African soul sensation, Waje’s music is undoubtedly undergoing an evolution! No thanks to her recently leaked I Wish and Oko Mi (My Husband), which was formally released on her birthday, September 1, 2012.
Unlike her past songs (from first single, Clear to Kolo, So Inspired and Na the Way), Oko Mi, has really re-defined the Edo born artiste’s kind of music, which is Africa soul because of the richness and depth in African stories.
Both So Inspired and I Wish, for instance, are stories of heartbreak, while Oko Mi is a love song, a perfect one for lovely couples because of its good rhythm, melody and rendition.
“I am fully back and Nigeria, Africa and the world should expect the best of music from my forthcoming album, a self titled album, WAJE (Word Aren’t Just Enough),” the mother of one child told ENCOMIUM Weekly in an exclusive interview held on Wednesday, September 5, 2012, where she recalled how she was rejected severally as a female singer before luck ran her way after she featured in P-Square’s Do Me and much more.
Let’s start with So Inspired. The story was very touching, what really inspired the song?
I am a very eccentric person. I am that kind of person that dishes out what I feel myself. If I haven’t experienced something, I won’t sing about it. so, I have to feel it first so that I can describe it.
That’s what So Inspired is all about. I am a product of a broken home. I know what it feels to be down, how it feels for people not to believe in what you have. So, it was just mixed grill of emotions.
Your combination with Muna in the video was electrifying, why did you go for her?
I went to the studio to record a different song. So, I sat down and was thinking about a lot of things and Muna appeared and she was like, “Waje, what is going on with you? I told her everything and she tried to encourage me. I remember she told me, Waje listen, you have a talent but it’s normal for things like these to happen.” The song wasn’t initially titled, So Inspired, it was formerly My Soul is Tired because at that time, my soul was pretty tired.
When I got home, I played it to my mother and a couple of close family members and my mom said, “If you want to encourage somebody, you can’t be telling the person your soul is tired.” So, I called Muna to voice on it and that’s how things worked out for me. Thanks to Clarence Peters for the video because the song didn’t only inspire many people but took me to many places. A lot of women have told me that the song encouraged them to get out of abusive relationships.
So far, how many songs do you have?
So far, my first major song was Kolo, followed by For A Minutes, then Na The Way and after that, So Inspired. I Wish came out a while ago. It was a song that was leaked, not by me. In fact, I cried profusely the day I got to know that the song was leaked.
What did you do when you got to know?
I couldn’t do anything because I wasn’t even in Nigeria. I went to perform at Nigerian House in London when I got tweets from fans singing the song. I don’t know how I felt but I had to accept the situation because being in the industry without an album is not the best. I still get a lot of support from my fans probably because they love my music, regardless of whether you have 10 to 50 albums. For the fact that they love the song, I am happy.
Let’s talk about Oko Mi, I guess you’re talking about the father of your daughter since your music is a reflection of what happened to you?
To be honest, Oko Mi is not written b me. It was written by a producer, Debbie. I have always known Debbi and we’ve worked together on a couple of stuffs. So, on that day, I was in his house and he said since I like singing about love, he showed me the song he wrote for me and I asked him to interpret it, and he did. So, the story of Oko Mi is about Debbie.
It’s not about Waje and her husband?
It’s still about me because it’s a love song that can be sang to anybody even to a close friend. That’s why I interpreted to myself. Let me tell you a story of a young woman so that you can understand better. The lady had been through a lot but while trying to understand everything around her, she found herself and once you find yourself, you will be satisfied with everything around you and you will even want to do more. That’s the Waje story.
As for the husband issue, I never marry, I have to be honest with you. There is time for everything and right now I am in love with what God has given me, my daughter and my music.
Can we meet your daughter? Tell us about her?
Her English name is Emerald. She’s my energetic and intelligent. If she’s here, you would have felt her presence. She’s such a smart child. She talks to you like an adult. She can have a conversation with you like an adult. My daughter is such an amazing girl, that’s why I said I love what God has given me.
How has it been as a singer and mother?
Being a mother is a very beautiful thing because there are certain qualities in you but you won’t know until you start having children. You won’t even know that you are even know that you have a forgiving spirit or you’re compassionate. So, one of the person’s I am grateful for is my mother. She lives with m here in Lagos and she’s really helpful, especially when I have to travel. My mom is an educationist and you know their impacts especially in child upbringing. She has made things easy for us.
Will you say having a child slowed down your career?
Not at all.
Let’s go back to your career. Which record label are you signed to because there were reports that you’re signed to Choc City?
I’m not signed to Chocolate City, I have my own management team. If eventually I get signed to any record label, there is definitely going to be a press release. Right now, I am working as Waje, a solo artiste but like I said, I have a management team.
We also heard that Nigerian female musicians are rated according to their music. Do you believe in this because the industry is very competitive?
To be honest with you, we are all human. There are times you ask yourself if you’re making the right move. To answer your question, let me tell you a story. When Brandy was reigning, Monica was also reigning. When Whitney was reigning, Maria Carey was also reigning but what people do not understand is that the next female who is doing very well is helping the genre to stay alive. So, you cannot just be the only one. I no fit just dey wish say na only me because the truth is that the success of the first, second and the third make sure that the fourth, fifth and sixth get jobs because that fold of women is alive. But when it’s only one person, it will be regarded as a female industry but just about one girl that is on top of the game.
In a nutshell, I can’t just be the only one if I want to make millions of naira in the industry. There is need for competition and that’s why Dangote has competitors. People need to have choices on why they should listen to artistes A to B and C.
If that’s the case, what differentiates Waje from others, apart from the voice?
Like you said, the voice, apart from that, it’s my story. Like I said, we all have different stories but I know my story. So, I will tell my story the best way I can for people to separate me from others.
What lessons can be learnt from your story?
Everybody has a story to tell, the rich and the poor, but for Waje, I come from a broken home. Despite that,,my mom still tried her best to give her five children education. So, it’s not for me to carry it on my forehead and start telling people that I behave in a negative way because I come from a broken home. I was rejected when I started music but I don’t think there is any musician that hadn’t gone through that because music is emotional.
Today music has done a lot for me. It has made me wiser. Music has made me relevant.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 11, 2012