Le Kwa Ukwu crooner, Iyanya announced last week that he was setting up a foundation as a way of giving back to the society.
This was not a very surprising move for a man that lost his family in the space of two years but kept moving forward.
With the loss of both parents not stopping him from doing music, he pressed forward till he was named Nigerian Artiste of the Year.
Now an ambassador to three brands, the successful artiste in this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly explained the motive behind his foundation. He also spoke about the controversy surrounding the Lenovo endorsement he doesn’t have and many other issues.
God has blessed me so much and I do believe that my story should inspire anybody out there who feels like you need a mom, dad or family, that you don’t need anybody but you to bring out the best in you. They would support you, they would help you and pray for you but at the end of the day, you’re the one who knows what you want to be so you have to get it. I’m establishing this foundation to encourage people out there and to also give back.
When exactly did you come up with the idea of a foundation?
Really, it’s been there for a while. There are a lot of things I’ve been doing but it’s high time I did it properly and you will see the things we will do.
So what are the activities the foundation would be busy with?
We’ll be encouraging and assisting the less privileged kids, send them to school. We’ll visit hospitals and reach out as much as I can to people that are helpless. I’ll be going to most of these places that you don’t expect me to go but I really don’t want to mention names for now.
Would running this foundation not be a distraction to your music?
It has nothing to do with my music. It would be unfair if I don’t give back because the society made me who I am.
Do you intend to do all these things on your own or as times goes on you’ll be open to people for support?
I have been doing it on my own but as times goes on, being a foundation, people would definitely support. It’s another way to get blessed. From grass to grace, I won Project Fame, I didn’t make it because I was singing RnB, I changed to commercial and kept trying till I became artiste of the year. My story is one that if I was not Iyanya, I’d want to hear it and be inspired.
I already have some kids that are going to school right now, that’s long before the foundation. For now, I wouldn’t say I have specific people in mind, it’s going to be as the spirit leads. It’s going to be more of me going to places where people need help. I’ll visit schools to donate exercise books, pay school fees and a whole lot of other activities.
Your song, Away has had several video entries from fans all over the world since you asked them to send entries, will a winner be announced and when is it?
Away was never a competition. Fans like to relate with their artistes, to feel like they are part of it all and that was why we asked them so send HD video recordings of themselves dancing Away so, the real video which will be out by next week is going to be a fusion of Iyanya and the fans. It’s a fans video and the reward is having your recording on the video. There’s no prize that we can give you that is better than putting you on the video, trust me.
Do you agree that Nigerian artistes are putting out better songs these days?
You can say that but it’s still the same trend. It’s not like it has really changed. It’s just what the artiste says that makes the song trendy.
Of course. Everybody out there that calls you baba wants to be baba too. Everybody that shakes you with two hands out there wants people to shake him or her with two hands someday. I realise that this baba thing sometimes ‘na wash’. It’s risky for an artiste when they tell you you’re the best because when you mess up, it’s these same people that would say you’re the worst artiste they’ve seen. I’ve learnt something from my senior colleagues like P-Square and 2Face. Overtime, they’re making good music. They’re not just making hits, they’re making good music. I’m inspired by them and I’m doing my best.
A magazine reported not long ago that you lied about having signed an endorsement deal with Lenovo when you have not, what’s your response to that?
I don’t know anything about that. This question is for my manager actually, he handles the business part. Ask me anything that has to do with music and I’ll answer.
But how did you feel when you saw the report?
Trust me, I didn’t feel anything, I’m just thankful. People will always say stuff. The Bible has taught me a lot. When Jesus Christ went through everything he went through in the Bible, it was just to show us that as holy as he is, he still went through all these, then who am I? It’s obvious that in Nigeria, when you’re successful, everybody waits for you to go down, it’s sad. When two people are making it together, they’ll say ‘They will break up soon’, it’s unfortunate. Why don’t we support people, why don’t we promote what’s good? It’s sad when people are trying to destroy a name you suffered to build rather than help you and encourage you. It’s all good, though, I understand that it would always happen, mine’s to continue thanking God for His blessings, to continue working and not to let down people that believe in me.
You got six nominations in the World Music Awards, what are your expectations from it?
I’m just thankful that I was recognised by World Music. I remember, years ago, when I saw people go for the awards, I’d be saying one day I’ll be there. So, to have six nominations is a huge blessing. What’s mine is mine, I believe that the one that’s mine I will come back home with it.
Whenever Iyanya decides to settle down, what kind of woman would you want?
I’m not even sure these days because if you say you want to go to church and get one, she comes into the house and she’s a mess, whereas you could have a club girl and she’ll be amazing. For now, I’m just concentrating on music, trying to be successful because you’ll have to provide for her when she comes, whenever that is. I’m just believing God for a best friend because it only makes sense when she’s your best friend.
– AJOKE ONITOLO