Modupe Ola, popularly known as Mo Cheddah, is a young and talented fast growing artiste and one of Nigeria’s top female vocalists. The Osun State born rap artiste and student of the University of Lagos in this interview with ALEXANDRA IBIWOYE talks about her passion for music, craziest fan experience, and soon-to-be released album, among others. Excerpts: Could you describe Mo Cheddah in five words? Bold, strong,daring, beautiful and unpredictable. I’m a whole lot of things How did music start for you? It definitely started as a passion because as a child I used to watch a lot of TV, mimic everything I saw, stand in front of the mirror and interview myself. I just thought I was a celebrity. I had no idea how I was going to do that but my parents knew I was a bundle of talents, and they really wanted to play on that. I started out acting because I used to re-enact everything I saw, so my friends just thought okay she is a good actress, she seems to know how to redo everything. So, I started off acting. But I had a group of family friends, they were guys, and very close to my siblings. They would come to our house with their guitars and play music.I always sang along and danced, but there was really not much I could do because they were much older than I was. So, when I was12 years old, I just felt the need to take a bold step, so my parents were like maybe they should sign me up for a competition, and then I looked at my family friends, which is Knight House now, I just thought to myself that these guys seem to know what they are doing, and I went to talk to them. I was like “please I can sing?” They didn’t take me seriously at first, but eventually they tested me and signed me up, and they started training me vocally. I started writing songs, so that’s how I started basically. Can you let us into your family background? Growing up was beautiful, and is still beautiful because I’m very close to my family, I’m from sun state, I love my mum to pieces, my dad is late, I lost him in 2006 to leukemia. He brought us up to be very close, we can’t do without each other, we are like an entire body, we are so close, I have one brother and three sisters. My mum is a pastor, my dad was a Deacon before he died, I’m the fourth of five children, I love my family. How about your educational background? I went to the University of Lagos Staff School. That was for my primary education, and I went to the Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, and I’m at present in my final year in the University of Lagos studying Creative Arts, but I major in Theatre Arts. Would you say you’re already reaping the benefits of being a musical artiste? Well, I am still in the works, but I would say I definitely am reaping the benefits of how hard I work, maybe not enough but its okay. Where would you say you can see Mo Cheddah in a couple of years from now? I want to make beautiful music, that’s what I want to be known for, my album is dropping on the 20th of October 2010, and it’s called the franchise celebrity and all my hard work for the past eight years is different from what anybody has done in our country today. The sound is unique and beautiful, I just want to bring a new sound to music and make that change, I want to be the forerunner of change, to make a great and successful story. What challenges come with being a musical artiste? Well, you always have people judging you before they actually know who you are. I understand that some people are not nice, but you can’t judge me before you know me. The fact that I am on TV doesn’t mean I am a nasty person, I am not human, and I can’t accept what you can’t accept. Some people can be so mean and nasty and they just feel because you are on TV you are a victim, and they just to you anyhow and if you talk back they say all sorts against you. Meanwhile, they would not take that from somebody else and they need to understand that we are human beings like them. and then my age I don’t think it’s a challenge. I actually love it when people think I can’t do some things because I’m young, and then I wow them. So, that’s not a challenge, but when I was sixteen, seventeen years old, it used to get to me sort of but now I’m just cool with it. And again mixing school with what I do is really challenging, its hell. That’s what I can say, but it’s almost over, but I break down, I get tired, I lose a lot of weight, it’s really not easy, but all I know is that being with challenges makes you stronger and takes you higher. What drives your passion for music? Hate! When people hate me, it brings out the best in me, because you have a lot of people that say negative things, you have a lot of people that just don’t believe in you, you have a lot of people who just want to see you drown. What they don’t understand is that it makes me stronger, when I know I have the power to change, that’s why I love talking to younger people, because they look up to me and I see the enthusiasm in their eyes when they ask me questions because they know that I am not doing this for just me. That’s why I had to do a lot of learning when I was doing the album. I figured okay the franchise celebrity is not just about me, it’s about a lot of other people, so I tried my best to put that into writing. This also drives me, the fact that I can influence and change people, my dad was also a huge source of influence on my music. If you were not a musical artiste, what other career would you have chosen ? I would be an actress. I’ll definitely be acting or I would have been an artiste’s manager, I would be on TV. I was born for TV. As a fashionable young lady, what’s that fashion item you can’t leave home without? I love lip gloss. You’ll hardly find me with no lip gloss on. You know my lips are prettier when they are glossy, (smiles and winks), I can leave my house without makeup, but lip gloss? No way! And, yeah, I love sunglasses as well. Define your style? My style is who I am, but who I am varies, some days I wake up and I’m like what’s happening? I’m just so sad and blue so I wear grey, black, dull colors. If you see me dress up, that’s how I feel. If you see me on a bad day, I am probably wearing all black and don’t mess with me. Right now, I am wearing blue. I’m happy, I’m excited, I’m feeling jazzy, so what I wear depicts how I feel at that point in time. I have colour periods, like in October I could love green and you’ll get to be seeing me on a lot of green in that month, next month it can change to orange, so I love to look cute, I love my pump shoes, I love shorts, I love anything comfortable, and sometimes I love to show skin because it’s really hot. I dress for myself basically. What’s your favourite meal? (Exclaims) ah! Eba and okro soup, I can eat that meal everyday! Oh my God! What’s your favourite color? That’s why it changes, but I love orange, basically colours that are just bright and cool. How do you cope with your fans? Funny enough my fans are very cool and sweet people, and all they have is love and advice so it’s not a challenge coping with them. Could you share your craziest fan experience with us? Wow! There’s this recent one that happened that a guy used to follow me around, he would call me on the phone and he would say I can see you now, you look so beautiful, I love your shoes, he would send me crazy text messages. The guy was basically stalking me, I had to call my management’s attention to this because it was getting serious by the day. He kept on calling and he would say I love you and then when I tell him he’s scaring me, he would start screaming no! I don’t want to scare you, I love you. Then I just told him okay if you love me, you’ll do me a favour, by calling my management, I’ll give you their number. He then said okay I’ll call them, and he called them and they handled it. It was so scary for me, I always didn’t want to go out, because of the fear. There was one time he even sent me a text saying “I was on my way to see you today, and I got hit by a bike, but it’s not your fault.” Men, it was crazy. What would you like to say to your fans and young people who aspire to be like you? Well, you always have to work hard, fear God. Fear God in the sense that you have to acknowledge that there’s a God. You have to be strong, you have to be focused. Do not be distracted and most importantly, you must have the talent and passion for this to be able to do it. Be different. Some stars are born, while some are made, when you know you are not good at something, work on it and you never know you might end up being the best at it. And also don’t let little things get to you, and to my fans, I love you. Ho w do you relax when you are not working? I always love to hang with my sisters, because they are just cool. I love to be at home, because my family is my strength, so I just love to always go home and chill with them. What’s your favourite hang out spot in Lagos? My house o! I really don’t like going out because I go out so much, I’m always out, so when I am at home, I’m so happy Who’s your favourite Nigerian artiste? Wow! 2face! I’m in awe of that guy’s talent so much that if I see him performing up-close I can cry. Who is your role model? My mum! She is my role model because she never lets the difficulties of life faze her, and also my manager, Rogba. These two are my role models.Could you describe Mo Cheddah in five words? Bold, strong,daring, beautiful and unpredictable. I’m a whole lot of things How did music start for you? It definitely started as a passion because as a child I used to watch a lot of TV, mimic everything I saw, stand in front of the mirror and interview myself. I just thought I was a celebrity. I had no idea how I was going to do that but my parents knew I was a bundle of talents, and they really wanted to play on that. I started out acting because I used to re-enact everything I saw, so my friends just thought okay she is a good actress, she seems to know how to redo everything. So, I started off acting. But I had a group of family friends, they were guys, and very close to my siblings. They would come to our house with their guitars and play music.I always sang along and danced, but there was really not much I could do because they were much older than I was. So, when I was12 years old, I just felt the need to take a bold step, so my parents were like maybe they should sign me up for a competition, and then I looked at my family friends, which is Knight House now, I just thought to myself that these guys seem to know what they are doing, and I went to talk to them. I was like “please I can sing?” They didn’t take me seriously at first, but eventually they tested me and signed me up, and they started training me vocally. I started writing songs, so that’s how I started basically. Can you let us into your family background? Growing up was beautiful, and is still beautiful because I’m very close to my family, I’m from sun state, I love my mum to pieces, my dad is late, I lost him in 2006 to leukemia. He brought us up to be very close, we can’t do without each other, we are like an entire body, we are so close, I have one brother and three sisters. My mum is a pastor, my dad was a Deacon before he died, I’m the fourth of five children, I love my family. How about your educational background? I went to the University of Lagos Staff School. That was for my primary education, and I went to the Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, and I’m at present in my final year in the University of Lagos studying Creative Arts, but I major in Theatre Arts. Would you say you’re already reaping the benefits of being a musical artiste? Well, I am still in the works, but I would say I definitely am reaping the benefits of how hard I work, maybe not enough but its okay. Where would you say you can see Mo Cheddah in a couple of years from now? I want to make beautiful music, that’s what I want to be known for, my album is dropping on the 20th of October 2010, and it’s called the franchise celebrity and all my hard work for the past eight years is different from what anybody has done in our country today. The sound is unique and beautiful, I just want to bring a new sound to music and make that change, I want to be the forerunner of change, to make a great and successful story. What challenges come with being a musical artiste? Well, you always have people judging you before they actually know who you are. I understand that some people are not nice, but you can’t judge me before you know me. The fact that I am on TV doesn’t mean I am a nasty person, I am not human, and I can’t accept what you can’t accept. Some people can be so mean and nasty and they just feel because you are on TV you are a victim, and they just to you anyhow and if you talk back they say all sorts against you. Meanwhile, they would not take that from somebody else and they need to understand that we are human beings like them. and then my age I don’t think it’s a challenge. I actually love it when people think I can’t do some things because I’m young, and then I wow them. So, that’s not a challenge, but when I was sixteen, seventeen years old, it used to get to me sort of but now I’m just cool with it. And again mixing school with what I do is really challenging, its hell. That’s what I can say, but it’s almost over, but I break down, I get tired, I lose a lot of weight, it’s really not easy, but all I know is that being with challenges makes you stronger and takes you higher. What drives your passion for music? Hate! When people hate me, it brings out the best in me, because you have a lot of people that say negative things, you have a lot of people that just don’t believe in you, you have a lot of people who just want to see you drown. What they don’t understand is that it makes me stronger, when I know I have the power to change, that’s why I love talking to younger people, because they look up to me and I see the enthusiasm in their eyes when they ask me questions because they know that I am not doing this for just me. That’s why I had to do a lot of learning when I was doing the album. I figured okay the franchise celebrity is not just about me, it’s about a lot of other people, so I tried my best to put that into writing. This also drives me, the fact that I can influence and change people, my dad was also a huge source of influence on my music. If you were not a musical artiste, what other career would you have chosen ? I would be an actress. I’ll definitely be acting or I would have been an artiste’s manager, I would be on TV. I was born for TV. As a fashionable young lady, what’s that fashion item you can’t leave home without? I love lip gloss. You’ll hardly find me with no lip gloss on. You know my lips are prettier when they are glossy, (smiles and winks), I can leave my house without makeup, but lip gloss? No way! And, yeah, I love sunglasses as well. Define your style? My style is who I am, but who I am varies, some days I wake up and I’m like what’s happening? I’m just so sad and blue so I wear grey, black, dull colors. If you see me dress up, that’s how I feel. If you see me on a bad day, I am probably wearing all black and don’t mess with me. Right now, I am wearing blue. I’m happy, I’m excited, I’m feeling jazzy, so what I wear depicts how I feel at that point in time. I have colour periods, like in October I could love green and you’ll get to be seeing me on a lot of green in that month, next month it can change to orange, so I love to look cute, I love my pump shoes, I love shorts, I love anything comfortable, and sometimes I love to show skin because it’s really hot. I dress for myself basically. What’s your favourite meal? (Exclaims) ah! Eba and okro soup, I can eat that meal everyday! Oh my God! What’s your favourite color? That’s why it changes, but I love orange, basically colours that are just bright and cool. How do you cope with your fans? Funny enough my fans are very cool and sweet people, and all they have is love and advice so it’s not a challenge coping with them. Could you share your craziest fan experience with us? Wow! There’s this recent one that happened that a guy used to follow me around, he would call me on the phone and he would say I can see you now, you look so beautiful, I love your shoes, he would send me crazy text messages. The guy was basically stalking me, I had to call my management’s attention to this because it was getting serious by the day. He kept on calling and he would say I love you and then when I tell him he’s scaring me, he would start screaming no! I don’t want to scare you, I love you. Then I just told him okay if you love me, you’ll do me a favour, by calling my management, I’ll give you their number. He then said okay I’ll call them, and he called them and they handled it. It was so scary for me, I always didn’t want to go out, because of the fear. There was one time he even sent me a text saying “I was on my way to see you today, and I got hit by a bike, but it’s not your fault.” Men, it was crazy. What would you like to say to your fans and young people who aspire to be like you? Well, you always have to work hard, fear God. Fear God in the sense that you have to acknowledge that there’s a God. You have to be strong, you have to be focused. Do not be distracted and most importantly, you must have the talent and passion for this to be able to do it. Be different. Some stars are born, while some are made, when you know you are not good at something, work on it and you never know you might end up being the best at it. And also don’t let little things get to you, and to my fans, I love you. Ho w do you relax when you are not working? I always love to hang with my sisters, because they are just cool. I love to be at home, because my family is my strength, so I just love to always go home and chill with them. What’s your favourite hang out spot in Lagos? My house o! I really don’t like going out because I go out so much, I’m always out, so when I am at home, I’m so happy Who’s your favourite Nigerian artiste? Wow! 2face! I’m in awe of that guy’s talent so much that if I see him performing up-close I can cry. Who is your role model? My mum! She is my role model because she never lets the difficulties of life faze her, and also my manager, Rogba. These two are my role models.
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