She started making money at 16 byworking in supermarkets in the United Kingdom. Even though she is from a well to do background in Nigeria, Lagos State born Susan Goldie Harvey came into music by accident.
Since 2007 when she debuted, the U.K trained Business Administrator now signed to Kennis Music, has finally found her sound as she shows off in her ‘You like it’ track co-written with and produced by eLDee. In this interview with Lolade Sowoolu, she tells of her unfortunate love story and her friendless background. Enjoy her submissions.
The Goldie image painted in your videos is a tough one. It’s surprising there isn’t as much fence around you in person. Is the video image deliberate?
Let me call my label manager to answer that question.
Manager Joel: Yes, you get that impression when you watch her videos but when you meet her in person, she’s simple and there hasn’t been any problem managing her. People say positive things about her.
Is there a difference between Goldie and Susan Harvey?
The image on TV is not to create some kind of hardness. It’s just what I like. I like wearing what I wear and making up the way I do. If you were there on set while I was shooting that video, you’d find out that I was just laughing.
The theme of the song dictates the mood I get into. I’ve smiled in past videos that have friendly themes. People say that the image distances them from me but I don’t see it that way. What I see rather is that it (the image) creates a larger than life entity of me.
And you enjoy that life…
Of course! Like every entertainer before me, including Elton John, Madonna, Michael Jackson… They all have this larger than life image. Meanwhile, if you meet them one on one, you’ll find out that they’re so shy, and in fact, the shiest ones are the ones that cover up with heavy make up.
Just like you…?
I’m very shy actually. I’m shy but confident because I believe in myself. I’m shy and I don’t like crowded places. I’d rather just be alone by myself in my house and come out once in a while. I’m very reserved.
How is it transiting from Goldie to Susan?
There’s no transition at all; I just dress up. Goldie’s an alter ego that comes naturally.
Whenever I’m meant to be Goldie, it just happens. I don’t feel the change. I just feel like I’m doing the right thing at the right time. I see it as an opportunity to present one’s self in another light. Goldie’s daring but ultimately, they (Goldie and Susan) have the same core values.
Are you fashionable as in your videos?
I like to play with colours. I like to experiment. We learn everyday by experimenting in trial and error forms. There are a lot of times that I don’t know what I’m wearing. I just like to put stuffs together. As long as it flatters my body at the end of the day, I’m fine.
You should make a statement with your clothes even if you don’t know what statement you’re making. That’s my opinion. I like to look good. I like eclectic stuff like lace, satin, voil. I’m very Victorian in my fashion sense. As for make up, it’s just part of an entertainer’s life.
Any no go areas for you when it comes to fashion?
I don’t like having more than five to six colours on me at a time, no matter the fabric. I find it appalling having purple, grey, pink, yellow all together. It screams. I like subtle colours. My fabric could have lace and leather together but the colours mustn’t be far apart.
What’s responsible for your uniqueness?
I can’t tell exactly but I do know that while growing up, my mum never liked sewing clothes for us. We always had ready_made outfits and most of them usually had lace or satin. I think that’s what formed my taste. Again, I look at the human figure. It’s shaped like No. 8. So, personally, in terms of fashion, I try to enhance it.
Let’s talk about your growing up.
I come from a very educated background. My mum had three degrees. On her desk in the bank, she’d display them. My dad was also a bank boss while we were growing up before he started his own business. I’m the first born and we’re from Ikole Ekiti in Ekiti state. I used to have three siblings but I now have five because my mum had a set of twins last year (laughs).
Growing up was sad. I grew up in Anthony area of Lagos state. My parents didn’t let us have friends and my schools weren’t far from the house. Apart from school and church, I didn’t know anybody. I’d come back home from school and that was it. I wasn’t allowed any toys because my dad felt I was given to flights of fantasy .
I had a teddy bear someone once bought for me but my father took it away when I was seven. He said I used to make the teddy bear fly. I’m a bit older than my younger sister. So, I practically grew up alone, without friends and I guess it helped me somehow because I took up writing.
Is your mum equally Yoruba?
My mum is Ijebu and my dad, Ikole. I got into reading a lot of books because there was nothing to do with my time. It got so bad in secondary school that I’d write mini novels for my friends to read.
Writing novels isn’t bad…
Not when the mini novels were my interpretation of Mills and Booms (laughter)
You must have been reading Mills and Booms…
My mum was a Mills and Boom fanatic. So, every book she dropped after reading, I read.
We were almost in competition. There was a point I’d brag to my mum that, ‘I read this book in less than a point’ and she’d say, ‘I can read it in four hours’ (laughter).
That was the only fun I had because my parents were very strict and thought bad friends would put me in trouble. That’s why I like my own company now. I have friends but I’m not the type to go looking for them. I wasn’t brought up that way. I did all the stage plays in church and choir stuff. Let me just say I grew up early because my friends were my mum, aunt and grand-mum.
And after secondary school, you rebelled?
Well, there was a bit of rebellion. That’s why I have a degree in Business Administration from the University of Sunderland, UK. I left Nigeria about a year after secondary school.
You were allowed to go alone?
I have a family in the U.K My parents ensured I went to them.
What did you do with freedom when you finally had it?
There was the fear of experimenting. I was a bit scared to do things I hadn’t done before because I wasn’t brought up doing them.
You were a good girl throughout…
I wasn’t a good girl exactly. I experimented in different ways. Obviously, you’ll go out with friends and have fun. We formed a mini pop group and performed underground by the railway (laughs) and people would pass by and put coins. I did crazy stuffs like that.
Were you hungry?
No, I wasn’t. I don’t even know why we were doing that. Maybe, we were thinking one ‘big’ person would pass and sign us to a record label or so. We were a bunch of pretty girls.
It sounds to me like you’d thought of professional singing quite early…
Maybe subconsciously. I knew I was going to have something to do with entertainment. I was actually thinking it would be movie production.
So, why study Business Management?
My dad wanted me to be a lawyer but Law could have taken about eight years to study unlike Business Management which was three and half years. I wanted to finish quick.
For me, that was the easiest I could take. When I went to the UK, I was working instead of getting allowances. When I tell people I’ve been making money for myself since I was 16, they find it laughable but it’s true because I was on my own.
Where did you work?
I worked in supermarkets. I wasn’t a very patient person, so I met a lot of people that thought me patience, especially when working as a young black girl. It was quite an experience.
Did you feel sad that a girl from a rich home like yours became a shop girl?
I was happy most of the times but I remember one time I called my mum because a boy called me a monkey. She said, ‘Are you a monkey’? I said “No”. Then she said,
‘so, why are you crying?’
And what about the good parts, did you have the passes?
Not exactly. I never really had a lot of that. The passes didn’t come until I was much older. Maybe, if I had a lot of passes in my younger days, I would have had children by now.
From singing for coins, you went professional?
My first single was released in Nigeria in 2007. It’s titled ‘Komole’. I started a date reminder service in Nigeria and wanted to make a jingle for my company. I was introduced to Manny of Cool FM and in the process of production I told him I was in a band in UK and all that.
It turned out that we had more in common because I used to play the piano when I was younger in Secondary school before singing rock songs in the band. So, he created some beats and I went to the studio with some poems I had written earlier.
From there, I met OJB and that was it. When I look back now, it’s more like music happened on me and I didn’t go looking for it. It was afterwards that I realized that this is what I always wanted to do and God has a way of putting you in the right path when your time is right.
Let’s talk about your new sound.
I’m more in tune with myself now. So, I know my sound better. I’m also on a label now.
I like fancy fairy tales and this video was not any different. I came up with the concept of the video. I had done a photo shoot with Lawson and Clarence (the video director) used them. The song was released on radio sometimes in April and the video was shot in June.
How much of a fairy tale is the song (You like it)?
My intention is never to snatch anyone’s husband or spouse. I’m not that sort of person. I think it’s just a song that anyone can relate to, something to inspire confidence in anyone. It says, ‘I could’ (Mo le) but ‘I won’t take your man.’ I’ll rather slap you if you misbehave.
It sounds like Goldie is a no-nonsense person…
I don’t think anyone should take nonsense from any other person. I think we all should respect each other. Respect should be mutual. ‘You like it’ is a feel-good song.
Who wrote the song?
It’s a collaboration. Each person wrote his part. Mr Kenny (her record label boss) thought we should do a collaboration because my style and eLDee’s were similar. He (Mr Kenny) listened to some of my songs and we (together with eLDee) have this Europe funk feel going on in our songs. I remember him saying eLDee and Goldie rhyme.
Is any of the other girls in your early ‘girl band’ into music professionally today?
No, and it’s really weird.
When will the album hit the street?
It’s dropping this month and I have other collaborations apart from eLDee’s. There’s one with Jaywon titled, ‘Jawo’, another one with Baba Keke, Kas and Minjin- the Centage superstar. The album’s titled ‘Gold’ and has 15 tracks. There are about five collaborations in all.
Tell me about your first love experiment.
The only love experience I had while I was in primary school was punctuated measles. And a girl gave it to me.
When was the first time you fell in love?
As for real love, most of the guys I love don’t love me back. I end up with guys that love me but I don’t love as much. I’ve never had the perfect relationship but I’m in one right now and it’s a loving one. I’ve learnt that if you can get someone who loves you, just need to love him back.
What do you remember of your first relationship?
I don’t want to talk about it. It was a mistake and I don’t dwell on mistakes.