interviewBy Anthony Ada Abraham
To the ardent listener of the widely acclaimed pidgin radio station Wazobia FM, the name Lady G 'De Genius' is not strange. The On-air-personality who was very famous in Lagos while doing what she knows how to do best on the Lagos branch of Wazobia FM, is gradually becoming a force to reckon with on the Abuja airwaves as she is already a household name and celebrity of sort. She speaks about her life and career to Anthony Ada Abraham.
What is it about you?
My name is Grace Ekpo. I come from Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. I am the second child in the family of eight. I am an easy going but very principled person. I love nature hence my flare for travelling. Also, I like reading. Presently I am a radio presenter (OAP) with 99.5 Wazobia FM Abuja. I anchor the afternoon show known as Kulele Zone.
You have a way of soothing your audience and making them confess their personal issues on radio, how do you manage to achieve that?
To make a person talk soulfully, you must make the person know that you feel his or her pains too, and for you to do this, you must have compassion and passion. Compassion in the sense that you must be able to relate the problem to your audience as if what you are discussing is your personal problem, and passion because it is of paramount importance that you bear your all in trying to see that the person involved gets the best in terms of advise and contribution from the audience.
Outside the radio personality, who is Lady G?
Outside the radio, I am the everyday Nigerian women. What I mean is that, I do my chores and shop anywhere I feel is convenient for me. I no get time for effizy but I am mostly withdrawn and indoors.
How did you come about the name Lady G 'De Genius'?
The name Lady G was given to me by a friend while we were still growing up in 202 Road, Festac town, Lagos. I remember then how my friend Ronke Rasheedat Ajide (now Barrister Mrs. Ronke Rasheedat Salaudeen), who was living in the same block with me was fond of calling me Lady G and also, when I was working with FHA, one of my colleagues by the name Semiu Adegbuji used to call me by the same name, Lady G.
So when I started out as a broadcaster, I did not have to think twice about a name to use. On the other hand, the 'D Genius' that is now added to Lady G was also given to me by one of my colleagues from by our sister station when I newly started as a broadcaster with Wazobia FM Lagos. He is Happy Friday. Whenever he sees me then, he just calls out to me 'Lady G 'D Genius'.
One fateful day, he walked up to me and said, 'Lady G 'D Genuis', I have produced a four-second sweeper for you, because he was one of those in-charge of our production studio then in Lagos even though he was also an OAP with Cool FM, a sister station. When I listened to the sweeper, what I heard was "Lady G 'D' Genius for 95.1 Wazobia FM." And that was how the name Lady G 'D Genius' came about.
You were quite popular in Lagos, but right now, you are doing your thing in Abuja, what do you have to say to your fans who are clamouring for your return to Lagos?
Just as I have said in one of my interviews and I quote, "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something." Much as I am missing my Lagos fans, I am also enjoying my Abuja audience. The consolation I have concerning my Lagos fans is that my colleagues who are masters in the game of broadcasting are still there with them to keep the game alive.
So, I and my other able colleagues have to move Wazobia FM's ministry to this part of the country so that the people here can also feel the different flavour of Radio broadcasting that Wazobia FM has to offer.
What's your most memorable interaction with a fan on Air?
There's this day I was handling an element on my show called 'Special Wednesday edition of Wetin we go listen to next' the question I popped was; If you see the devil face to face, na wetin you go do? One of my callers said, Lady G, I no go lie for you o, dat man no be small person o! So wetin I go do be say, I go just dey run and I go dey shout, 'Die by fire, die by fire, die by fire.' The way he said it was so humourous such that anytime I remember the incident, I find myself smiling.
How often do you get 'toasted' by your male fans on air?
I handle my show six days a week and on each of the days, somebody who hasn't listened to me before is likely to, so if it is his first time listening to me, he may want to appreciate my work. So to me, I see it as more of appreciation than toasting. So I will say, I get appreciated on air on a daily basis by my male fans.
What's your favourite music and who's your favourite musician?
I like a whole lot of our local musical artistes but I will say my favorite musicians locally are P-Square, Tuface Idebia and Asa because of their consistency and the kind of music they play. And for the gospel musician, I like Frank Edwards because of his style of rendition, he is also consistent and his songs are heavily loaded with soul lifting messages. I also like Samsong and Sinachi. Internationally I will say, late Whitney Houston. I liked Whitney Houston for her strong voice and the way she performed her songs. When Whitney sang, she just took you there with her strong but astonishing voice.
Whitney Houston was blessed with an astonishing vocal range and extraordinary technical skill, but what truly made her a great singer was her ability to connect with a song and drive home its drama and emotion with incredible passion. My best international Gospel musicians include Marvin Sapp, Fred Amond, Donnie McClurkin, CeCeWinans among others.
What's your opinion about obscene portrayal of women in musical video?
Permit me to say here that our musical videos lack creativity and content, instead this is replaced by pictures of naked women who have lost their pride as women. If you ask me, I will say I blame the Church and the parents of these girls for this moral decadence because they have failed in their duties as recorded in the scriptures.
I am a Christian and I am so passionate about God and His word. I say I stand to blame the church because if you take a careful look at these girls who are into this show of shame all in the name of featuring in a musical video, they all bear Christian names. Our young ones want to be like the whites, but they forget that the whites have their own background and culture.
And even if we must copy from them, why don't we copy from those who are world shakers in Technology, Business, politics etc. I remember those days of Mike Okri and co., it was the originality that the Rumber Dance video portrayed that made Benson and Hedges to endorse it on the pack of their product. So I am pleading with the producers and directors of our musical videos to consider morals and originality when producing musical videos.