Next To Blow

NEXT 2 BLOW: I Sing Gospel Of Good Lyrics - Simi

Friday, September 07, 2012Omobaswagz H

Written by Babajide Awoyinfa

If you have followed her career trajectory with keen attention, there is no doubt that Simisola Ogunleye is on the verge of becoming the next big star to take over the Nigerian Urban Gospel music scene. Fans can’t wait for Simi to arrive.

Her 2008 debut album, Oga Ju (which spawned such monster hits as Ara Ile and Iya Temi) is still being showered with positive reviews and still enjoying regular airplay. Now she has set in motion works on her sophomore album. While shooting videos for the hit “I Do”, she recently released two widely-anticipated singles “Take A Chance” produced by Samklef and “Emi L’onijo, produced by Kollo.

In this encounter the singing damsel who, though started early as a teen chorister at Daystar Christian Centre Lagos, but had to incubate till she finished her bachelor degree in Mass Media Communications at Convent University before talking on music as a full-time preoccupation, explains where she’s heading with her brand of music and why lyrical content is her magic wand to wholesome music.

What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
It was what I wanted; singing makes me happy and I wanted that happiness to keep going. I discovered the magic of music under the watchful eyes of my family and mentors. My family is not musically inclined; but my heart clings to music. So I followed my heart. I later discovered the magic that “music is for all” – regardless of religion or culture as I grew older in life. My family supports me and my chosen career and it makes life easier to have to think that I am on the right part, especially with my parents supporting me.

Tell us about yourself?
My full name is Simisola Bolatito Ogunleye.  I am the last child of four kids – the only girl actually. I have been singing since I was about eight years old. But I started learning how to really sing when I turned 16.  I graduated from Covenant University with a Mass Communication degree. I’m a born-again Christian. I’m a happy, simple lover of music.

How did you come about your stage name? 
My stage name, Simi, is a short form of my real name. Everyone calls me Simi. So, I decided to stick to.

How would you describe your music?
I do deep, meaningful music. I’m more into soul than anything else, but I like to dabble into everything once in a while.

Looking back at your early childhood, what was your first experience with music?
I can’t honestly say I remember my first experience with music. But I loved singing since I was really little. As a child I remember this song all the kids in the church did, I was about eight then. I took a solo part. I can still remember it now. “God has a plan for my life…” it was a moment I can never forget, my first song ministration.

As a child growing up, what type of music did you hear the most back then? 
I wasn’t a big listener of music as a kid. I had music in my head mostly. I just went after what was in my head. Growing up, my parents listened to a lot of highlife and juju music. I heard hip hop songs mostly at parties. I listened to anything that sounded nice then and even up till now.

What was the first song that you ever sang? 
The song was “God has a plan for my life…” the one I mentioned earlier. I felt good. It was exciting for me, and for the mere fact that my Sunday school teacher liked my voice and was proud of me. It was just a cute experience really.

What are your songs about? 
God, love, life, pain, fear, Joy: realities of life. Everything. I just want to make music that people will listen and smile because it makes them feel good.

How long have you been singing now?
About eight years now.

What has been your “biggest break” so far in your musical career?
My biggest break was “Ara Ile”, produced by Samklef. That song opened doors for me and I totally thank God for that.

If you had to categorize your music, what genres would it best fit? 
Soul, Pop, R&B – I would love to say Alternative Rock, but not just yet, but I am striving hard towards that direction.

What impact did Covenant University had on your musical career?
When I just started singing then, I use to have a stage fright but as I continue to sing at the chapel in Covenant University, I started getting bolder. Also, the real music performances I ever had started in Covenant University. It was hard for me at first because my friends on campus made jest of me and my music, but I later discovered that it was making me stronger and better and I worked hard at it and I became a hot cake on campus

What other organizations or institutions impacted your music?
My Church,  Daystar Christian Center. If I keep mentioning names, I’ll likely leave some people out and indeed many people have helped me.

You’ve heard of the term “starving artists.” What are your fears about your chosen profession?
If you love singing, you’d work harder. There’s no career without its ups and downs. This is my path and I will go on with it believing the best will happen by God’s grace. But I take things one day at a time. Getting to the peak takes a lot of hard work, a lot of money, a lot of favor - you can’t depend on talent alone. I have been learning day in and day out, so I can avoid the pitfall. 

What do you think is deficient in contemporary Nigerian music?
Quality content; we lack good lyrics in Nigerian songs nowadays.

How do you write your songs?
I write my songs by myself. I love writing songs since I was young and I get more inspiration as I grow older. Most times, I get a melody in my head and then I decide what I want the song to be about and then slowly, I compose my verses.

What song do you love to perform the most?
All my soul songs.

What are your plans? 
I just released a couple of songs online. I will be working on the promo. Also, I’m going to be taking my music outside the country, doing a couple of shows and trying to break into the foreign scene. I will release a few more singles as time goes on and slowly work towards my album.

Which artistes, dead or alive, would you love to perform with?
Jason Mraz - his music is really amazing and deep I think we would connect; Asa – I have been a fan of Asa for as long as I can remember and Michael Buble – his music is so timeless.

What is your philosophy?
Love and Live.

What makes you think that you are next to blow?
I have content. I have quality. And even best of all, I have God. You can never go wrong on that path.

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