This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Deola's Night Out...

Iyanya's recent album in Lagos offered a UK-based Nigerian act a rare opportunity to shine.

"Tonight I will be performing, so I am excited," gushed Adeola Ososami. "I will be performing my new single 'Never Leave', released about three weeks ago. It's a song I love so much."

The UK-based singer and songwriter dazzled the audience at Iyanya album launch last weekend at Eko Hotel & Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos. She addressed a coterie of entertainment writers minutes before she was summoned backstage in preparation for her first-ever show in Lagos.

"For me music is like an escape. I am so happy when I am singing or writing my song. It is so refreshing to me and I love doing it. I was inspired into music because it is my passion. Expect a whole lot from me. Nigeria should be expecting a variety of songs from me as I will be releasing my mixed tape titled 'Different Sides of Me.' It's a compilation of different styles of me. The full-mixed tape (she emphasised that it is not an album) of ten tracks is being put together, and that will be ready soon."

The dentistry undergraduate had started singing as a kid in the church, just like several other great musicians like Beyonce and late Whitney Houston, among others.

Her latest effort is produced by Dr Mike Moodini of Lunakidz Music, the label on which she is signed on.

"It contains 'Beremole', a fun song that was released as a single late last year; there is also 'Never Leave' and eight other tracks," the lady, simply known as Deola, continued.

The new kid on the block sees no difference between the UK and Nigerian music industry. "I do not really see much difference. Now, I really appreciate the Nigerian music industry. I think it is so far, so good. I have got lots of good reception as people tend to like what I am doing, otherwise I won't be performing tonight. People love my performance and my voice. I am really excited about it all. Today (Saturday, March 2), I will be performing my song, 'Never Leave', and it is my first show in Lagos. I don't want to unveil everything, so just wait and see for yourself."

In other words, she was set to regale her fans with her compilation of good music. "I have a fusion of different genres," she added. "I sing in both English and Yoruba." With her debut effort Beremole already rocking the airwaves, Deola said that she was fully prepared to take on the Nigerian movie industry.

Though born in Nigeria, her parents relocated her to the United Kingdom when she was only seven years old. "I was regularly visiting Nigeria when I was younger," she explained but declined to disclose the institution, where she is currently studying dentistry. Her vocation as a musician, she added, doesn't clash with her study.

"I did a music course for a year before I started my degree programme. The practical aspect is not as much as you expect it to be. My music is the combination of Afro pop with a blend of hip hop. My inspiration comes from my song writing, and the experience of other people and what they say. I don't always write from my experience, because for me, it is always good to put yourself in someone's position. I wrote my song and I also play the piano. My songs are really identifiable. I think we worked hard to do what Nigerians will appreciate."

Deola relished the fact that her music resonated with the Nigerian audience but, of course, acknowledged her message might be lost on a British audience.

The local music scene, she said, has experienced a phenomenal growth with several musicians gaining global recognition with home-grown idioms. Nigeria, in her opinion, has every reason to celebrate the fact that it has spawned world-class producers, musicians and promoters with credible pedigree. Among the musicians, she readily cited D'Banj, TuFace, P Square.

Her eventual entry into the stage that night elicited wild and ecstatic applause. She belted out tunes conscious of her crowd of admirers, mostly in their late teens and early twenties. Her teeming young fans had indeed asked for her performance to be prolonged but were disappointed. Other acts were waiting for their turn backstage.

The album launch event - graced by the Delta State governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Group Managing Director of Arco Petrochemical Company Limited, Alfred Okoigun and his wife, Julie, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa and others - had other exciting moments. The ace actor and member of Governor Uduaghan's cabinet, Richard Mofe-Damijo with a female presenter lightened up the night with wisecracks reminiscent of Ali Baba's comedy.

Iyanya, whose album launch was really the evening's pièce de résistance, was at his best. He asked Governor Uduaghan for a song and the latter obliged him with a mumbo-jumbo ditty that sounded like "Urhobo Wadooo!"

Mofe-Damijo stepped in for the rescue with a local version of the famous Bill Withers's song, "Lean on Me". According the man popularly called RMD, the song was originally Urhobo or Isoko and was titled, "Ninionmighi".

Governor Uduaghan, meanwhile, was advised by the comedian AY to stick to the business of governance given the fact that his performance that night was not the chart-breaking kind. As the guests wined and dined, Iyanya regaled them with the tales of how the governor had helped open the gateway of success for him.

The evening was nicely rounded up with performances by budding artistes and his duet with Tiwa Savage. But his Etighi Dancers figuratively set the venue on fire.

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