We had agreed that she will visit our office for the interview. And so, on the agreed date, when the torrential rain began it seemed like she won’t make it.
“It is well ooo. Still on the road,” she said via WhatsApp. There was flood everywhere – a yearly phenomenon in Lagos. We had some other events to attend but we had to wait for her. She eventually arrived smiling and looking tired, of course.
Ibiso Edwards, is a multi-talented award-winning gospel artist from Rivers, who rejects the assertion, “jack of all trade, master of none” and will rather let all her God-given gifts shine.
In this interview she talks about her talents:
Tell us about the moment you decided you would be doing music?
Music for me was more of a passion. I found out that I could sing. I went into it, when I was in my teenage years. After a while, I wanted to sing in front of people. The reception was wonderful.
Which came first? Music or Fine Art?
Fine Art. I was in Primary School. I noticed I had this passion. I was picking things and snapping them in my head.
Apart from Ani’pakabara, what other song from you has caught fans’ attention?
I did more songs after Ani’pakabara. In fact, I did a collection of songs. One of them is Imi Ete.
Are there challenges to churn out more songs than you currently have?
Yes. Getting to the audience. Getting the right people to push the songs are the challenges I have.
What is the reception like for your art?
It was more like a surprise. People knew me for music and fashion. I didn’t see it as something I could make money from. Besides, I wasn’t really wanting to expose it to the world. The reception was wow. These days, they do not want to know if I sing.
How did your family take it when you said it was art you wanted to do?
That was one of the discouragements. I was doing music art and still life drawings and I paste them in the house and my dad will come home and ask ‘what is this?’
He didn’t really fight it but he didn’t encourage it.
How did you come about the revelation that art is a talent at a young age?
I was drawn to it. I can’t sleep without drawing something. When I look at a box, I see something you don’t see.
So far, what has been your best and worst moments?
Do I have worst moments? Well, when I started, envy started setting in. People began to ask, “are you the only one“? Even till date, it’s been a testimony.
I have a lot of betrayals and backstabbings. I was left alone. I had to learn the hard way. Not to trust people and so on.
In all, I have been very happy. I see the results of my work and the feedback excites me.
What do you think is the biggest misconception of gospel music?
Gospel is good news. Using melodies to tell the world about God and who Christ is and all of that. And so, people think that when you don’t put God in your song, you are not representing Him.
I could come up with a song like ‘Don’t give up. If you stand strong you are going to win‘. That’s a strong message. That does not make the song less important.
When I want to transport a message to the next person, I could use relevant words that could be a motivation and it’s doing the same thing. That’s good news and the person is blessed!
How have you managed to stay consistently true to yourself and your artistry while also not being afraid to sort of push the envelope, musically?
Well, I will say… I am a Christian. God has been a great help to me. I will advise that everyone stays true to serving God. Staying strong is knowing the truth that this is what he has done for me.
I have principles and I work with those principles and I live daily like that.
Do you think it is more challenging to be taken seriously as a woman?
Yes. Music is money. You use money to make money. And so, when that foundation is absent, there is a problem.
As a woman, sorry to say, it is really challenging. You may have to fight rigorously at different points. That is one of the reasons other ladies run away from the industry.
How will you describe your journey so far?
Fierce! I must win. It is a win-win thing. No giving up. I must win. There are hurdles but I won’t bypass any of them.
What’s next for you?
I am changing my sound. This will amaze a lot of people but the genre of music that made me fall in love with music was reggae.
But at that time in 2008 when I wanted to go professional, they all thought reggae was not in vogue and so I had to do something else.
I cannot stay away from reggae. I am infusing what people know and what they don’t know.
Advice to young ladies?
Self realisation. Ask yourself, “who are you”? The moment you have the answers, every other thing falls in place.
Then we moved to ask her ‘off camera’ questions:
If you had all the money in the world, how will you plan your vacation?
Aha! Recently I was scouring through some vacation sites, and I saw one in Turkey. I saw amazing things. It was really beautiful. I will just sit there, enjoy the landscape, draw.
I will also love to create something. I don’t want to say it. It’s in my head. It’s something that will benefit not just me, it will run through generations. I want to be a blessing to young budding artists. I want to be able to create a platform for them.
If a movie were to be created out of your life story, who would play who and why?
I will play me, I will do it better than anyone else.
Mercy Johnson can. Adesua Etomi can because she sings. The person must have all of those things because it’s difficult.
How would describe the colour ‘red’ to a blind man?
If he has tasted a cold wine before, I will tell him to imagine the experience because that feeling is intense red.