‘It was educative and scary for me’ – MTN Project Fame Season 9 winner, Okiemutie Ighorodje
The journey to fame and fortune that started for 16 contestants who made it to the Project Fame Academy a couple of weeks back came to an end on Saturday, September 24, 2016, with 25 year old Okiemutie Ighorodje emerging as the winner. She carted home N5 million, a brand new SUV, a recording deal worth millions of naira. ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with her on her journey to fame…
How did you get on board Season 9 of Project Fame?
As a singer, you always follow up, you know that June, July would be time for auditioning. One of my in-laws sent me a link and said I should go online to register. The rest is history.
How does it feel winning?
It has been a very great feeling. I feel privileged. I feel blessed. It is over whelming. It is a great feeling to know that West Africa loves you.
This is not the first time you would be taking part in a talent hunt show. You took part in The Voice but you were not picked, didn’t that discourage you from taking part in project Fame as well?
No, I saw it as a good opportunity. It is something you go through in life and learn from. For me, it was a stepping stone. I was not discouraged at all. I was just neutral. Funny enough, I was happy. I know God has a way of doing things.
When you were going for Project Fame, did you envisage that you would emerge as the winner?
I just told myself to come in and learn. There were a lot of things I needed to learn. Watching past editions of the competition taught me that. I know I would be able to make use of whatever I learn.
Can you describe your experience in the faculty?
It was educative and scary. Interesting and overwhelming. I had moments I thought it would be over. The journey was a great experience.
Was there a time you felt like quitting?
Almost everyone was tired at the last week. You know that moment when they tell you what you are looking for is right in front of you, you would want to jump and take it. At first, everybody wanted to stay but at a stage, everybody wanted to fly.
What went through your mind when your name was called?
All I could say was “smile to the camera”. When I heard my name, I told one lady to pinch me, I didn’t know when I fell to the ground. It was amazing, I was happy.
How are you spending your prize money?
We had great financial advisers who taught us how to manage our finance. All the advisers that came told us to keep our money away for a while to enable us think. That is what I would do first.
Who posed a threat to you in the house?
Everybody was good. There were no loopholes. I didn’t even know who posed a threat. We all performed well. I didn’t see any one as a threat but a motivation.
Who was your best pal in the faculty?
Pere, though I have been close to him before the auditioning. We auditioned together in Port Harcourt. We are in the same chat group but I didn’t get to know him until we got to top 24.
What genre of music are going to do?
Let us look into the future…
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am from Delta state. I am 25 years old. I studied Linguistics and Communications Studies at Delta State University. I am the third of four girls. My dad is business man and my mum is a teacher.
‘Getting here feels good’ – first runner-up, Elizabeth Emoruwa
Beautiful Elizabeth Emoruwa emerged first runner-up of Project Fame Season 9. She is planning to set up a fashion house with part of her prize. She also let us into her experience while in the academy…
How does it feel emerging as the first runner-up?
It feels good. I am grateful and thankful.
Were you expecting to win?
It was about the vote. It could have gone either ways. I am really grateful for emerging as first runner up.
What is unique about you that got you to this stage?
My style of singing is really different. I interpret songs my way. Even me, I can’t say that this is the name of that uniqueness but I know I am very different.
Was there a time you felt like quitting?
There was a time I felt like I don’t know how to do things – but I never gave up. I just wanted to know what I was doing wrong and then get it right.
What is next for Elizabeth?
Taking my time to identify what I really want to do musically. Write more songs, produce more songs, give people good music.
Who were you attached to among the top six?
Like every other person got attached to one or two people, yes I was attached to Kitay. I don’t have a reason. Before we got into the academy, l used to say it every time, I don’t like Kitay. He came with a strong cough from Warri and he was always coughing around. When we are rehearsing, he just keeps coughing and we are not allowed to talk to ourselves, I would have told him about it.. I would say in my heart anytime he is coughing, just sing and go home, you will go home. I think because of the attention I got from the cough, we became close.
Do you see anything coming between you two?
I can’t say but for now, we are just good friends.
Describe your experience while in Project Fame?
The experience was amazing and fun. It is a dream come true. You know the moment when you have visualized something. You know how big it is but you are afraid it will never be. I just took that step and coming here has changed everything. I am really grateful. My primary school mate called, people remembered me, I got love and support from people I couldn’t imagine. As a phone person, I am more popular than I used to be now because of project fame.
How are you planning to spend your money?
I have thought about it, one thing I am sure of is my tithe. I will put my money to work, I want to have a fashion house of my own.
How supportive were your parent before coming for project fame?
My mum was scared when I put in for Project Fame but my siblings were supportive. My mom joined them when she saw I was making progress.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Elizabeth Jolade Emoruwa, I am from Ondo state. I am from a family of five, I have a sister and a brother, I am the last born, my dad is late, I lost him in 2003, he is a music person. He was the one that put us in this line. Everyone sings in my house except my step dad. I sing in church, at concerts but never wanted to try auditions.
‘I just wanted a car’ – second runner-up, Kitay Okotete
The second runner-up of Project Fame season 9, Kitay had a wish as names of winners were being called. His wish was to go home with a car and sure he is a proud owner of a brand new car today. We had a chat with him about his performance…
What was your experience in the faculty?
I have had a lot of good times. I had one or two issues with faculty members, especially Miss Loveth. We were rehearsing late in the night one day, I was having malaria and was down. A lot of contestants knew about it, mummy J was aware as well. I was so down and I wasn’t putting much effort. The instructor just shouted at me. She said, “dance or leave”. I told her “sorry ma I am tired and not feeling good.” She was so upset, I pleaded and she asked me to stay. After the rehearsal, I went to meet her and apologized. We were fine thereafter. I don’t know how the whole story went to the top officials! And they were upset. I couldn’t believe what was happening. You know, everybody in the academy felt Kitay was a bad person, I felt bad about the whole issue, it even inspired me to write my personal composition entitled, Free I said. I agree say I no dey perfect, it no mean say I be bad egg.
Would you say that affected your chances of winning?
Not at all. It is a competition. Their votes were higher than mine. Even though I came out as second runner up, like every other contestant, I wanted to win. I saw myself as the third person, I felt bad but at a point, I realized that I should be grateful to God. I prayed to God that I just wanted to go home with a car and I got a car.
Aside coming for the love of what you like to do, so you also came to get a car?
Yes, that is one of the benefits. With this new status, entering a cab or jumping buses would be embarrassing and somehow. I put a lot of effort. I prayed to God that I needed a car and my prayers were answered.
Who was your major threat among the top six?
My greatest threat was Okiemutie. She was the only contestant that pairs up with my performances. She actually inspired me and I always looked forward to performing better than her. Every night I kept improving on myself.
Do you agree she deserves her title?
She is the winner, she deserves it. Everybody is a winner. We all deserve to win. It is her time.
I will make sure I keep up to standard. I promise my fans not to relent. I would work hard to bring out good music, latest February next year. I would release one or two songs.
Is anything up between you and Elizabeth?
No. She was just free among the contestants. She and Dapo are so free. They don’t hide anything. That is the kind of people I like.
Do you see anything blowing up between you two?
No, we are just friends. But if that’s God’s will, it is okay. I bi guy now, I get eyes, she is fine. If that is God’s will, I will gladly accept it because she is beautiful but for now, we are just friends.
‘My dream was to go home with something’ – Ayoola Arogundade
He emerged as 5th position and was given N1 million in the just concluded edition of Project Fame. Ayoola is ready to run with what he learnt…
Can we meet you?
I come from a family of six including my parents, I am the first born. I am studying System Engineering in UNILAG. I am the 5th position, the 4th runner up. I actually wanted to take home something, even if I didn’t win, I don’t want to fall short of the third position. I know God has a plan for me definitely. I have accepted it, I would get to work and not go to sleep, I will keep working and pushing. What I have learnt here, I would put it into practice outside and make a mark in the industry…
How did you find yourself in music?
I grew up in music. My mum is a choir mistress. I always followed her to choir rehearsal. When I got to secondary school, I realised that this is what I want to do.
You were supposed to be in school while the competition was going on?
I deferred my semester. I think I would capitalize on the freshness of Project Fame, release a song and a video and see how far it goes. Then, I would go back to school.
Who are you planning to work with?
Wizkid, Davido, Flavour, Iyanya and a lot of people I would like to work with.
People tend to compere you with Reekado Banks, you also behave like Wizkid. What informed that?
I think I am a beautiful soup of different ingredients. I have a lot of ingredients in me, I will put everything into styles. I am versatile enough to make everybody crazy by God’s grace.
Experience in the academy?
I learn a lot. I came in as that young boy with a young voice. People thought the boy was too young he might not be able to go that far. Whatever I have learnt, I will put into practice. I have been scrutinized and tutored by the best set of people.
What was your parent’s reaction when you told them you wanted to come for Project Fame?
I didn’t tell them until I got to the top 24 first. I wanted to get to a point where they would not be able to go back. Although, they support my music very well. When I was packing here, they provided everything I needed.
What are you planning to do with the money?
I will put it in the bank, use some weeks to think about it, then make a decision.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN