Sensational singer and actress, Yinka Davies is glad to have spent all of 30 years in the entertainment industry. Her uniqueness lies in her lovely voice that holds fans spellbound.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with her on her 30 years sojourn in entertainment.
30 years is a milestone, how does it feel?
Gratitude that is all I can say. For me to still be here, it is has to be God. I am just blessed and I have worked hard to be where I am, No time is wasted, everything is an experience. There was so much joy in arts for me. I was in the theatre dancing. Somehow, I met Zuby Enebeli. By force, by fire, I was dragged into music. With Alex O and others, where did we not go in the whole of the Eastern states? We would go from Mgbidi to Mbaise. There was no town that we didn’t go.
There was no Afo Ugiri that we didn’t enter. We would stop at Umunede for fresh fish and banana. What I’m trying to say is that you have to enter into something from somewhere, and by the time you know it, you
are fully into that thing. I had fun and I am still having fun. I am grateful I ever got the chance to be an artiste, I am more grateful I am still standing. That I have so much favour that keeps me in the minds of people. It is not something of my making. I cannot take credit for being who I am. I cannot take that kind of glory, it’s too heavy and that means if that person is still standing after so long then that means something great is still there.
Is there any plan to roll out drums?
Not at all. When the time for celebrations comes, we will.
What are you working on?
Night mile, my next album. I want to be able to give something that would give people cause to smile and reminisce. I want to have a song from the East. It is not about record sales. For me it is about the diversity in Nigeria, to give the West to the East and the North to the South.
This will need a whole lot of research because I am talking of the Eastern melodies, the Oriental Brothers stuff. So I need to do justice to their sound and what my brain is cooking for the east. That pot, ndu, cleft, that native flute, and those gongs, have spirits in them which I desperately need to explore. I can feel the excitement, thinking of all those great styles.
You left, Lagbaja and the Colours band before the big break came. Do you feel you could have benefitted more if you were around during the years of the major hits and all that?
I would say I actually got forced to be a musician because of that.
How do you mean?
I was too sure I wasn’t going to be a musician for too long so I just went and did my supporting, signed my membership and ran back to the theatre. I ran back to be a fine artist. I wasn’t really interested in music at all. For me then, it’s light, it’s nothing challenging, it’s nothing energy driven.
But you didn’t end up doing a lot of theatre?
Exactly! Because I broke my leg and that was it and I then had to go back to music but I was getting awards for my works in the theatre.
So you think the accident was a major setback?
It would be wrong to look at things in that light. I don’t want to call these ‘mishaps’ setbacks. They are not setbacks, they are more or less major stepping stones for you to actually learn and see how to reconstruct and reorder, and then you realize.
You didn’t set out as a musician initially. What is happening to your painting work now?
I wish I can still paint. But I have not been able to create time to display my skills in it. I tried to go back to painting about 22 years ago but I was so rusty, it was so upsetting so I stopped. When music came, I pushed that aspect of me aside.
What has fame done for you?
I met an area boy recently on the Island and he was like saying Miss Yinka Davies, E ku ise (meaning, well done). To think that an area boy can be so formal. A market woman also shouted e wa wo Yinka o,Yinka lo
nlo yen (Come and see Yinka, she is the one going). We are great people and we can be greater.
Has it robbed you of anything?
There are too much good in it to even think of any negativity. We are more or less like town criers. So we should be able to speak and represent where we come from well.
What would you say is your challenge as a female artiste?
I am too playful and people don’t know when I am serious and when I am not.
What do you want to be remembered for?
A woman must be seen, heard, respected and celebrated. I want to be remembered as a Nigerian who is constantly seen, heard and respected. I want to be a light, beacon and example to the upcoming Nigerian female artiste.
You seem to have much passion for change and re-orientation of this country. Now that we see entertainers in politics, are you likely to join the train?
You know that I didn’t go to school. I am just a Nigerian that God has blessed in this country. I will continue to do what I can. The people in politics are not the problem but doing it right.
How do you juggle motherhood and your career?
My sisters are there to help me, it is a herculean task. But it is a major blessing and a gift of God to the womenfolk. Motherhood has turned to something else these days. Why would a mother fight a teacher because her child was beaten in school and the fact the school is private? There was a report that it is only Nigeria parents that fly their children schooling abroad in first class all over the world. Our values have been denigrated. But I am living my life. I bless God for my life. I am complete in Christ.
Do you have any beauty secret?
Over the years, I have observed, that the God-given smile I am blessed with, has saved many more lives than gold or silver. Believe me, a sweet hug has stopped many suicidal attempts. Once, with a smile, a gentleman told me to just walk and wave. I am telling you what my beauty accessories are – the gift of smile I have been blessed with and the heart that warms up many people that I encounter on a daily basis, plus the gift of songs.
These three qualities have been and are still keeping me ever relevant in the world, and I thank God for the rare grace.
What is your view on the present crop of musicians that we have now?
They are doing well, except that the new generations of singers don’t have serious mentors. Don’t blame them. Even before them, who are the artistes that they know? I guess it was only Fela. And after Fela, who
else? Fuji and juju are now being relegated to the background for gospel music, which, in most cases, are produced by foreign artistes.
So, the only people that can influence them right now are the foreign artistes, so you cannot blame them for singing music that is Western-oriented. One cannot really blame them because what do you want them to sing? Whose act do you want them to follow apart from the foreign artistes they watch on TV or videos all the time? So what they get is what they copy from.
The mistake we made was not to build a structure that people would meet and follow up from where we stopped; there was no structure, you know how bad it is when there is only one noise. You hear only noise, when you don’t hear any other facet of sound. Nigeria is richly endowed with sound, from every nook and cranny of Nigeria, the villages, the streets, the roads, the leaves; they all sing songs that you can hear. There is nothing like old school generation and new school generation of musicians. When they call us and our music old school, it’s not to discredit it; it is to give it credence and respect.
Share with us your new found faith?
I am in love with Christ terribly and nothing can compete with Him for that singular role in my life. As I told you, I am a Christian. I speak to my Father every day. It is time for me to be obedient and put God first in everything. To fulfill God’s plan and purpose for my life which is music and I have been struggling with it.
What dictates what you wear at all time?
You know, theatre life really gave me, as brief as it was, an unforgettable mark. Thus, the show must go on! Whatever the show requires is what I wear.
A lot of people have argued that you like wearing sexy clothes, what do you think?
A lot of clothes that I have are very sexy and sensual with slits. I like wearing them because women have grace, charm and poise. Especially someone like me who is involved in stage play, it has given me grace and finesse and this has become a part of me. It has taught me how to flaunt my feminine charms.