interviewBy OpeOluwani AKINTAYO
The controversial Adesola Adesumbo Idowu, popularly known as Weird MC, is a producer, song writer and rap artiste.
During her secondary school days in Nigeria, she founded the defunct female group, Weirdos. Born in England into a family which didn't want her to go into showbiz, she went ahead with her dream, becoming one of Nigeria's and indeed, Africa's most sought after female rap artistes. Allen Avenue was her first Video- Single, making her the first Nigerian artiste to produce a single-video. After this, she featured in Alariwo of Africa's Yawa go Gas.
Then, she travelled out of the country for seven years, only to come out with her big -banger-cartoon- animated Ijoya in 2005, which automatically made her a 'heartthrob' to both old and young, especially to her once-upon-a-time critics. Till date, she's still holding her fans tight and dropping the jaws of many with her brand of music. She's also won many awards. Weird MC is our guest. Enjoy her!
Take me back to the good old days, the time of Allen Avenue and Yawa go Gas with Alariwo...
Yeah, Allen Avenue was my first single before I traveled out of the country. I was much younger then. Let me quickly clear one thing here: many people used to think that Yawa go Gas was a collaboration between Alariwo and myself. But I only featured in it.
I was fortunate to be born and partly raised in The United Kingdom and in Lagos. I have two Citizenship Passports- that of the UK and Nigeria. I had my primary and secondary schools here, Abeokuta, Ogun State. But being the kind of person that I am, I have mixed blood flowing in my vein, and that's why my music is diversified from Hip-hop, to Rap and Afro Beat.
I love to be original. I don't like to pretend. After Yawa go Gas, I left for the UK, stayed there for seven years where I participated in many rap competitions and got myself busy with activities to boost my career in music. After some time, when my fans here started complaining about my disappearance from the industry and my long silence, I decided to do something.
Then, I came out with Ijoya in 2005 and everybody was excited about it. They liked it. In 2006, I also released After da Storm which was one of the biggest selling albums in that year. So, it's been good because whatever I do, I do it from my heart.
How's your experience in Nigeria and in the industry since your return?
My experiences have been wonderful. I can't complain because I've been blessed, even though sometimes, what I get as returns are really not up to what I put into the production of my songs. Producing a good music video is expensive.
Then, there are pirates who won't allow one to make satisfactory gain from one's music. But I'm still grateful that Nigerians appreciate what I'm doing. The respect I get on the streets, from both the rich and the poor, especially from children is great.
I was shocked when I found out that children are the highest among my fans! At times, when I go out or board flights, I get first class treatment. Of recent, I went shopping on the Island and bought goods worth N200, 000. I was shocked when a man walked up to me and asked me not to pay. He paid for my goods! So, I'm blessed.
So, you are proud to be a Nigerian?
Yes, I'm proud to be a Nigerian and I can say it anywhere! Although, I was born and partly bred in the UK; I can speak Yoruba fluently. I can speak the Ijebu Dialect. So, I'm deeply rooted in Nigeria. I'm glad to be part of those who opened the way for Nigerian female artistes. I was able to show that female artistes are not lesser humans, that we can do whatever we want to do in the industry. My songs have sold over 10 million copies and I'm not sure any other artiste has such a record.
Any time I wake up and see all my awards like The Nigerian Music Award, The Best Female Award, The Channel 'O' Award, I have no choice than to thank God for everything.
What's new with you?
Yeah, the release of my four-track promo CD, Happy Day. It's barely ten days old and I'm already getting calls from my fans in Ilorin, Kwara, Ibadan and all over; that they love it and it's hot on the air, all over radio stations. Happy Day is produced by DJ Zeez. Another new thing is that I'm now a Road Safety Marshal (RSM). I'm always worried about how reckless some Nigerian drivers are. So, when I was called up to be a RSM, I gladly accepted. I also have a new manager now, Funke ( ex-wife of Femi Kuti).
Any plans for this year?
My plan is to push my four new tracks so that people can hear them and appreciate my work. The full album where I picked those four tracks from is called Broken Silence. The whole album will soon be out.
Allen Avenue is your first single. Have you thought about re-packaging it?
Hmm, for now, I've not thought about it because I have lots of things on my hands now, new ideas to explore. Maybe later but not now.
Every artiste is talking about re-branding. What are you doing about it?
Before one can go into it, one has to ask oneself some questions like; what is wrong with the old style, what am I re-branding , who are my old audience and who are the new ones I'm targeting? If one goes into re-branding because everybody else is doing it, or without anything wrong with your old self and music, there'll be problem! For me, I don't need any re-branding as such because I appeal to both old and young, rich and poor.
My music is diversified, mixed with English and Yoruba and Pidgin. I've got a new manager who knows where I'm coming from and where I'm going. She's enlightened, exposed, she's been everywhere. So, she knows where to put me.
You know I'm used to fez caps, jeans and shirts. Although, she knows I'm shy, she still advised me to put away the caps for now and that's why I'm now wearing a new hairdo. And since I also love Kaftan, I decided to include it among my dress codes. And that's all about re-branding for me.
Aside music, what else do you do?
Aside being a Road Safety Marshal, I'm also into grooming of young, talented and up-coming artistes. Looking at how far I've come, I know the hell I went through to get to this level, especially as a woman. So, I don't want other up-coming artistes to go through the same way, and that's why I'm dedicated to helping them grow.
How do you feel being a star?
I feel great and blessed. Like I said, I can't complain because God has been so good. People respect me any time I go out. You know it's not easy to climb to the top of the ladder. Becoming a star is a lot easier than maintaining the reputation.
When I look at the lot of an artiste, I see that they lack what it takes to stay at the top . Some artistes end their careers in just six months. Everybody sees me and still gives me the respect. So, I'm glad and I feel honoured.
What are your challenges as a star?
My only challenge is on working on myself and getting improved everyday, so that I can give my fans the best of me all the time.
Before you came out with Ijoya in 2006, it was all over the place that you're a lesbian...
(cuts) No comment!
Please hear me out.... Some of your fans were disappointed and swore never to have anything to do with you. But with the release of Ijoya, everyone became overtaken by it. What's your reaction to this?
I don't know what happened but I just thank God for everything. It's not me. It's the grace I got to come out with Ijoya. I didn't say anything but my songs did the talking and till now, my songs still do the talking.
Have you faced any discrimination from other artistes concerning this?
At first. But as time went on, they came to appreciate my person, my talent and my music. They rallied round me and gave me all the support I need.
Are you contemplating marriage?
(Giggles) I'm not God. So, I can't dictate for him. I'll get married in God's time.
When is God's time?
I'm already a married woman. Right now, my music is my husband. We're connected to each other. Personally, I think the time is not right.
What won't you be caught wearing?
I won't be caught wearing an underwear or a G-string.
But I haven't seen you on skirts!
I do wear skirts when I'm doing some chores at home.