KUCHI Kuchi crooner, Joy Odiete, popularly known as Jodie has finally cleared the air on speculations of a sizzling dalliance with her manager, Dear Mother famed actor, David Nnaji and the rumour that she has a love child.
ENCOMIUM Weekly cornered the former West African Idol contestant on Thursday, September 27, 2012, as she made another inroad into the music industry with her debut album, African Woman.
Why did it take you this long to come out with an album?
I didn’t know I would get the kind of response I got with Kuchi Kuchi, and didn’t plan it to take this long. After the song, I kept on working until this time, so I believe this is the best time.
What went into making your debut album?
You have to listen to it to know what I am talking about. I didn’t put songs in the album just to fill it, every song is an independent full track of hard work and passion. It took time to write the songs all by me. I had to think about what to write. They are all from my heart. I thank God that it took this while. I recorded other songs but they were not good enough, so I wasn’t satisfied. But when this came out I knew it was what I am destined to do.
You sound passionate about the songs, how did you get inspirations for what you wrote?
From combination of experiences and imaginations, but they are songs that people can relate with like Kuchi Kuchi, mother-child love, about babies, songs people can feel, under-the-mango tree, folklore, romantic songs. I find delight in singing for people.
Talking about Kuchi Kuchi, there is this conception that the song is for your baby, is that true?
That’s not true at the moment. I don’t have a baby at the moment and I said at the moment because I want to have mine too. I told you that I write from imagination and experiences. This is where imagination came to play. I imagined if I were a mother, what would I say to my baby, how would I feel. I am grateful that I was able to capture the heart of mothers, because mothers from different parts of Africa have told me that the song is beautiful.
Another issue you haven’t cleared is the speculation that you have a romantic relationship with Nnaji?
Nnaji is my manager, my very good friend. He was very passionate about this album, perhaps even more than me. Any of the songs that wasn’t good enough, he wasted no time in thrashing it. He is driven by excellence. He actually told me when we started working together that each song you are going to do, it’s going to be a hit track. So, every song we did, he made sure he was part of it. He didn’t have time to play because naira and kobo were involved. So, it is people’s imagination.
How long have you known him?
For about three years now.
How did you meet him?
We met at a book reading at Terra Kulture. He is this kind of nice and proper person if you meet him for the first time. He comes to you with his business card, he is very business driven. He is out to make it from the outset. He is not a regular Nigerian youth. I must say I am blessed, he is my manager.
Talking about your album, what’s your expectation for the hard work you have put into it?
I want to reserve my comment on that. I didn’t know Kuchi Kuchi would go this far. I want to keep quiet and watch what will happen. My prayer is that it blows my mind. It goes beyond what I am expecting.
Remind us of your journey into music?
I grew up knowing that I could sing. I grew up in a Christian family, my dad is a pastor. We went to church every Sunday. I was in children choir. You can’t take away music from the church. We wake up every day to sing. We had this old stereo and we played a lot of music. My aunt sings too. I realized I could sing and I began to take a critical look at my singing when I got to Federal Government Girls College, Ozora, Delta State. It was from comments by friends, teachers and accomplices, that I have a golden voice, that’s when I started putting it into perception.
There is also Marvellous of Project Fame, is he your blood brother?
Who is older?
Of course, he is. We have him, me and my younger sister. He is a good, great singer.
What’s your expectation from him?
I hope he wins.
So, music runs in the family?
Yes. My dad doesn’t just sing, he also writes. My dad wrote the song, “O glory, glory to the Lord,” do you know the song? When he told me he wrote it, I was shocked because I thought the person that wrote it was long gone. But mu dad writes, He is the pastor of Christ Peculiar Church. It would be abnormal to see anyone that doesn’t sing in the family.
So, would we one day see your family coming together in one song?
I may not be able to promise which way it would go, but I will like to see that happen. I will like to do a song with my father. Doing a song with my father is an emotional thing.
You appeared first in West African Idol in 2007, and you are coming out with your album now, what song on the album is closest to your heart?
I like songs in seasons. In one season this is my best, right now I am overwhelmed. Last night I sat in my dad’s car, I just got hold of the album. I bought it for emotional reasons. When I listened to the songs I was overwhelmed, it felt as if my babies have come. It was like I just had new babies. As an artist, you can work on a particular song for one month, so right now, I can’t say this is the most appealing. It’s like I gave birth to 10 babies, so I cherish all of them.
Many production companies were jostling to work with you, but you decided to go for DUN Productions, which is relatively new in the industry, what informed your decision?
I chose them because I know there are other labels out there that are doing very well, that even have cash more than DUN, but I told you the kind of person my manager is. As much as he’s concerned getting returns for labour put into the work is not his priority. He is very particular about the quality of work. The label was able to go with me in my unique way, a lot of labels that approached me wanted me to do fast songs. They were not particular about my uniqueness, they only wanted me to follow the norm.
There is no single collaboration in your 10-track album, is it that you don’t have friends?
It was deliberate. It is my debut. So in subsequent albums, we can work with other artists. Many of them approached me and I assured them we could work together another time.
So, who would you like to work with and why?
I wouldn’t want to take decision now because I work in a company where everything is planned and scrutinized.
You haven’t told us the terms of your contract with your management?
My boss wouldn’t want me to say anything about it.
Love is the centre point of life. Love is the root and if you don’t have it you are not going to enjoy life. That’s the central philosophy of life for me.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, October 2, 2012