By: ADERONKE ADEYERI
Lara George began her musical journey in her alma mater school choir – Queens’ College, Yaba, Lagos. Years later, she transformed into a professional whose inspirational style of delivery helped define the new sound and direction of Nigerian gospel music.
While studying Architecture at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lara joined the fellowship music team on campus, where she met Ty, Emem, and Dapo. The bond tightened, and further yielded the group KUSH.
The group eventually split. In spite of all the challenges encountered after the breakup, she re-launched her music career with a solo debut album titled ‘Forever In My heart’ with Hit Single “Ijoba Orun’.
The much-celebrated album earned Lara several nominations and awards such as ‘Voice of the Year 2008’ Nigeria Music Awards, as well as ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Female Artiste of the Year’, Nigeria Gospel Music Awards 2009. Lara who is now in the United States putting finishing touches to her new video talks about her career and also the home front:
Why did you wait till 1997 to play professionally after singing for many years at the secondary school?
Well, the truth is that I wasn’t even trying to do music professionally because it never occurred to me that I could succeed as a singer. I sort of stumbled on the opportunity to actually record the first album in 1997 and as God would have it, everything fell into place.
Do you engage in other things other than music?
I certainly do. I have always been involved in real estate.
How does your husband cope with his law practice and being your manager?
Both roles are inter-related actually. Being a manager has to do with looking out for your client’s best interests and as a husband, he has to see to my happiness which also means seeking and protecting my interest jealously. It is only an added bonus that he knows the law. That is the secret and I am happy he is my manager because no man can understand me better.
Has there been situations when you have wished he were not your manager?
Yes, I feel that way sometimes. The proximity between us as husband and wife can make working together a little bit too intense . Sometimes, he may be looking at a situation from a professional point of view while I will be overwhelmed by emotions. It can be challenging for the most part though but I have to say that it’s the best thing to have my husband as my manager.
What effect does this have on the home front?
The negative part of it is that we sometimes bring the strain of inability to agree on modus operandi to the home front. It’s a constant struggle to keep things going but we ensure that we work things out between us no matter what the origin of the issue could be.
How do you cope with your responsibilities as a wife, mother and an artiste?
I try not to take too much at a time and I have and will always involve my husband in my work. It helps us to bond and carries the family along.
Do you agree that the early musicians composed meaningful songs than the present day musicians?
Yes, we had a lot of meaningful songs written in the earlier days but even in those days, there were a lot of innuendos as just as much as the razzmatazz that we have now. I think the difference is what today’s media have chosen to promote.
In those days, people like Christy Essien Igbokwe got plenty of airplay for their songs, but if you do a song with that kind of content today where your video does not have butts and boobs, your work is sort of relegated to the background.
Even my inspirational songs which are not necessarily “churchy” are already placed in a category like ‘oh it’s gospel,’ without people even taking time to listen to it. At the end of the day, it’s all about choice.
When the media decides to promote meaningful music then we will discover we have many beautiful and meaningful songs in today’s Nigerian music scene.
Would you say you are fulfilled as a musician?
I am on the road to fulfillment. Life is a journey and I certainly feel like I am traveling my own God-ordained route and so I am happy. I love my life.
Some musicians leave their homes or loved ones before they get inspirations to compose songs, is it the same with you?
I don’t feel the need to leave the comfort of my home before I can write music. As a matter of fact, most of my best songs were written at home.
Many gospel artistes use titles like evangelist, pastor etc. Why is Lara George not using one?
(smiles)I don’t really know any who does. My own people in the music industry do not use titles. I believe that only God can anoint . Any other name we give ourselves is simply our own hype of our own selves.
How would react to gospel artiste turning into secular musicians?
If a gospel artiste becomes a secular artiste, I will not judge him or her. I think it is a sad thing though but I think our society needs to be checked on how we treat those who choose to be gospel artists. Some Nigerians need to be taught on how to treat the gospel artists that sing to build and inspire us with respect and a little bit of dignity.
What is new about you?
I released a single about a month ago, titled “you alone oluwa medley”. It’s a 10-minute long medley and is available for free downloads on You Alone Oluwa Medley . I also released a mini-album on the 4th of September which was my 10th wedding anniversary.
It is a love album and the lead track of that album is titled “love Nwantinti” just like I described earlier. I just finished the video shoot in America and I hope to release the video at about the same time.