Imelda Jane is a fast-rising musician, who succeeded in bringing the entire Benue State Executive Council to her debut album launch. The Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi graduate tells Ademola Olonilua about her music career and her love life
How did you get into music?
I just found myself in music. I was born into a family where music is highly appreciated. I remember that during festive seasons, we would record songs; my parents and siblings would all sit at home, play instruments and record. When I was in Primary Five, I joined the choir; I was the smallest chorister. When I got to secondary school, I continued to sing. I never knew I would take it professionally. As time went by, I just found myself doing it.
What genre of music do you sing?
I can do virtually all the genres of music as long as it has to do with vocals. What I do not do is rap. I sing pop, R ‘n’B, dance hall. Of all the genres, I think pop is my favourite.
How did you make it big on the music scene?
It has not been easy. It has not been an easy journey because as a female artiste, for people to accept you when you need help, they always want to give you conditions and it is up to you to know what you want. Personally, it has not been easy for me because I have been through so many challenges. I just believe that with God on my side, I will overcome. If you go to someone for help, initially they will give you hope, but at the end of the day they will fail. It is up to you to make the right decisions because if you submit to their terms and conditions, they still may not help you at the end of the day. The industry is not easy, especially for females. As for a male, it is better because if a male needs assistance, if he asks, he would be told immediately if he would be helped or not. They tend to play games and they usually are not straight forward when a female asks for help.
You just said that to get help, there are usually conditions tied to the favour. Does it involve sleeping with the person; has it ever happened to you?
Mostly, it is not those that are in the entertainment industry that do that because if I require the services of a director, I will pay him so he has no right to tell me trash. It is when you do not have the money or resources that such things actually occur. I have not experienced it. What I would say I have experienced is people that are not into entertainment believing that we in show business are wayward people. They have that very wrong impression and that is not right.
You have just one album. You were able to get the Governor of Benue State, his deputy and his entire cabinet to the launch of the album. How did you pull it off?
I would say it is God. I think hard work, persistence, focus, actually contributed to it. It is not as if I came from nowhere to launch an album. I have been there, and people have seen my work. A lot of people raised an eyebrow when I pulled it off, they asked questions and thought I went some extra mile to pull it off but I would say it is just God. People had done other great things in my state and the governor was not there. For the governor to be there from the beginning to the end – he even came before me – I think that was an honour and a great thing. I see it as God’s doing. My governor is a person that has been encouraging entertainment in Benue State.
Tuface is probably the number one ambassador when it comes to entertainment in Benue State. Do you think you can transcend where he has reached?
I’m in the industry to give my best; to stand out and leave a mark on Nigeria’s entertainment scene. That’s my aim; I am not into music to outshine another person. It is not a competition. The entertainment industry is large enough for everyone to excel; I believe I am going to leave a positive mark that I would be remembered for.
What other challenge have you encountered?
Another one that bothers me is the nonchalant attitude of these professionals. You pay money to get something done and I think they feel it does not concern them; they take their time in doing what has been paid for. They are not zealous. They misbehave and when you are upset they tell you that you are impatient. They don’t realise that music is not just a job, it’s our life, our passion, and they toy with it. Looking at the P-Square family, it is a very lovely set up. They would do everything to perfection because it is a family thing.
You come from a family that appreciates music. When you were going into music, were there any reservations from your family?
They all supported me. My mother was partially into music when she was in her secondary school. I was told she had a group then. I picked it up from where she stopped. Till now I still have their full support. They are the reason I can say I am where I am apart from God because without their support, where would I be?
How about your education?
I graduated from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi. I’m waiting to go for national service.
How were you able to manage music and school together?
It was hell. I was on the road a lot of time. I would come to Lagos to do my production, interviews, go for events and then run back to Makurdi. I would be in Benue during the week and at weekends, I would be in Lagos. It was miraculous because it did not affect my studies in anyway. A few times I could not make it to school then something always came up in school that would save me, a strike for instance.
How religious would you say you are?
I don’t play with my spiritual life. God brought me here and I am grateful. We travel a lot and without him, I know I can’t succeed.
As a young lady you seem very busy; do you ever have time for your boyfriend?
Time has been my problem sincerely. I am trying to balance things in my life. Between now and next year, I want to see how I would create a little time for my boyfriend.
So are you implying that you do not have a boyfriend?
I am not saying so and I am saying so. The point I am right now, I cannot put a boyfriend first because it is going to distract me. I have a target between now and 2011. Now the main boyfriend is my music; I don’t want anything to come between us except God.
What is your target?
I don’t want to talk too much, I have a target. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag yet. The album I launched was more of an experiment, to know what people want and are expecting of me. It is just like an introduction to what is to come.