HOW did your journey into the industry begin?
Like most artistes, I started from the church choir. I attended late Bishop Idahosa’s Church and I was the youngest in the choir then. Later, I joined the praise team. People kept telling me I had a unique voice. I believe that this has helped me till now. This was eventually boosted when I met P-Square at a show in University of Nigeria, Nsuka. I was one of the performing artistes. They listened to my song and encouraged me. A few weeks later, I went home and saw the video of their song “Omoge Mi”. I did a remake which I called “Bobo Mi”. I sent it to P-Square and they loved it and put it on their “Busy Body” remix album. They invited me to feature in the “Do Me” track of their Game Over album. I was on J Martins’ albums, I’ve worked with Banky W, Omawumi and Kel’s.
You must have made a lot of money from these duets
I am not thinking about the monetary gains but rather on how to influence my world positively. Every career is like a baby born, you need to nurture the baby until he/she grows up to be sent on errands otherwise you kill the baby. I am still working hard to make my name prominent in the industry. I still need to make several financial commitments that would help me move my albums and career forward.
If money does not motivate you, how do you intend to push your career through?
At my age, do you expect me not to work? I am a director in a private school in Lagos. Besides, I invest and re-invest on my music career. So I have money to do all I want to do with my career
But you have a big man somewhere you lean on.
Why would you say that? Is it a must that girls should depend on men? I can never depend on any man. What men know how to do best is to disappoint and fuck you up, why should I depend solely on a man? I believe in God, He has never let me down.
Why did you now sing secular music instead of gospel?
My own definition of gospel is a message of peace and hope. A message of the love of God. God knows that I have not disappointed Him. Consider our programme for the motherless babies. Are we not preaching hope, are we not telling them God loves them? Is that not a gospel? It is not until one tags herself a gospel singer before one fulfils God’s purpose in life. Irrespective of people’s perception of me, I am on course. I'm not a gospel singer for personal reasons and won't sing to glorify the devil for any reason.
But most of you sing only to entertain, not to teach morals?
How morally upright you are will reflect in your songs. If you are a loose fellow, it will also reflect in you songs. I am what I sing and what I sing is me. For Waje, I respect morality and I will defend modesty and decency anywhere.
What is your take on nudity?
Nudity is alien to our culture. I’m an African, a child of God, so I detest nudity the way God would.
Some entertainers only profess hatred for nudity but embrace it in your videos. What do you say to this?
I can’t speak for others, but for me, I cannot be part of any project that is sexually explicit. If you see my video, you would know my style and my stand. To be candid, entertainers do most things to satisfy their audience and if no boundary is drawn, one may end up derailing. I am of the opinion that a woman’s body is sacred and must be honoured. I like to represent girls. In a certain way, I'm a feminist. Let's face it, in everything that happens in this world there is a woman behind it, good or bad, but you have to find a way to channel the good part of it as a woman.
Does your grey hair not distort your age?
I am not the one who put it there. I grew up as a teenager to see grey hairs on my head. It was somehow embarrassing because I thought my friends would laugh at me, but I later discovered it’s a special mark. It connects me to the only female singer who has the same in Nigeria, Onyeka Owenu. Though I have not worked with her, but I am connected to her. I look up to her as a role model. So, my grey hair is my secret.
Is there any name that must not be missed out if you are to write your autobiography in a sentence?
Yes. Late Archbishop Benson Idahosa. He was the one who sponsored my secondary education because he was impressed by my performance during a church service in his church. That day, the person who was supposed to lead the praise songs was not around and I decided to hold forth for her. I was singing when Bishop Idahosa walked into the auditorium and that was how my journey began. He put me in the praise team and adopted me as his child. He took care of all my expenses throughout my secondary school days.
How relevant is your education to your music career?
Like many Nigerian students, Mr. JAMB really posed a serious threat to my dreams and aspirations. Instead of studying music, I ended up studying Social Work at UNN. I would love to work in any humanitarian agency or in an NGO.
How was the house experience at Zain/MTV Africa’s Advance Warning competition?
It was full of fun and challenges. More than 20 artistes were invited. I was afraid when I meet the likes of Kel, Terry G, MI and Pype at the competition. I thought I didn’t stand a chance among these heavyweights because I was relatively new compared to most of them. That Durella beat me in the finals made me feel very bad. In fact, I cried like a baby because I had planned what to do with the prize money.
With your physical endowments, how are you coping with advances from male admirers?
I know I am endowed with feminine assets, but then I am single and not searching. Frankly speaking, I haven’t seen my type of man in those who are coming. My ideal man must be very confident, principled, responsible and God fearing. But I have been polite to those that have been showing face. I believe in due time my own man will come.
Who is Waje?
Aituaje Ebele Iruobe are my names and was born about three decades ago in Sabongida Ora in Edo State. My dad is from Edo, while the mum hails from Onitsha, Anambra State. I grew up in Benin and attended Word of Faith Group of schools. Waje means laughter in Sabongida Ora. But right now Waje means Words Aren’t Just Enough. I need to sing.