Moving to Nigeria wasn’t necessarily something that I ever dreamed I would do. It took a lot of courage and major persuasion from my manager Ubi Franklin.
My name is Emma Chukwugoziam Obi. Many of you know me as Emma Nyra, the female voice on Iyanya’s hit single, ‘Your Waist’, but my story is much deeper than that. I would like to take this opportunity to tell a first hand account of my move from Houston Texas to Lagos Nigeria in order to pursue my dreams.
I always had big plans of going into entertainment full time. My parents were shocked that as a child I often stated that attending university wasn’t in my plans because music was it for me. Imagine that scenario. By the time I was of age to attend University, my parents had finally convinced me that obtaining a degree first would make more sense so that if entertainment didn’t pay off, I would always have something to fall back on.
I ended up going to Texas Southern University in Houston on a full volleyball scholarship while I obtained a degree in Health Administration, and a Minor in public affairs completed in December 2010. While in school I performed regularly at fashion shows and concerts in New York, Florida, Texas and Antigua. My first big break was in 2009 when I opened up for PSquare and Jmartins and to date I’ve headlined shows with 2face, Dbanj, Iyanya, and Fally Ipupa.
Moving to Nigeria wasn’t necessarily something that I ever dreamed I would do. It took a lot of courage and major persuasion from my manager Ubi Franklin. In 2011 I told my parents that I wanted to move to Nigeria to pursue my music career. I had already made up my mind that I was ready to leave everything I owned and everyone I knew in order to reach my target market. It wasn’t until March 2012 that I was able to leave Houston for good. When I arrived in Lagos I definitely had my work cut out for me. I met up with my friend Ubi Franklin who had introduced me to his artist Iyanya Mbuk the previous December, and spoke of the record label that they were starting. They didn’t sell me any fairy tales. I was ready to join their team, and the work began immediately.
A week after I arrived the video for Kukere was shot by Patrick Ellis and I helped with makeup and even made a brief appearance. The following week I joined Iyanya and various artists on the ‘Iyanya and Friends Tour’ which traveled to over 11 cities and universities around Nigeria. The work was constant and hectic but I enjoyed every moment of it because I was finally on the right path with the right group of people and it felt great. My first big break was when I was featured on Your Waist with Iyanya. That song really helped to push me into the public eye, especially the video. Clarence Peters did a fantastic job. I eventually released two singles, ‘Ori Mi Wu’ & ‘Everything I Do’ ft Iyanya produced by Dtune, and my very first music video ‘Ori Mi Wu’ directed by Mr. Moe Musa was released shortly after.
Now almost a year later, I am still living in Nigeria and I am very pleased with the progression of my project. I’m under Made Men Music Group alongside Iyanya Mbuk, Ubi Franklin, and Bassey Okon. I want to encourage others to follow their dreams despite what others may say to discourage you. The sky is the limit, and I strive to become a voice for the people of my generation especially the women.
Emma Nyra is an artist from Texas whose parents both hail from Delta State, Asaba. She has been garnering experience through platforms such as the “Iyanya and Friends Tour”, which traveled to over 12 major cities in Nigeria, and featured other artistes such as Flowssick, Rayce, and Mr. 2kay. Emma has also been working on brand new features and vocal work for artistes such as Iyanya’s “Ur Waist”, Iceberg Slim’s “Ayanfe”, plus new singles with General Pype, Durella and many more. For now, Emma Nyra has released 2 blazing love ballads “Ori Mi Wu” and ‘’Everything I Do” which features Iyanya.
30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.