Visually impaired white singer, Lioness Oyinbo is set to take the Nigerian music scene by storm with her first official single, Let’s Go Party ft Lace living up to its billing as a DJ’s delight.
However, her description by most, if not all Nigerian music bloggers as an artiste who got signed ‘despite her imperfection’ did not go down well with her.
ENCOMIUM Weekly interviewed the beautiful singer on her fledgling career in Nigeria, why she feels being visually impaired doesn’t make a person imperfect and much more…
What label are you signed on?
I am signed on to a freshly formed Nigerian label, called Slim Entertainment.
So, what exactly is your connection with this label?
I came to Nigeria a few months ago and I was with a different label but things didn’t work out. So, all of our crew were with that label except the CEO. So, we left and formed this label. We’ve known ourselves for a few months.
On your blog, you described yourself as the first white singer signed to a Nigerian label. How sure are you of this?
I believe I am because I haven’t heard of any white woman who signed in Nigeria. Also, I have not really met anyone who is as crazy about Afrobeat as me.
But what exactly attracted you to Nigerian music, I mean why Nigeria?
I don’t think I actually chose Nigeria. I think Nigeria chose me. It’s a very interesting country. I love Nigerian literature, I love the music. Honestly, I initially wanted to do reggae/dancehall in London but that didn’t work out so I thought about giving up music and focus on my journalism then I published something on Sound Cloud that was picked up by my former manager who convinced me to come to Nigeria.
Of course, I was initially scared because of the bad press Nigeria receives in the West but in the end, I was getting a lot of positive response from Nigerians. So, that’s why I said Nigeria chose me and I’m happy.
Tell us about your music career and how it all started?
I’ve been singing since childhood. I’ve been in church choirs, worship teams but I knew I was never gonna be a religious singer so I wanted to take it to the secular market. I tried a few things but I am here now to start a new project in Nigeria. Before now, people didn’t know my name in music.
Talking about your name, ‘Lioness Oyinbo’, what does it mean and how did you come about it?
My name is Linn. I got the Lioness from my hair, golden colour and curly like a lioness. I don’t know exactly how but somehow, few of my friends called me Lioness in London, but for the Oyinbo part, that was Oritsefemi when we did a recording session. He was to do the introduction and he was messing around, calling me Lioness Oyinbo, and since then it just kind of stuck. Ever since then, my friends here in Nigeria call me Lioness Oyinbo.
So, how many songs do you have at the moment?
I have recorded eight songs but they are unreleased. The only one that has been released is the one with Lace. I have the collaboration with Oritsefemi, which isn’t out but it’s a banger, a Fela Kuti kind of track.
What’s the reception of your song with Lace (Let’s Go Party) and how do you feel about it?
It’s a kind of song I never thought I would do because it’s very techno-ish. It’s a very cool song, people love it. The video has already received a lot of views and all my family and friends in the UK are super proud. I think the song will do very well.
How challenging was shooting the video?
Shooting a video when you can’t see is hard because you need to know what’s going on. It was difficult because I kept receiving different types of instructions. I had one person telling me one thing and another telling me something else and they were shouting. I think next time I’m shooting a video, that’s not going to happen. I need to know the choreography beforehand.
Have you performed on stage before and how was it?
I have performed on stage several times but this is a whole new experience. I’m a bit nervous about dancing but I’m learning every day.
Can you do shoki?
(Laughs) I know how to do shoki. That was the first dance I learnt.
So, who are your favourite Nigerian artistes?
I love the females because I think girls need to support each other in the music industry. I love Emma Nyra, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade too. Among the guys obviously, 2face. Who doesn’t like 2 face? I like Kiss Daniels and a whole lot of them.
Talking about your blogging, how do you type?
I use a normal computer but I just have a software installed that speaks to me so I know what I’m writing. I do everything like you do, I just hear instead of seeing on the screen.
Tell us how it is blogging about blindness?
I’ve had this blog for years and every time I want to close it, I get new followers. I just have to blog about blindness because the world has so many misconceptions about it and we blind people have a duty to educate the world that it’s just the eyes that aren’t working, not the brain. Blindness is not any imperfection, it’s nothing like that.
You took a passionate exception to Nigerian music blogs describing you as imperfect. Why do you feel that blindness is not an imperfection?
It really hurts me that some people think that I’m less perfect than someone else because I’m blind. I mean, we all have imperfections as human beings but I don’t think blindness is my imperfection.
It’s a challenge for sure and some day, I really wish I could see because it could be frustrating. I am sure you wake up and you look at one thing in your life and say this is my imperfection.
That’s why I don’t want people to look at my blindness and say it’s an imperfection. If I have any imperfection, it might be something in my character or something else but it is nothing physical about me.
– DANIEL FAYEMI