By Fatima Garba
After two years of women winning the Nigerian Idol crown, Moses Obi-Adigwe, the sweet-voiced university graduate from Delta state finally got one for the guys, inheriting the Nigerian Idol champion crown from Mercy Chinwo. His victory is not just about the title though, the cuddly teddy bear is now 7.5 million naira richer, owns a brand new SUV and has a recording contract also worth 7.5 million naira, all thanks to lead sponsor Etisalat.
What has your journey been like so far through the whole Nigerian Idol process?
[Laughs] The journey so far has been interesting, to say the least. I mean, come on…Father Lord. There are twelve contestants, right? And we get a list of 15 songs, and then you are now the twelfth person to pick a song. That has happened—twice!
Oh wow. So how did you deal?
You don’t complain! You find a way to make lemonade. You find sugar; borrow from your neighbour if you have to, and that is all that I have tried to do. Whenever things like that happened and I was the last to choose … I would go and listen to the song, and ask myself, why don’t I like the song, what can I do to make me like it.
So did any song choice ever scare you?
No, I just tried to make it interesting. If I had gotten all the songs I wanted it would have just felt too easy.
What has been your most difficult moment on the show?
I think it would have to be the Top 12 eviction show. I had just gotten in from [the] wildcard [round]. I had just been evicted and had packed my things to leave the house. And the day before the eviction show, I had heard another contestant—on the radio!—and doing an interview about the fact that she was on the show, and people should vote for them. Other people were doing PR and campaigning. I was just coming off the wildcard show, a one in eight chance, so I hadn’t done anything. I was just happy that I made it through!
Then I was like, wait. Nine of the other contestants have had at least two weeks to campaign. I haven’t had a chance to. I didn’t have a flier, a piece of paper; what was I going to do? But somehow, by the grace of God I made it through. And, that week, I had sung a song that wasn’t popular in Nigeria—Jessie J’s ‘Domino’. It was tense but I made it through, and sadly two didn’t.
How has it been working with songwriters, producers and vocal trainers? What has that done for you as a musician and an artist?
Working with KDL [Kehinde Dacosta-Lawrence, Music Director for the show] has been great…you read his credentials and you are like oh my goodness! He has worked with Whitney, Bobby Brown, Eddie Murphy and lots of other [International] musicians. So, for me, it is such a blessing. One thing that I liked about working with him is that he respects your opinion. I tell him, “KDL, this is how I want to record my song. I want to change this, I want to do that,” and he says, “Okay, let’s hear it.” And if it works, it works.
Who is Moses as an artist, who is Moses as a musician? Who is he going to be in the Nigerian musical landscape?
The prayer and the hope is that I am going to be that Nigerian artist that creates a song here in Nigeria, and that song is a hit in America, Europe. I want to do music that embodies all of Nigeria. I want other people around the world to acknowledge it, accept it and understand it.
It is good to be original, but it is also good to be successful. For me it is all about finding that perfect balance between being commercial, being international but still making … an impact as a Nigerian artist. He [Moses] is going to be passionate and lovable; he is going to think about everything. That is me, because for me, music is all about expression.
In three words or less, how would you describe your Nigerian Idol journey?