‘I admire Don Jazzy, P-Square a lot’ – Yemi Alade

  • By Olamide Onipede

yemi alade4

Effizzy baby Yemi Alade is no doubt one of the most prominent singers in Nigeria at the moment.

One of those that can be said to have been around for a while, she bid farewell to obscurity upon releasing the hit single, ‘Johnny’ in 2014.

Her career has since soared and nowadays, with several nominations and awards under her belt, she is headlining within and beyond Nigeria, in a chat she reveals why she admire Don Jazzy.

How do you feel winning the Best Female Act award at such a big stage as the MAMA awards?

Ahhh wow! (One second please) okay…how do I feel? I get reminded every day, that I am this; I am that now (laughs). I am very thankful because I feel like the effort of my team has been rewarded to an extent, it really does feel good, I won’t deny that, and I really appreciate the organisers, the station and everything that they’ve done.

With the calibre of acts you contested with, did you really fancy your chances?

Sincerely, my fingers were crossed, my toes were crossed, my hands were crossed, and when I was going to South Africa from Nigeria, I was really going to just attend, I didn’t have very high hopes. In fact, I went there to perform and not thinking about bringing back the trophy, that was the mind-set.

You have lost several awards in the past, how did you feel with several nominations but no award?

Ehmm, yes for quite a number of almost 2 years now, I have lost a few awards, even though I was nominated. The feeling has always been positive, it has always been just keep working and going on, awards will come and go. I just try my best not to take it to heart, I just really try my best; the theme was just keep working

You career has been soaring after the release of ‘Johnny’, what would you attribute the success to?

God all the way; He’s the one that has the plan in the first place. ‘Johnny’ was the song that wasn’t officially released; it was a song that leaked on to the Internet and it started sky rocketing. What we did as a team in Effizy was to keep pushing, the song flew very far, very fast all over the world, and the objective was to try and catch up, it was a very huge struggle, a very rough journey but somehow we tried to catch up, we are still trying to catch up but God has been the engine room all the way.

You recently did a song with Ghana’s hottest music group, R2BEES, how was the experience like recording with them?

The experience was (laughs), the experience was one I will not forget in a rush, it was, I think by far the most tasking experience, most difficult experience, because trying to get them on song took a long time. We did travel to Ghana, we had to keep going to see them almost every day, trying to first of all, Mugeez (the dreadlock-wearing member of R2bess) jumped on the song then Peedee never really jumped on the song, it just started taking for ever, it was really tough because we have to dump everything, all the media tours we came there for, we sort of had to dump it on the side and try to get them on the song, it was the toughest, like I don’t think I’ve ever left everything I’m doing to try and follow up on anybody to jump on a song. And the video was another hurdle. A lot of money had to go out, we were told to even pay, it was crazy but I thank God for Mugeez who somehow still pulled through and made it possible for us.

Your new song is titled ‘Na Gode’ which means ‘Thank God’ in Hausa. What’s the inspiration behind it and what purpose do you want it to serve?

My new song, ‘Na Gode’ is obviously the song that thanks God and also reminds people out there that no matter what situation you’re going through there’s always someone who’s going through worse. You might not have AC in your house but there’s someone who even doesn’t have a roof. It just reminds us to just always be thankful, because it’s in the Bible that even when you’re thankful, God will definitely continue to bless you. So it’s an added advantage to keep thanking God, the song was written by Selebobo, he also jumped on the song as well.

You lost your dad recently, tell us what you learnt from him and what you are going to miss about him?

(Deep sigh) May his soul rest in peace. I learnt a lot from him, in fact everything from him. Sometimes my mum just looks at me and laughs and just says that’s how your father behaves, that’s how your father this, that’s how your father that. So I guess I really just absorbed a lot of things from the old man but other than that, my dad taught us a lot with illustrations. He took a jar of beans one day and shook it up for a few minutes and before he shook it he told us and we could see that they were different sizes of beans, small, big, enormous, really tiny, then he shook it up for a few seconds and when he showed us we could see that all the small beans were on top, all the big ones had gone down, and he just said can you see? And that was all. I took a lot, because it just obviously means, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it doesn’t matter how you look, infact most times the ones who looks like they’re disadvantaged, are the ones with all the advantage that they need.  I will miss his presence. I will miss his fatherly love, I will miss everything about him, even the way that he eats too, the way he sleeps, I will miss everything about him.

What would you say life has taught you about his death?

It definitely taught me that there’s so much you can do while you’re alive, it only makes sense to do everything you can, and that time waits for no man, we don’t know when, we don’t know where, it’s just best for us to live life well. My dad was someone who was more like a philanthropist, he would do anything for everybody, you don’t have to be related to him by blood, he left a legacy, he was a good man and definitely I have a lot to learn.

You have been romantically linked with Alexx Ekubo and your manager, Taiye Aliyu in the past. What do you have to say about this?

I have nothing to say…

How do you cope with men advances?

I just cope, it’s natural (giggles) I have well-behaved suitors.

Did you ever believe you will get to where you are today?

Well, the dream is way farther than where I am right now, so I’m just thankful for the journey so far, I don’t know how the dots are going to connect, but where I want to be is millions of miles away from where I am now.

Was there ever a time you feel like quitting?

Ohh yeah, many times, many times I wanted to take a job, many times I wanted to take a white collar job that will take me 24/7 everyday in a week. There were times I just wanted to stop this music of course.

Where would you say is the next chapter for you in the years ahead?

I see the Yemi Alade brand topping UK and US charts performing at arenas like ehmm, the Madison Square Garden, rocking the stage with big artistes like Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and even maybe the newcomers by then would have been greater. The likes of Usher, R Kelly, jumping on songs with them, having the biggest album from Africa to the world, the dream is big.

Who are the female singers you admire?

I definitely admire Tiwa Savage, she is definitely one of the females who came up and changed the game, by being different and I also admire Cynthia Morgan as well, because she also came up with something different.

How about male acts?

Male singers, P-Square is top on my list because of their resilience because of their lengthy stay in the industry, their work ethic, their accomplishments and everything about P Square is very worthy of admiration. I also admire Don Jazzy for not stopping even when the world thought it was over for him, he gave birth to something new, refreshing and lasting, The Mavin dynasty. I also admire Banky W because of what he stands for musically in Nigeria.

Tell us the secret behind your signature hairstyle?

It all started with Clarance Peters wanting to shoot ‘Johnny’ video and he asked my hair stylist to bring hair styles that would stand out and that would also show my face, show my face very well so that when people watch my video, they will easily relate and say Ohh that is Yemi Alade. His second reason was that he wanted a situation where after this video people will go to the saloon and tell them and say Ohh I want Yemi Alade’s hairstyle, and that really just about the secret, then Ad smiles came up with the hairstyle, since then I haven’t been able to take it off my head.

Apart from the song you did with Eldee some years back, you haven’t done any big collabo with Nigerian A-list acts.

Hmm… I don’t know  but I have worked with Phyno, who else? There are two things, it’s really very tough to follow up on A-list artistes because they have a lot they are doing, their schedule is very very tight. I myself I’m a very busy person. I would have to put aside my work to follow up on an A-list artistes, but what I’ve done recently is to try and find time in my busy schedule, and possibly make provision for producer to always be with me so that even when I meet up with this artiste wherever I am, I could still work with them.

Are there big collabos you are working on at the moment?

Ohh yeah definitely but you know I would not mention any.

You could have done something else, why music?

Because music chose me, music won’t let me go, music followed me all the way from secondary, primary school to the university and kept hunting me until I gave in.

How is that?

My music journey began when I first wrote my first song in primary six, and it advanced when I became a chorister, in the main choir even though I was a teenager, and then it became just a little bit more serious when I joined a girl group called Naughty Spices and then I won a talent show, then it was time for a career.

More news & gists about : , ,

Follow us on twitter