Omawumi Magbele was the last girl standing in the first West Africa Idol, a singing contest sponsored by Zain (formerly Celtel) Communication Network. The contest was won by Timi Dakolo. And since the contest ended, life has not been the same for the Delta State-born Law graduate. Recently, Omawumi released a single entitled, “In the Music” and since then, the song has been enjoying positive air time. She spoke to our correspondent, Carol Arhere. Enjoy it.
How are you doing? I’m doing well. I thank God for the gift of life.
What were you doing before you got involved in the Idols West Africa competition?
I was working in a family law firm in Port-Harcourt. It was in my elder brother’s law firm called Magbele and Associate. I was there while waiting to proceed to the Law school
So how has it been since then?It has been fantastic. My life is completely changed and I’m grateful to God . Idol West Africa is the bedrock of my success today. It actually brought me to limelight and since then, it has been from one performance to the other. My life has not known any dull moment since then.
How are you handling stardom at the moment?I’m handling it well though, there are some hiccups here and there but the advantages far outweighs the disadvantages. I’ll say it was a wonderful opportunity because music is a message that every body is ready to listen to. So, I will say it is a wonderful opportunity.
Have you always wanted to be a musician or you got into it because of the Idol’s competition?I have always wanted to be a musician because I’ve always known how to sing. I sing whenever I want to sing to make extra cash but, never thought of doing it professionally or taking it up as career. I have always had the dream, but didn’t really know how to go about it. So when the opportunity came, it was a wonderful avenue for me to showcase my talent.
If you have your way, will you do it again?I don’t think so because, it has already given me the opportunity that I needed so I should take off from there. The fact that I came first runner up does not make me feel anything less. In my heart I’m a winner. I should be grateful for getting this far. We had a fantastic top ten so emerging as the first runner up was a great achievement. So going back to do it again does not make any sense to me.
What are your views about the Nigerian music industry?
I think the music industry is doing very well, it’s are going places. I like where it is heading to and I’’m happy to be part of it.
What does music mean to you?
Music is an instrument, for communication and every music person has a vital role to play here. You remember the time of Nelson Mandela when everyone was clamoring for his release, musicians like Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Miriam Makaba, Lucky Dube and the host of them used music as weapon to wage war against apartheid . So that is exactly what music is, an avenue to reach the public.
Every moment of my life is memorable because I maximise every opportunity that comes my way. I live every day as my last day on earth so at any time, I find happiness, pleasure and I’m grateful for how God is blessing my family. So every moment of my life is a high point.
I wouldn’t call it dull moment, but challenges because anything that happens to you makes you work harder. Anything that happens to you and makes you say I will work things out the right way to fit into yourself is something appreciative not a dull moment. If I’m unhappy at all, I try to push my self up rather than sit in one corner and feel sad because I believe life has so much to offer me.
What do you think should be done to improve the entertainment industry in Nigeria?
The fact that the industry is doing well is not enough to celebrate mediocrity, we still need to put some things right. I think every musician should strive to better his or her self. We shouldn’t say oh the industry is great so we should manage this No.
Every one should try and improve on the quality of the output. If you are doing local music, gbono (get hot) inside the local music and bring out the best. Whatever genre of music you are, do it right so as to better the industry. And this applies to listeners, don’t promote piracy, buy the original copy so that your favorite artiste can enjoy the effort he/she has put into the work.
Written by Carol Arhere