By Kehinde Ajose
When you meet Sunkanmi, the first thing that strikes you is her bubbly persona and alluring stature. The light-skinned Olasunkanmi Rehanat Alonge is a graduate of Geophysics from the Olabisi Onabanjo University. She is a budding Afro-pop artiste whose song, ‘For body’ is making waves. The fashionable rising star is a nominee for the most promising act category, Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA). In this interview, she talks about why Olamide featured in her song, why she can’t wear bra and pant in a music video, and the challenges of being an upcoming act, among other issues.
Why did you opt for the name Sunkanmi?
I chose the name, Sunkanmi, because I intend to come into the industry with total realness. I want people to know that there is a power behind whatever name your parent gives you. Olasunkanmi means wealth comes to me. My own definition of Sunkanmi is, it’s possible if you believe. Music has been part of me. I didn’t choose music, music actually chose me. Music consoles me when I am sad. Whenever that happens, I compose a song. I get solace from music. I didn’t come from a Christian home so I didn’t have the opportunity to join the choir.
How did you discover your ability to sing?
My singing ability comes natural to me. Whenever I hear a song, I instantly create my own remix of such a song. My siblings are always stunned; they tell me that the way I am singing that song isn’t the way the artiste sang it. I would have loved to venture into music when I was much younger.
What has music done for you?
When I came into the industry I was on the big side, but the music industry has helped me in working on that aspect in order to project a visually appealing image. Music makes me connect to God. Before then, I didn’t take God serious, but now I do. Nothing gets done without God.
Are you saying you were not this beautiful?
Yes, I was not this beautiful, I was big. You know it’s showbiz. If you are not looking hot like Tiwa Savage, trust me no one will listen to your song. As a female artiste, you appeal more to the guys. If you are not looking good, they won’t be interested in your music. They will tell you: “You try” and drop your CD. Once they know that you are attractive; they will be interested in listening to your music. I was just this carefree girl. Music has helped me to be careful with my eating habits.
What are the challenges of being an artiste?
There are so many challenges. Nothing good actually comes easy. There are some crazy things in the industry I don’t like. Things like being affiliated to a group, before you can be heard.
What do you mean by that?
As a rising artiste, you need to belong to a known record label before you can be taken seriously. When you take your CD to a radio station, nobody will give you attention because you are not affiliated to any known label. You don’t get that respect even if you have a good material; I learnt that in this industry. You have to know people like Don Jazzy or Banky W before you can have a smooth sail. I have been able to scale through that by God’s grace. I don’t have anybody I am affiliated to. The people at the radio stations will regard you when you are there, but once you take your leave, you will start hearing your song just once in a week. All that happens because one isn’t affiliated to a record label
Have you encountered any flop during any of your performances?
I was scared when I first performed. Someone once said in the crowd: “She is just fine, she just get swag”. Some parts of the audience wanted me to leave the stage while some others wanted me to stay. It hasn’t been a smooth sail for me. Some people have said that I am not a fantastic singer. For me, I strive to improve with every of my performance.
How has the acceptance of your music been?
I mentioned earlier that it can only get better. These days all I get is the positive comments. People say I look and sound better.
What was it like working with Olamide?
Olamide is a big talent. I learnt a lot while working with him. He is the kind of artiste that doesn’t use pen and paper to write his songs. Once Olamide hears a beat, he starts singing on the beat. His freestyles are incredibly good.
What inspired For body?
For body is a song intended to make people happy. I just wanted a Yoruba song that would make people feel good. When I met Olamide in the studio, I just told him I would love to do a danceable Yoruba song. I played him two of my songs I had already done before then. He listened to them, but didn’t like the first one because he had done something similar. When he heard For body, he loved it. He wrote his verse in a short time span. The song is doing well right now. I featured Olamide because I intended to leverage on his star power. It’s a song you will be forced to put on replay when you listen to it.
Have you ever had any wardrobe malfunction during a performance?
I have had it a couple of times but the one I am about to share wasn’t a wardrobe malfunction. When I was in Awka for Star Trek, there was this shirt I wore that I didn’t tuck in well .While performing, there was a way the shirt came out that didn’t really go down well with me. It wasn’t the image I saw in the mirror before I mounted the stage.
When people meet you at first, what kind of reaction do you get?
People often tell me that I don’t look like a Yoruba girl. They say I look like an Igbo. I am a Lagosian from Epe. My dad is from Epe, while my mum is from Idumagbo. I am a full Lagos girl.
Would you say your talent and sex appeal work for you?
The two work for me. People are attracted to beautiful things. I am a reserved person; I don’t always dress like an entertainer every time.
What is your opinion about entertainers who expose their bodies?
Some people believe in the philosophy of ‘if you have it, flaunt it.’ If the beauty is in you, it’s in you. There is a way you can be classy yet look fashionable.
How far can you go?
I try as much as possible to look sexy in a moderate way. If I am wearing a short skirt, it’s not going to be all that short. You will never see me wear pant and bra in a music video. I believe so much in putting the attention on my inner beauty. I am not against people who flaunt their body, because that is their own selling point.