I am writing this from my bedroom in Nigeria! And let me tell you, my life has changed quite a lot over the past three months in ways I didn’t think possible. If somebody had told me a year ago that I’d be the first white female artist to sign with a Nigerian music label, I’d tell them they were crazy, although I’ve always dreamed of establishing myself in Africa.
I’m not sure where to start really. But as well as being a writer and want to make a living out of that, I am also a singer and if I had the chance to do both, I would do both. My writing is going pretty well these days with my freelancing and I’m even working on my first novel. But my music career was a dream I’d pretty much put on the shelf. That was until I met my current manager whose nickname is Slim-Fit.
One day, I was actually on a job In Wales; I received an e-mail from a guy in Nigeria who really wanted to get to know me more, because he had a record label and was interested in me musically. He’d found me on twitter where my good friend Oly, who had just came back in my life, and who persuaded me to give music one more try, had set up a souncloud page where I’d put out a reggae demo which I again put on twitter.
We got talking. And to make a potentially long story very short, after months of getting to know each other and building a close relationship, I decided to take the risk and go over to Nigeria. It’s a country I’ve always wanted to visit, because I am fascinated by a lot of the culture coming from there. Some of the world’s greatest intellectuals, such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka hale from there and Nigeria also has a booming music industry. I happen to rather like Nigerian music and since my areas of music would be reggae and afrobeat anyway, it was the perfect place to go. A lot of people said that a potential manager should have come to Europe to see me. And that would have been great, but circumstances were not permitting of that, plus it would just make more sense for me to come to him.
But of course, I did have a lot of doubts. 419 scams ring a bell for you? Well, I was pretty sure I wasn’t about to fall victim to one. But the worries some of my closest friends had, rubbed off on me. And with all the stuff now happening in the north of the country, I just wasn’t sure if it would be safe. And, there was the additional thing, blindness. Was I, a blind Western woman really going to be safe going to Nigeria by myself?
As you can imagine, I had a lot of questions, no real and certain answers and after I revealed my plans, heaps of worried friends and family. But I chose to go in the end, because I was convinced that this was a real opportunity after having done a little bit of detective work. And my foster parents were 100% supportive as long as I promised to text or call them every day.
And here I am. I have already recorded 4 tracks, two of which features Nigerian A-list celebrities. Slim-Fit is also a great manager. A much bigger man than I anticipated. Not really in stature, otherwise the nickname wouldn’t fit, but in standing. He is well respected and I can definitely tell that being an artist under this label is going to be a very enjoyable thing for me.
The blindness thing is not so much an issue yet, and maybe it won’t be. I have only been here a week and I’ve only interacted properly with my manager, producer, general friend and driver and the two other artists, all of whom I share a house with in Akure in the South-Western part of Nigeria, far away from Boko Haram and alike. The other people I’ve met, such as my manager’s family members, the company lawyer and bank staff have all been very nice to me and I don’t feel pitied like I have felt sometimes in foreign countries.
The work is hard, but when you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. I only notice in the evening when I’m exhausted. But it’s exhausted in a good way. There are many other perks as well. Hanging out at A-list celebrity’s houses in Lagos, getting VIP tables in the night club and just being here, recording, realizing my second dream!
I realize this is a very messy update. But I’ll be more specific in later posts about different aspects of life here. I’m gonna be here till mid-October this time, but I’ll of course be back once my work permit is cleared with immigration. And then, the whole crew will be moving to Lagos which I really can’t wait to do! So many beaches and other things to explore. Plus, it’s where it all happens!
In the meantime, I want to let my readers know, I’m as safe and happy as I could be!