In an interview held in a two-room, well-conditioned office with Afro-pop and Afro-soul singer, Simisola Ogunleye born in Ondo State, she described herself as simple, honest, creative, happy and a hustler.
When asked about what growing up felt like, she tried to paint a vivid picture of her childhood days by stating that she was a tomboy, spoilt, lived a comfortable life and grew up in a broken marriage. Simisola Ogunleye, famously known as ‘Simi’ made mention of the fact that she has never been to her hometown but the Nigerian culture influences the genre of music that she is into, as most of the lyrics of her songs are in pidgin and the application of certain vocal infection to give her listeners a ‘homely feeling’ when her songs are being played.
The Afro-pop and Afro-soul singer had nothing but beautiful to say about the Nigerian culture, which she identified to be one of the richest cultures with over 300 different dialects, different ethnic groups with different behavioral patterns. Despite the fact that the singer is not very much familiar with the culture of her hometown, she had good things to say about how the experiences which gives birth to her music are entangled with the culture she has grown accustomed to; quoting her words “it might not be like an official cultural pattern but things that are unique to the country or its environment are part of the experiences that give birth to my songs such as Jamb Question”.
The singer had quite a lot of interesting things to say about the participation of the Nigerian music industry in promoting the Nigerian culture, putting it in her own words “You cannot sell fish to the ocean”. By giving realistic examples of artistes like Wizkid and Asa, who are significant exports to the foreign market, she stated that Nigerian music industry helps in promoting the culture by selling its own brand, sound and attracting foreign interests or artistes as well as producers in being part of the culture’s unique qualities through Nigerian music make-up and sound. The Nigerian music industry and artistes or singers portray the Nigerian culture through their music, contents and fashion style.
Simisola is a fan of both the African prints and foreign outfits but as a performer, she would rather stick to the African prints. She considers herself a big advocate of the Nigerian culture; no matter the situations in the country, she would rather stand for her own. The singer considers the movement Made in Nigeria a great one, only if Nigerian sticks to selling quality and value, not just products alone.
The story behind one of her latest songs titled “Love don’t care” was that of cultural differences, which is very common in the country due to the diverse numbers of cultures. Also, that there are a lot of relationship issues people tackle these days as a result of cultural differences among several other barriers but love cannot be conquered by any of these because it does not care.
On a key note, Simisola Ogunleye, a crooner and a beauty of the Nigerian music industry is of the strong opinion that culture definitely has its impact on all the songs she has written and still writes.
Photo Credit: X3M management.
Bibiana Ossai © 2016.