By BENJAMIN NJOKU
Weird MC, born Adesola Adesimbo Idowu, is one female rapper in Nigeria who dazzles on stage.
She was one of the artistes who closed this year’s edition of the annual musical concert, tagged “Felabration” which held penultimate Sunday at the New African Shrine. Showtime Celebrity cornered her. She shares the story of how she dumped basketball for music.
From where do you derive the strength you exhibit on stage?
Every human being has a unique gift from God. At the beginning, it was a gift I didn’t understand. My mother told me that as a little girl, I was restless, energetic and active. My father, at a point, was worried about me.
But after awhile, some of my aunties intervened and allayed his fears as they got him to understand that I would be energetic and active when I grew up.
Not knowing that later in my life, I would go into music. It’s one special thing that has really made my brand stand out.
Any time I hit the international stage or perform anywhere in Nigeria, the first thing people always talk about is the energy I display on stage. They always wonder where I derive my energy from. I thank God for the gift.
At what age did you realize you had that gift?
I started appreciating the gift when I was 14-15years. I was playing football as well as basket ball. I was also into athletics. In fact, I realized that each time, we were running on the pitch, I would run faster than my opponents.
I did hundred meters, two hundred meters, high jump and long jump. That was when I realized that the gift was something special that I should pay more attention to.
Were you doing music by the side?
Then, I wanted to be a rapper. I like rap music but I was not certain whether I would do music professionally. My main focus was actually basketball. I wanted to play basketball.
But along the line, some of my friends advised me against the choice. They criticized the way basketball players are treated in the country. They suggested, however, that I should travel to America, if I must pursue a career in basket ball. I wanted to embrace the idea as I have a British Passport. I was born in London, I could easily travel to America from London.
Again, I caught the music bug. It was the case of me choosing between music and basketball. Later, I went for music because I was more attracted to it than playing basket ball.
I love the idea of going on stage, performing to people and influencing them with my lyrics on stage. I started to enjoy it, and later, concluded I wanted to do music professionally.
What was the experience like the first time you stormed the studio to record your songs?
It was frustrating as well as limiting. I’m somebody who like space, I am very energetic. Standing in a vocal butt to do my vocal, I felt restless. But I had to put the music out for the people to consume it.
So, I did some songs like “Allen Avenue” and later went on stage. I saw how the song was massively received by my fans.
Was your debut album, Allen Avenue, appreciated beyond your imagination?
It was shocking. I got the sign that Allen Avenue was going to be a special album after I finished recording the album. I took it to the Afro beat King, Fela to listen to.
The reason I took it to him was because I sampled one of his evergreen songs, Look and Laugh as part of the music I put together for the single.
I wanted to obtain permission from him, but when he heard the song, he was impressed that I have done something different. According to him, no woman in Africa has ever used Afro beat music to do rap, such that it sounded so marketable.
He gave me his blessing and said that he was in support of my career in music. But the mistake I made was that we had shot the music video before I went to see him.
I wished that we hadn’t done that otherwise, I would have begged him to feature in the video. That was the beginning of a journey for me to know that Allen Avenue was going to be a special single. The single was a bang.
They said that before I came out with Allen Avenue, Nigerians were not receptive to Hip-hop music. But immediately I hit the market, I won the very first Hip-hop music award in this country. I remember, it was EME Awards. That was how we started opening the doors for Hip-hop music to grow and flourish in Nigeria.
After the release of your first single, and it was a hit, were you encouraged to do more hit songs?
I had the courage that my songs would to places. This was because the scene had started to grow. After my emergence, The Remedies surfaced, followed by Tony Totula and 2face. At this point, I decided to change my style again. And this saw me infusing carriage music with talking drum.
I remember playing it to somebody in London, and the person was amazed. Many people were already saying that my second album would be bigger than “Allen Avenue.”
It’s very rare for a musician’s second album to beat his first album. I shot the music video, and the moment I took the video to the MTV Base, they were excited. I have major hits on my hand. And when I released it, it was like an explosion.
How do you define your kind of music?
I don’t even define my music. What I can say is that it’s fusion. It’s like a coat of many colours. You can hear a bit of highlife, brass, pop. It’s a combination of everything. I am a hip-hop fusionist.
When the new generation of Nigerians musicians started emerging, you were about the only female voice in the industry. How do you react to what is happening today where more female singers are taking the centre stage?
I think it is a wonderful thing that more women are now in the game. For awhile, I was worried that women were not forthcoming in the industry. Gradually, they started emerging in the scene. First was Tiwa savage, followed by Waje and later Omawunmi. It’s a blessing to the industry. More female rappers are also emerging
on the scene; Shasha has been there for a while just as myself. It can only get better and bigger with time.
Nothing much has been heard from you in recent times?
I am actually in the studio recording my latest songs. We have actually shot a video for one of the new songs. We are editing right now. We are also recording more songs, in fact, I just want to round off by doing a few collabos. I have already done some collabos but I want to do more .By the grace of God we are good to go. Yes, I know that my fans are missing me. This evening(at grand finale of Felaberation 2014), when I mounted the stage, I was almost in tears. The kind of reception given to me on stage was overwhelming.
In less than two years, the female singers in Nigeria lost two of their colleagues, Goldie and Kefee, to the cold hands of death. Do you think they left a vacuum in the industry following their sudden exit?
I don’t know. You know they just started growing in the industry. Kefee was around for a while and to come to term with the fact that she’s no more is still a shock to me. May God continue to protect and preserve us. And we will continue to do things to make them proud wherever they may be.
What would you say was the greatest mistake you have made as a singer?
I think as a musician, the moment you stepped into the spotlight, you have lost your right to privacy. That’s the only thing I can say on this matter. I am a very, very private person, but now, I have lost it to the public.
Why are you always described as a controversial singer?
I don’t know why. Sometimes, when you are different and unique, people tend to put you in a box. I don’t think I am controversial at all. I am just like everybody else. Well, that’s part of the price I have to pay as a public figure.
What’s one funny thing that has happened to you on stage?
I was performing in Lekki. Then I used to wear two rings and it happened that somebody held my hand and was dragging one of my rings from my finger. I was resisting him, but at point, I allowed him to take the ring because I didn’t want him to hurt me. It pained me because the ring was very expensive.
You have a masculine look?
I am a fit person. I hardly put on women’s clothes.
Is weird MC planning to marry some time soon?
It’s in God’s hands.
But there is a man in your life?
Yes, there’s a man in waiting. You have to be patient.