I appreciate my male admirers but…

The name Yetunde Alabi may not ring a bell, but mention Sasha, a smoking Nigerian female hip hop artiste, and you will be striking the right chords. Sasha, who stormed the industry seven years ago with First Lady, has continued to step up her game.
Speaking with KATE HALIM recently, the Ekiti State indigene confesses her love for Jesus Christ. She says she appreciates her male admirers and talks about the misconception about her personality. Excerpts:

What should your fans expect from you this year?
“A lot. My sophomore album Sashaspeaks is in its finishing stages and will be released very soon. I currently have three videos on air as promotional singles for the album. Put it down featuring Dama Do Bling from Mozambique, Making Money and Making money remix featuring My Storm 360 label mates, Naeto C and Sauce kid.

“We are already in negotiations for a national tour. I leave tonight to attend the annual Women In Entertainment and Arts awards held in UK for which I am nominated. So, I am very excited about 2010.”

How did you spend the last Valentine’s Day?
“Ordinarily, that would be a personal question that I would refrain from but it is cool because I was working.”

Describe your early days in the music industry?
“My earlier days were surprisingly rather busy. I learnt a lot and met a lot of people. However, there weren’t as many female artistes as there are now so it used to be sort of lonely.”

Would you say you have had a successful musical career?
“I have had the tense I will use when my great grandchildren are running around. So far, the going has been good. But I believe there is so much more to come and I am just getting started.”

As a female rap artiste, what is your staying power in a male dominated industry?
“My motto is to put God first, work hard and make music with a difference. The staying power is solely the grace of God and I am grateful for that.”

How many albums do you have to your credit?
“Due to the amount of collaborations and projects I have been involved in, I have been very fortunate in the industry. People don’t believe it when I say this, but I have one album released First Lady which was released in December 2007. My second album, Sashaspeaks will be out soon.

How are you giving back to the society?
“I believe as an individual, I have a social responsibility to make a difference any way I can. I have done this consistently over the years. I was part of the Save a Street Child campaign in Lagos inJanuary 2009. I recently launched Maternal Mortality project in May 2009, an initiative of Fuji musician Kwam 1 to educate and cater for the needs of young mothers who seek adequate medical care.”

What are your high moments in your career?
“They keep getting higher. But everyday that passes that I am able to share my music with my fans is a blessing and definitely a high moment for me. Like red wine, it keeps getting better.”

Low moments?
“I would say the low moments are the times when people look for every opportunity to tear you down and fail to see that you are human just like them. Everybody goes through those phases. Most importantly for me, I take them as lessons in experience and try to channel that energy into making more music.”

Sense of style
“My style is comfortable glamour. I don’t like to blend in but I wear comfortable clothes appropriate for whatever occasion I am attending. I am usually in my own clothing label Eclectic, by Sasha.”

Describe your personality
“Hmmm, tough one. I am a private person, which is usually misunderstood to mean I am a snob. I am actually very friendly and down to earth. I can get along with almost anyone and when nobody is looking, I am the class clown (laughs).”

Do you believe in love?
“I plead guilty to the charge of “hopelessly romantic”, aren’t we all at heart really?”

Are you in love now?
“I am in love with Jesus Christ for sure.”

Comment on the industry
“It is amazing how far we have come. It is also great to know that right now and even in the nearest future, we can really sustain ourselves from the music we have worked so hard at and invested so much in. I believe there is room for lots of improvements but we are well on our way.”

How do you handle your male admirers?
“I appreciate their interest, but draw a line at house calls.”

“I won the “Best Female Artist “ award at the Women in Entertainment awards held in England in February 2009 for my first single, Adara. I was also nominated in two categories for Best Female Video and Best Cinematography by the Nigerian Soundcity Music Video Awards (SMVA) for my second single Only One in August 2009.”

What do you love most about life?
“I think being able to experience the ups and downs helps me feel alive and be much more grateful for the things that make us smile.”

How do you relax?
“I relax by having some ‘me’ time where I can shut the world out for a while and just reflect. Sometimes, I hang out with my friends and watch a movie.”

Have you had any embarrassing moment?
“I have had a few. I am only human but I can’t remember anyone in particular right now. I have learnt that it is indeed a blessing to be able to laugh at myself now and then. Life goes on.”

What is your favourite food?
“I like junk food. I am a dessert person, sue me.”

How soon would you marry?
“Man proposes, but God disposes.”

Who is your ideal man?
“He would have to be God-fearing, hard working with a great sense of humor and yes, we can’t forget the height. All in all, my ideal man would be someone I consider a best friend.”

“My real name is Yetunde Alabi, I am from Ekiti State. I studied Law at the University of Lagos.”

Growing years experience
“That is a long story but I will keep it simple. I am the last of eight children. I grew up in a warm, loving , musical and educational atmosphere. It has shaped the woman I am becoming. I have always been encouraged to have an opinion and not to be afraid to air it, a very valuable lesson.”