by Stanley Azuakola
Since 2008 when she broke onto the scene, soul singer, Waje, has been one of the top female entertainers in Nigeria. Recently, she’s been on a media blitz, promoting her two new singles, Oko Mi and I wish.
At every stop – including her conversation below with the Punch – she has emphasised her image as a strong, confident, talented singer in the industry.
On her staying power in the industry, she said: “I was brought up to be strong. There were times I felt as if I couldn’t make it. It is that strength that pushed me the extra mile. In fact, whatever I am afraid of, I put behind me and push. I have also learnt to sing out my experiences and that of others. That is how my songs like So Inspired were born.”
Very vocal about her status as a single mother in a conservative country as ours, Waje said: “There is nothing to hide. I am a proud mother. I have a strong support system that helps me in my role as a mother. I don’t look at them as limitations, they are challenges that can be overcome. Genevieve Nnaji, is a strong woman who has built a solid reputation for herself globally. She is also a single mother, I respect that a lot.”
She however isn’t comfortable speaking about her love life, but did quip that she’s a romantic. “I am romantic o! You will know from my songs. I believe in ‘happily ever after’, in true love and all that goodness!”
The singer dismissed talks that she is under pressure to look and dress a certain way to remain relevant in the industry. According to her: “I used to be relaxed and a little biased about my appearance. As I have grown as a musician so much has changed. I have come to the full realisation that I am a brand with moral, social and commercial value. I have to live up to that, there are a lot of young girls today that need to see that hard work and confidence will get you where you want. I have to embody that. I have to be able to stand at par with contemporaries across the world. I would love to stand beside a Beyonce with confidence.”
She expressed joy at the way her music was being received. “Even, I have been surprised by the response to my music. It has been like a movement,’’ she quips.
(Video: Waje’s soulful performance at Ndani)
Fresh from the performing at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in the US, Waje admits being humbled by the level of appreciation of her music across the shores of Nigeria. “When I did So Inspired, a woman called me crying whilst saying that the song told her story. In New York recently, I performed I wish and all the ladies were singing along. The support of women has brought me this far and I’m grateful for it,” she recalls.
Her debut album is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2013. She says she is not in a hurry. “This is deliberate, it is because I want the material I present to be perfect. There are also other surprises, my lips are sealed for now but people should expect so much!”