EMMA Nyra studied Health Administration at the University of Southern Texas, Houston, USA. But music has since taken the better part of her. And with three hot singles under her belt, Emma who clocked 25 on Thursday, July 18, 2013, told ENCOMIUM Weekly she’s too busy to fall in love. At least, for now…
Your biological names are Emma Chukwugoziem Obi?
Yeah, but I’m better known as Emma Nyra. They used to call me E-money in school. So, I just put naira there so that people will identify me with Nigeria. But I spell it Nyra because it sounds sexy.
You have been around for about a year now. So, what is special about Emma Nyra?
Emma Nyra is a blend of modern Nigerian and Western culture. I was raised by Fela, Sunny Bobo and a whole lot of Nigerians popular beats. My sound is a blend of what I grew up listening to and what my parents passed on to me. So, I’m unique in my own way. When I told my parents I wanted to do music, they didn’t have any problem with it. They only said I must get my university degree before deciding on my career path.
So, what did you study?
I studied Health Administration with a minor in Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, Houston Texas. That was also where my father and sister studied.
When did you record your very first single before you joined Mode Men Music Group?
I recorded my very first single when I was in the university in 2009. That was Everything I do.
You already have three singles, including beautiful videos?
I have three singles at the moment. The first was Ori mi wu. The second one is Everything I Do, featuring Iyanya. And both songs were produced by D’Tunes. I have also shot the video of the two singles. My third single, Kere-shere, was produced by Mr. Chido. I dropped the video on my birthday, Thursday, July 18. It was directed by Sesan.
When are you releasing your debut album?
My album would be out later this year or early next year. It is very important that you let your singles peak before you drop your album. And that’s what I’m waiting for.
There is serious competition right now among female artistes. There is Tiwa Savage, Omawumi, Waje, Kefee, Eva and more. Are you intimidated by these star acts?
Not at all. Instead of them intimidating me, they rather inspire and encourage me. They have made me know that women are powerful and capable of holding their own in the male-dominated industry. Now, I know I can also do it.
You recently acquired a posh jeep Commander?
My father bought me the car while I was in the university. My father promised us a car if we get scholarship. Since I got one, he bought the car for me in my second year. When I moved to Nigeria in March 2012, my car was in America. So, my dad sent it and it has just arrived.
How much was it?
I didn’t ask him but I know he finished paying the following year. I really don’t know how much he bought it.
Ok, can you give us an estimate?
It may be between N5m and N6m.
What do you really like in a car?
I like big cars because I drive slowly. So, when I’m driving a big car, people will try to avoid me, so I can go my way (laughs).
Who has been your inspiration?
Iyanya inspires me. Timberland and Don Jazzy inspire me. I look up to a lot of bigger artistes even 2Face. Iyanya and 2Face are very humble. I knew Iyanya when he didn’t have too much money and now he is rich and famous, he is still humble.
How does it really feel to be MMMG’s first lady?
It feels nice because we built it together. It wasn’t as if they established a label and then called me to be first lady. I was around for everything, even before Kukere. So, I helped to build Made Men Music Group.
Talking about building MMMG, did you put in money?
No, I didn’t put in my money. I put in my time. There was money but it wasn’t like now.
People are still asking if you are dating Iyanya?
No. Iyanya treats me like a little sister. If he has a girlfriend, he would ask me, do you like this babe? So, we are very close. If I like a girl, he would like her because I can judge a character. We are not dating. If I were dating him, I wouldn’t be here. I’m not dating him but we are very close.
So, there is no truth in the story that you guys are getting more intimate?
No, no it’s not true.
It is also being rumoured that you were really the one that crashed Iyanya’s relationship with Yvonne Nelson. Can you please clear the air on this?
That is also not true. When she came around, I wasn’t aware that they were dating. I just know she was shooting a video. If Iyanya is serious about someone, he comes to me and says this is the girl I like, this is the girl I’m seeing. It was even our suggestion to put her name in Your Waist. The funny thing is that I like Yvonne that was why we put her name in the song. We had many women but we had to cut down the list. I was wrongly accused because I’m close to Iyanya as my boss and label mate.
So, you would be happy to have her back?
I’m not just happy with how she handled their breakup. She would have kept many issues to herself. I don’t want to be drawn into the matter, being their personal lives but there are many things she said that are completely untrue. She should have simply kept quiet.
What is Emma Nyra’s love life like?
My love life right now centres on my music. I work a lot. When you are in a relationship, you have a lot of responsibilities. Oyu have to make sure the man is okay, that he has eaten and is well taken care of. But I haven’t had time to date anyone yet. Maybe in the nearest future, I will.
You are young, beautiful, sexy, sassy and have got it all. When the urge for companionship comes in, how do you handle that?
Thank you. I’m not one of those girls who are desperately looking for love. I want to establish myself first so that my man would appreciate me, not just for my looks but what I have accomplished. Beauty fades. While I’m young, I have the energy to do a lot of things for myself. So, for now, it’s my music.
Being young and restless, how do you fight back when you need a man?
I won’t fight back. I will learn how to douse it. Of course, I need a man. I’m a woman. When the urge comes, I will know and I would be able to balance it. I just hope I meet someone who understands my lifestyle and accept the fact that I’m not always going to be in the country and that I’m going to be out late. We perform in the evening, sometimes we perform last. I hope to find a man who is understanding and can tolerate me, then I can be with him.
But you were in a relationship before you joined the music industry?
Definitely, I was in a relationship while I was in the university. We both had the same schedule. He was an athlete like me, then. I play volleyball, he plays football. We coped well because we were on and off together. We actually broke up but we are still friends. We grew up together. He is from Asaba like me. We met again when we were in school.
You left University of Southern Texas, Houston USA in 2010 and clocked 25 on Thursday, July 2013, how has life been?
Life has been hard. I had to cut off some friends and family members and focus on getting to the top, because sometimes when you are moving fast, people around you that don’t like what you are doing would try to hold you back. It has been difficult for me but I have a good support system in my management.
What are you most grateful to God as you turn 25?
I’m grateful to God because I’m not looking for what to do at this age. I have a great family and a promising music career.
Any regret so far?
I regret that I’m not really close to all of my family members. Some of my family members don’t approve of what I’m doing. But I’m happy with what I’m doing and my parents are happy with what I’m doing. If my parents were against me, I would have thought twice. I’m happy they are happy and proud of me.
Where are your parents?
They are still in the United States. My younger brother just gained admission into a university there in the States. So, my parents might now come home. We are four. I have one elder sister, Chrystal and two younger brothers, Emmanuel and Felix. And my parents are Emmanuel and Mariam Obi.
What’s your last word for your fans?
I thank you all every day for your prayers and encouragement. While I was performing in the United States, some girls would come to me on stage and pray for me. I say thank you to them all. I also say thank you to my manager who believes in me.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, July 23, 2013