every way. In the politeÂ way he addresses you, in his carriage and in his genre of music. He is only 24 years old for Christâ€™s sake! Olumide, a 400 level Actuarial Science student of the University of Lagos is a classical singer with a deep baritone voice, that belts out songs capable of melting the hardest of hearts.
At the Allure International Womenâ€™s Day Seminar last March, he belted out soulful classical music to rousing applause. A few weeks ago, he performed again at the Rare Gem Awards organized by TW magazine. This time, heÂ surpassed hisÂ last performance, renderingÂ some R&B songs laced with Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Billy Dee Williams and The Maytals. In a chat with me, having won me over, I asked him about himself and how he got into classical music, rather than hip-hop.
Tell me about yourself?Â Â Â Â My name is Olumide Dada. I am from Abeokuta in Ogun State. I belong to a family of seven, including my Mum and Dad.
Though my dad is late, my mum is still alive. Iâ€™m a Christian, a catholic to be precise.
I am a final year Actuarial Science student at the University of Lagos. I started singing in 2003, about a year after I finished secondary school while waiting for my JAMB result. It was during this period I discovered myself. Then, I joined the church choir. To God be the glory, I discovered myself and one or two professionals too.
I became a member of the large choral, the best choral group in Africa in 2004. There, I learnt a lot of things. Since then, I have improved on my singing and professionalism in classical music and I have been able to lead a choral group.
What is Actuarial Science?
Actuarial Science, basically, deals with insurance but it is more of calculation, though I actually applied for accounting. Actuarial Science is about finance, investment and insurance.
What is your specialty in music?
My specialty is classical music, though I do contemporary and some highlife. I have a band, though small, that is where my passion is and it is what I know how to do best.
Why not hip-hop?
Everybody cannot do hip-hop. Though classical music is not yet profitable in Nigeria, it is coming up.
Is there an audience for classical music?
There is but not as big as hip-hopâ€™s.
How frequent do you get to perform?
On the average, I get to perform at least twice a month. It is okay but it can always be better.
What are the class of people that listen to it?
What kind of audience do you perform to?
Any audience. I feature in some church programmes; it could be at the beginning or after the opening prayer. For me, I donâ€™t do only classical music like I said earlier so, I combine everything.
Is it easy to make an album for classical music?
You could produce an album the same way you produce hip-hop. It depends on what you want but it is quite expensive.
What does it take to produce an album?
You need professional hands in that it is more difficult. It is music in its original form. If you are doing classical music, you need to know music.
Why Actuarial Science and not Music?
I donâ€™t have to study music. I have the talent and by the grace of God, few professional hands helped me.
How did you get into modelling?
My model manager, Seyi, actually introduced me. He walked up to me and told me I have all it takes to become a model, so I registered but they lost my contact. I was on Lagos Island when I met a friend of mine who was also a model and we exchanged numbers.
That was how I came back into modelling after one year. My first job was with Coca-Cola. I also got another one year contract with Starcomms. I am a model by chance because of the money. I donâ€™t really have much to say about modelling.
Do you do runway?
No , I donâ€™t do runway.
What are your future plans?
I wish to end up singing classical music.
How would you advise people aspiring to go into classical music?
It is not for everybody. It is different from every other kind of music. It must be perfect in terms of tonal quality and texture.
If you are not doing classical music, what other kind of music will you be doing?
R&B, but not hip-hop.
What kind of person are you?
Iâ€™m a reserved person.