Yemi Eberechi Alade, popularly known as Yemi Alade, is a Nigerian Afro pop singer.
She came into the limelight after winning the maiden edition of the Peak Talent Show in 2009. She is best known for her hit single Johnny and has since been one of the most talked about female artistes. In a recent interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, she opened up on her endorsements, but mum on her father’s passage…
How would you rate your career in 2014?
It was an eye opener for me, my family, fans, team and everyone that knows the brand, Yemi Alade. In one sentence, I would say the peak at which my career got to in 2014, was beyond my expectation because I never saw it coming. Let me just say, I went from zero to hero.
What is the greatest thing music has done for you?
As a person, there is more to life than the materialistic things that you achieve overtime. For me, the best thing is being appreciated by people who you don’t even know, like my fans because I do not see them but they love me very much. Music has brought me closer to the practical aspect of the course I studied in school, Geography.
Music has also become a therapy and a back bone for me. It made me who I am right now and what I am today.
How would you rate the success of your hit single, Johnny?
The song keeps spreading all over the world but I think it is yet to get to the peak, that is, where I want it to be. People from China, Australia and those who do not even speak English all over the world are asking for the song because every one of them have a reason or two to refer to the song or the storyline and it is quite exciting for me because I did not see it coming. So, I remain thankful and grateful to God.
Would you say Johnny brought you into limelight?
In Nigeria, I have other songs that people knew and were giving me some kind of exposure but Johnny was the song that put the mark down for me. In Nigeria, I would say Ghen Ghen Love but worldwide, Johnny.
How much has the song fetched you so far?
In terms of fan base, I cannot begin to count. I had about 1,200 followers on Instagram in January 2014, but right now, I’m almost hitting 80,000 followers but financially, it has fetched me enough to invest in my music but at the same time, we are yet to hit the bank.
Sorry about the death of your dad, how does it feel?
I really don’t want to disclose anything personal apart from music. I do not want to talk about it but if anyone out there who has lost his/her dad, then they probably know how I feel. So, I want to keep this information personal.
Your new single, Kissing is making waves, what inspired it?
For a while now, I have been writing songs that are very topical and I decided to go with the topic, Kissing.
The song is on the lips of both young and old, how do you feel?
From the very first day I freestyled the song, I felt good because there is a special way you feel when you write a good song but I never had the idea that it would be accepted by all. God keeps doing it and I’m blessed.
Why the choice of kids in-love in the video?
It’s the storyline of the song. Although, everybody engages in one form of kissing or the other, it could be on the cheek but the storyline we worked with is how you can show Kissing in a meaningful way. I tried to portray two types of kissing that is, when you kiss as a kid, you do that with no form of affection because their parents engage in such. But kissing as an adult is a sign of love and affection.
So, the kissing is part of the director and my manager’s idea. Besides, the kids in the video are twins.
Do you think it would go as far as Johnny?
My duty as an artiste is make good use of the talent God has given me to make beautiful melodies or songs and the remaining is left for God.
What brought about the whole dress concept in your videos?
In all my video, I always know what I want to look like and I draw a lot of my design. From Ghen Ghen Love, Johnny, Tangarine are all hand-made costumes. I start making them a month or two before I start shooting the video. So, I draw the designs and send them to my designer, Amarelix, the one who makes all my dreamy images come to life. I just wanted to look like a princess but I sort of looked like an African Princess.
How would you rate the sale of your album, King of Queens?
I don’t want to disclose figures but from the first month, we got feedbacks from the marketers that we already sold 10,000 copies in one month and the next month, the sales doubled. So, I just thank God for that because we just put out the album and we never envisaged that it would get a lot of demand in other parts of Africa, Europe and many more.
How would you describe your fashion?
In one word, it’s called Afropolitan, so it is a merger of both African and Western fashion because I feel it describes my personality.
Your hairstyle has become your signature, how did you come about it?
Clarence Peters and my stylist did the trick. The moment we set to shoot the video of Johnny he said he wanted a look that people would see and know it’s Yemi Alade. So, my stylist did a lot of thinking before coming up with this style. I disagreed with him but when it was done, I never wanted to take it off again because I love it.
Have you been able to get any endorsement so far?
I have gotten a few and I am proud to be associated with Close-Up Toothpaste, Breezer, Bland2Glam at the moment and we are hoping for more major endorsements with prestigious brands.
Which artistes are you looking forward to having a collabo with?
In Nigeria, P-Square because I love their work ethics, the fact that they are still very relevant in the industry. I also love their music and their business strategy. But if I have to spread my tentacles abroad, I would say, Nicki Minaj because she runs her business like a guy and that is what it entails to be King of Queens.
What else are you working on?
I have so many pet projects to work on, will be working on more videos from my album. I will be shooting more videos in London and France and we will be going around a lot. I have also started work on my second album which is likely to be out by the third quarter of the year by God’s grace.
You are being identified with a particular politician at the moment, Akinwunmi Ambode and your fans are wondering if you would be going into politics?
We all are human beings and I have chosen to be an artiste for now not a politician but I have the right to vote and I just made my vote more obvious with who I’m voting for. In case you see me in a political race, make sure you vote for me.