British-Nigerian singer cum songwriter, Funmilola Rachel Garton, known by the stage name, Lola Rae introduced herself into the Nigerian entertainment scene last year with the release of her debut single ‘Fimile’ featuring kukere master Iyanya. After the success of that single, she is back again with another banging single “You Know What My Name Is”. In this chat with Weekend Groove the returnee diva with Nigerian, Ghanaian and British blood talks about her music, her new management deal with Twenty 20 Media and her acquaintance with Iyanya:
BY IYABO AINA
How did you come about the name Funmilola?
My mum is a Ghanaian and my dad, English and they both lived and worked in Nigeria for 50 years. They met and got married; my three sisters and I were born in Nigeria and we lived in the country for fifteen years. We had to go back to school, but my dad insisted that he wanted to die in this country because he loves Nigeria and claims to be a Nigerian. We all have Nigerian passports and this is the only country that I really know, that was why I go by the name Funmilola Rachel Garton because I am a Nigerian. I was born in Obalende, Lagos and I am proud to be a Nigerian.
I have always had the passion for music. I feel like adding to what the likes of Tiwa Savage, Seyi Shay, Omawuni, Waje and a host of others have been doing so well in the entertainment industry. It is a way of making a statement in a distinctive dimension and discharging my God-given talent. I also want to showcase my talent as well as make the young ones realise that they have got one talent or the other to create jobs and opportunities for themselves.
Tell us about your experience so far in the music industry, and how you would describe the Nigeria music industry?
To me, the experience is really good. And at the same time, difficult because sometimes you will want to give out the best of you but there is no room for such. I strongly believe that the entertainment industry will find its place in terms of structure in no time, and we will not relent to attain a well structured system. I am 100 per-cent ready to face the music and the many challenges I may encounter. I have nothing to fear . I was born here in Nigeria and I am used to the system. At present, I am launching my coming back with a big bang. I am really enthused to carve a niche for myself and affect the industry positively. My management is taking necessary steps to stamp my come back on the scene.
Like how many songs have you done so far
Actually, I haven’t released any album but I have three singles; “My Tingle, Fimile ft Iyanya,and You know what my name is”.
What’s your kind of music?
My kind of music is Afro-pop, because it has a lot of pop influence but it’s still African in-terms of the language I use which is pidgin English.
How was it like working with Iyanya ?
Iyanya is a veteran in the game, he’s done so much and he was the one that said he wanted to feature in the song. I was so surprised and had to ask him if he had heard the song before and he told me there was no problem . Right now, Iyanya is more like a big brother to me .
What level of influence would you say Iyanya brought on that song?
He brought a positive influence on the song because after releasing the audio the song got more than 200,000 views on Youtube
What would you say you love about Iyanya?
I love his music, and I love his crazy way of twisting his waist
What will make you different from top female artistes we have in the industry?
My sound; because in my new single it sounds as if I’m rapping but I’m not a rapper. I’m trying to rebrand myself in order to stand out and be unique . Also, I will be doing more of stage performances and not just the normal studio recording.
Which Nigerian female artiste do you admire?
I admire the likes of Tiwa Savage, Omawumi, Waje and a host of others because they are the first set of people who started Afro-pop. I feel like adding to what they have been doing in the entertainment industry. Music is my way of making a statement in a distinctive dimension and discharging my God-given talent.
Your growing up and when did you move out of Nigeria?
I was born in Lagos. I lived in Nigeria for about 15 years then moved to Ghana for one year before moving to the UK. The move was for educational reasons because I had my primary education at the St. Saviours School and my secondary education at Lekki British International High School, Lagos State. I later moved to Ghana for a year because my grandma was sick and I eventually relocated to England for my university education.
About my growing up, it was a very normal background, though my dad is a foreigner but he worked in Nigeria for about 45years. But my main base has always been Nigeria and it has been fun
How do you handle your male admirers?
Actually, I’m a very shy person and always surrounded by guys but what I do is just to mingle with them.
Are you fulfilled with where you are?
To the glory of God ‘Watch my Tingo’ has close to 100,000 views on YouTube. It is such an overwhelming feeling; I am so thankful to God and everyone, who has gone to watch it. Sometimes, I refresh the page to make sure I’m not seeing different things to be honest.
So, I am very fulfilled in terms of where I am and where I can I see I’m going and I know there is more to come
How do you get inspiration?
It’s usually from things that happen around me. For instance, if you listen to one of my singles where I used lyrics like ’17,18,19, ‘ I was just trying to portray a picture of a woman and her bottom moving in a particular motion while walking with the phrase ’17, 18, 19 gbagada’. It’s hard to describe but trust me, the next time you see a lady walking you’ll notice it. I actually picked it up from School here in Nigeria.
What’s your view about nudity in music videos?
I don’t agree nudity is encouraging and it’s exactly what has taken over the entertainment industry because everybody wants to sell his/her song. And it seems to be working because the fans love it. I’m not saying one should get naked but you just have to give your fans the best. For instance, the way I dress when going onstage is quite different from the way I dress on a normal day. I always like to look sexy while performing and it’s a way of giving my fans the best.
What is your greatest asset?
I think my physique, because I remember a lot of people usually say they love my stature, that I’m petite
What do you look out for in a man?
I like guys that can make me laugh, genuinely kind and God-fearing because my family is very religious
What should we be expecting from you soon?
I would be doing lots of collaborations soon. I have featured Iyanya, Seli Bobo and Banky W. I want Nigerians to be at alert and be on the lookout for my works. At present, I am working on two singles.