FAMOUS entertainer, Aminat Ajao, popularly known as Obirere recently gave birth to a baby boy christened Muhammed Okikiola, and she is still very happy and excited about it. ENCOMIUM Weekly cornered the velvet-voiced Islamic gospel singer at an event in Lagos where she spoke on the joys of motherhood, her career and much more.
How did the journey into entertainment begin?
Al-hamdulillahi, the whole thing started when I was in primary school. It all started gradually and later became something big. I give God all the glory for where I am today.
When exactly did you take music as a profession?
That was about seven years ago.
But since then till 2008 when you released your hit album, Obirere, not much was heard of you, why?
Everything you do has been destined by Almighty Allah. It’s true, Obirere is my first album and I give God the glory for the success.
Since you started out till date, what has been the experience?
I have had a lot of experience but what I think is important is the ability to cope and I thank God I am still waxing stronger in my career no matter the obstacles. Every experience can’t be positive, there are times you experience the negative one. But if you’re prayerful and you believe in God, you will overcome.
What are the pains that you could hardly forget since you started singing?
A lot. The greatest of them was when I lost my first child at the point of delivery. At times, we may travel and get involved in auto crash but we are grateful we’re always saved by God. If not for the fact that God has always been on our side, the story would have been different.
When would you say you started enjoying the fruit of your labour as an entertainer?
That was the time I met Alhaji Afeez Salami of Afeezco fame. May God continue to bless him, he has really done much for me and I will continue to appreciate him.
You shot to limelight with the release of Obirere, since then till now, how would you describe your fan base?
It has widened and it gets larger every day. Even generations yet to come will still appreciate the album. I really thank God for everything pertaining to Obirere.
We learnt you grossed close to N15m from the album sale, how true is it?
(Laughs) The only thing I will say is Al-hamdulillahi. I give God all the glory. We made money from Obirere, that’s the truth. Then, my special thanks also goes to my marketer, Afeezco for his efforts in making the album a hit.
It was after the success of Obirere that you released Ibi giga, what informed the title?
When I had a still birth, a lot of rumour followed the traumatic experience. Some said that I was dead. A lot of my fans were confused when they heard of my death before they found out that it was just a rumour, the imagination of some wicked people. I now concluded that I didn’t need to fight anybody about that because if you’re to rise some things have to precede it. It’s either death rumour or any other thing. So, I thank God for being alive. Then, the title Ibi giga was considered the most appropriate to reflect all the happenings and the rumours around me then.
Where do you get your inspirations?
Inspirations come from anywhere. It can be when I am sleeping, sitting or even walking. I maybe alone in the midst of people and music will be running through me. It’s all about God’s given talent. That’s why I am always comfortable with music. I don’t find it difficult composing my music. I thank God for that.
What do you think can be done to make Islamic gospel better than you met it because a lot of your colleagues have derailed?
People see us as role models and I don’t think we should be doing anything that will negate that. It’s true some people believe in this popular saying, “Just listen to whatever I say but never mind whatever I did.” I believe, as a Muslim our words must align with our deeds. I pray Almighty Allah will direct us aright in all our endeavours because no one is perfect.
What’s your unique selling point?
Everything depends on the assessment of my fans. But left to me, I think a lot of people have been commending my lyrics and my voice. I believe these are my unique selling points. People have been calling me, appreciating the messages in my music, I pray as they are appreciating me, God will appreciate them the more.
How many countries have you visited since you were shot to limelight?
I have travelled to many places and in the next few weeks, I will be travelling to London to perform.
What makes you happy at times, we mean about your career?
Each time I receive a call, appreciating my music, I feel on top of the world because eight years ago, I never knew I would come this far. But now, I give God all the glory. I am now known all over the world. I pray Allah will endow me with whatever I need to maintain stardom.
Have you ever allowed stardom to drive you crazy?
Never, whatever you have or know is from God. You need to be very humble. Without humility, you’re going nowhere. I am not the one doing it but God and He gives it to whoever He wishes at a particular time. That’s why I praise Him all the time.
Recently, you gave birth to a baby boy, how do you feel about it?
I am so happy that I have become a mother now. Going through nine months, carrying a pregnancy is not an easy thing. But the most important thing is that God has crowned my effort. I am so happy and excited about it, Al-hamdulillahi. I pray Almighty Allah will make the child a bundle of joy and blessings in my family. I also wish all my fans the same thing.
Like how many more children do you want to have after this?
Everything depends on whatever God has for me. I can’t dictate to Him.
How would you describe the experience of being a mother?
It’s a thing of joy and that’s the ultimate prayer of every woman.
Little is known about your husband, what is his name and what does he do for a living?
My husband is Lukman Abdul Wahab. He is a businessman, he is loving and caring.
We learnt you left one marketer for Afeezco, what actually happened?
It’s true. There is no way something like that won’t happen between a marketer and an artist but we have resolved the crisis. There is no problem between me and the man again.
What about him and Afeezco?
There is no problem between the two of them. They have settled everything.
How much do you charge if you’re to perform?
People know what I am worth but if you give me N10m, I will collect it (laughs).
Do you also perform at night shows or you’re restricted to only day engagements?
I don’t perform at night, except during Maulid Nabiy.
How does your husband feel about you being an artist that’s always busy?
He understands the nature of my job and he is happy about it. He loves my progress and he supports me always.
You just released another album entitled Oko wa, what informed the title?
It’s as a result of crises in some homes today which is caused by lack of tolerance and endurance. Some men don’t know how to manage their homes, especially those who have more than one wife. We believe with the message in the album, we will be able to bring peace into so many homes that have either broken or about to break.
What distinguishes Oko wa from your previous albums?
It’s quite different because before now, I have been talking about parents and their children. But now, it is basically about our husbands and now to manage the home.
After this, what next?
That’s Obirere Phase Two, Magikan gba kan lowo mi. It will be released during Ramadan and it’s going to be marketed by Afeezco.
– TADE ASIFAT
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, July 24, 2012