Yemi Alade: There is a Johnny in my life (30 days, 30 voices)

by Yemi Alade


                        “My experience with Johnny was one of the lowest points in my emotional life.” 

@crystalkayero I love johnny!when you come to kenya I’ll jump on that stage n sing with you cc @yemialadee”  Hmm! See me see wahala eh! This isn’t the first time I’m getting this kind of exciting tweet from a new fan outside Nigeria. You have no idea the amount of boost such a tweet gives me! Today if it’s not Kenya, it’s Tanzania or Ghana or Malawi. The tweets are endless and ever refreshing! What about tweets from fans all over our great country Nigeria? Hmm! Some people have gone as far as tendering applications to play the “johnny” character in the new “johnny video” – just to say the least! Some people say that initially ,the name” johnny” (which is always pronounced jour-ney in nigeria) used to be a razz name but it seems that I’ve somehow made it a cool name.

“So who is Johnny, Yemi Alade?” “Is there a Johnny in your Life?” “have you found Johnny?” These are just a few questions I’ve been getting from curious fans and radio presenters; the story doesn’t end there though.

A little less than 6 weeks ago, Effyzzie music Group (the record label I am signed to) and I,went on a nation wide media tour to promote my new singles “birthday song and  happy people (my head oh)”. The first point of call from Lagos was Port Harcourt,and that was only after 10 days of non stop radio interviews in Lagos and not to forget the 100 cakes spree we embarked on .We had given our 50th cake to Hip TV and 51st to an orphanage in Ilupeju. Everyone who wanted a cake got one, especially celebrants. Other states felt the cake-invasion one after the other. People loved them and they started calling me the cake fairy.

We had visited four other cities before we made our way to Enugu, where we had two days of interviews before scheduling a night session with Selebobo, a producer resident in Enugu. I especially detest working at night when it comes to recording; I would rather sleep in peace. Surprisingly though, the outcome of the session was a banging hot new banger called “Johnny”. The weird thing about it all is that the only John I know is John the baptist from the Bible – straight face. I know a Jeremiah though – my ex. Like the song narrates, he had other girls in his life (“he wanted to marry Nne, impregnated Uche, left me for Cynthia”) but to ensure privacy for the second party,I’ll replace the name Jeremiah with Johnny…

My experience with Johnny was one of the lowest points in my emotional life. I couldn’t understand why a guy I loved so much and spent a lot of time with, had other girls in his life and was able to keep a “healthy” relationship with us all – sighs. Is he omnipotent and omnipresent? I tire o!

It wasn’t funny though. At one point, it seemed the story of me dating a Johnny that lived in Lekki, was everywhere. What further confirmed it was when Deji, a radio presenter for MTN Top Ten Countdown, asked me questions about Johnny during a recorded interview. I literally froze! How could he have known so much about my personal life? His questions were direct and well informed. He kept throwing them at me with his straight face, and his hypnotic calm questioning voice – the type a shrink would use for his patients.

Still maintaining his straight face,  he suddenly asked me “Do you know that your Johnny is getting married?” I felt my spirit leave my body and return with flames from hell fire, I started sweating. I looked outside the recording booth to see if I could signal my manager to save me from this emotional torture but the studio booth was a 100 percent sound proof. Mr Taiye Aliyu (my manager), couldn’t hear anything we were saying. Maybe because Deji is his friend , he expected him to ask the regular questions but Deji came armed! I left that office with my tail in between my legs, like a lion with no mane. He had successfully opened a wound I had used almost two years to haphazardly patch up. Well I couldn’t possibly say I had successfully healed… But now I have…

I vividly remember my last conversation with him , I told him to choose between me and his gallery of women. I definitely didn’t wait for him to choose though; that was my first step to get emotionally detached from him. Yes it hurt like hell and stung like a bee. It was the second bravest and hardest emotional decision I ever had to make in my entire life. It was even more painful because I loved him like a kid loves ice cream, but we all know that too much ice cream dey run belle. Well,that’s exactly what I got and I needed purging.

I left him for good,I left him like he was the opposite of right. What did I do to get back on my feet? I took a ridiculously brave step and cut off everybody that knew me and Johnny together .Trust me, nobody was standing on the other side, I cut out my entire world. Nothing must ever remind me of him, I said to myself. I focused on my career.

Its been 3 years since this happened . I put an “ex” on him mentally, and he will forever remain “ex’d” in my life. Even though Jeremiah brought me pain, Johnny will give me gain. Somehow, the memory of Jeremiah came to me in a song as Johnny. I only realized this after 2 weeks of  being asked everywhere I went; “Who is Johnny”?  I always strive to imprint a very large piece of me in all my songs, like I did in “Johnny” and my dear,this is where another story begins! If I ever see Jeremiah a.k.a Johnny again, what should I do to him? (You can tweet your replies @yemialadee ! I’ll be waiting)

Ho Ha!
From your Brown Barbie…Yemi Alade

The song Johnny is dedicated to anyone who has ever been broken-hearted. Get up and get over it, plenty fish dey for sea!


Yemi Alade (Yemi Eberechi Alade) was born on March 13th, 1989, in Abia State, Nigeria, to Helen Alade (nee Uzoma), a business woman, and James Alade, a retired Police Commissioner . Her mother, a native of south-eastern Nigeria and her father is of south western Nigerian descent, thus earning her the moniker, ‘that yoruba-ibo girl’. She is a graduate of the University of Lagos with a BSc in Geography.She is currently signed to effyzzie music group, and managed by rebel movement.

30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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