The Nigerian Idol is definitely one of the most viewed programmes on television at the moment. Unlike other reality shows, the Idols drills contestants to an almost unbearable level to get the best from them. Of the about 5,000 who started the auditioning, the contestants have been pruned to seven. A tour of the Nigerian Compass was conducted by the seven during the week and we got a chance to know them better.
I am small, but mighty —Naomi Mac
Interview by Hazeez Balogun
Which state are you from?
How did you get to hear about the Nigerian Idols?
I did not just wake up one day to pick a form. Actually, I got to know about it from an aunt. She asked me to go for the Nigerian Idol. I had gone for another audition prior to that, but I did not make it. I registered for the Nigerian Idol, went for the audition, got a call back and so on. Now, luckily for me, I’m among the top 10 contestants.
Any previous music experience?
No, I haven’t had any. I’ve always wanted a platform where I will sing and people can hear me. Whenever I’m on stage, I always feel like ‘’yes, this is me”. I have always been interested and excited to be on stage.
What have you learnt in the house?
I have learnt a lot. I have gotten better and I have learnt a lot from my rehearsals. My performances on stage have improved and so have my vocals and I’m really happy about that.
When Idols started, there were over 5,000 people that auditioned and you happened to be among the finalists with just six other people left. What is your secret?
God, first thing. From the beginning, it has always been God. Many people better than me have left since the audition began. So far, God has been good to me. I see myself as the Nigerian Idol for this year. I know I am a winner.
You are really petite. Do you think people vote for you out of pity because you look tiny?
I would say that that was an issue because most people call me “small but mighty” or “dynamite” and so on. I’m actually the youngest contestant right now. I am 19 years old. I would say my size works for me. People approach me and say “Naomi, where did that voice come from? And I say ‘it is God”.
What are your parents’ opinion concerning your choice of music as a career?
I thank God for my parents and family. They have been very supportive. Music has always been a family thing. They believe in it and they support me because they don’t see anything bad in it. They have been great. Kudos to them and I am using this medium to say a very big thank you to them.
What are you going to do with the money if you win?
I would take care of my family, and work on improving my music career.
Do you have a boyfriend?
Yes, I do and so far he has been a great support.
I left school for Nigerian Idol —Glory
Interview by Olamide Oni
What is your name?
Glory Oriakhi. I am 22 years old.
How did you get into Nigerian Idols?
Now, that is a really long story but I would summarize. I have always loved music, and when I heard about Nigerian Idol, I saw it as a very positive opportunity and experience. I sought my friend’s opinion on whether I was good enough and whether it was advisable to put my education on hold while I go for it. I got mixed opinions. Some people thought it would affect my education while others were convinced it was the right way to go. I decided to go for it because it was what I wanted.
What are you studying?
I am presently studying Law in the University of Abuja. I am in my final year. I intend to go back and finish once I’m done with Idols. I have never had a problem singing in front of people. I was in my church choir so I have always been comfortable with singing to a crowd. Funny enough, I might have a problem when singing to individuals in private but I love singing in public.
How would you describe your experience in the Nigerian Idol?
It has been great and also challenging at the same time. You can’t imagine the tension before elimination nights. Everybody is being pushed to work really hard so as not to be sent home. Then, there are rehearsals. You wake up each day knowing you are not going to have a free day to yourself. It is always work, work, work. I believe I have improved a lot.
Actually, my parents have also had experiences in music so they do not see anything wrong with what I’m doing.
What are you going to do with the money if you win?
You mean when I win, because I believe I am going to. I’m definitely going to focus on music as a career, although I would finish my education first.
What if you don’t win?
I’m confident I have made the necessary foundation for my career in music. I mean, the judges own record labels and I’m sure even record labels outside the competition have noticed me so my music career would definitely take off when I’m done.
How has it been meeting people in the house and watching them get eliminated?
Well, that really hasn’t been so good. There are some people I was friendly with who are no longer here. The elimination nights are usually happy-sad moments for me. I’m usually glad I am still in the competition but very sad to see people I like go.
Actually no, but that does not mean I don’t deal with some male drama. Since entering the competition, I have had a lot of attention from guys so I guess the drama is inevitable. I am more close to guys than girls because I am a very blunt person.
I express myself through music —Alex
Interview by Bukola Bakare
During the audition, you had this challenge with your leg. How did you surmount that and come this far?
I’ll say it has been a great experience and fun all the way because when I was young, the challenge was like hell to me.
How many years did you battle with this?
About seven years, but I have been able to overcome the challenge.
How would you describe the journey so far on the show?
It’s been an interesting one because I met so many people who have added so many things to my life in so many ways. You know, I’m from Delta State and I have learnt a lot from different people.
How would you describe music?
I see music as a way for me to tell the world who I am. It is a way I can express myself to the world.
What’s your genre of music?
I love R ‘n’ B and I also love Slow Rock.
Did you find any song challenging in the house?
That would be the song, Kung Fu Fighting. I must confess that I never liked the song but I just had to perform it. It was a big challenge.
Do you have siblings who are also musically inclined?
My elder brother is in the choir. That’s about it.
How did you hear about the Nigerian Idols competition?
Prior to this time, I had been going for auditions, I would make it through and something would just happen along the line. When I heard about Nigerian Idol, at first, I didn’t want to go but I was urged to give it a try and here I am.
What are your chances of winning?
I just believe so much that I’m going to be the first Nigerian Idol. I come from the Winners Family. That’s my church and I believe that we always win there. I try to give my best shot every week. If I win, it would be a golden opportunity to tell my story to the world.
I fell into the gutter just to get auditioned —Zoe
Interview by Hazeez Balogun
Who is Zoe?
My full name is Zoe Chinaka. I am from Imo state.
How did you get to hear about the Idols?
A friend of mine called me, my former school mate from Abia State University because that is where I schooled. She called me and asked if I have ever heard of Idols. She saw the publication on Bella Naija and said I should enter. She told me to just google the site and check it out. I was in the choir when I was in school. I wanted to go in for Project Fame at first, but work did not permit me. So she called and advised me to try it. I went online, checked it out, filled the form and waited patiently for a response. Then I saw it on TV that we should come. That was sometime around October/November. I went for the first audition. It was raining and I fell into the gutter (laughs). I picked myself up. I was a little bruised and in tears. I was very embarrassed. I finally got in, was auditioned and I passed.
I went for the Lagos auditions. I work in Lagos actually. I am originally from Warri.
How has the experience been like in the house?
It’s been lovely. I have had the opportunity to meet stars, learn from them and also from the other housemates. It is a beautiful thing that we all have one dream though we will all live it in different ways. We have been able to live together peacefully and not kill ourselves over the 7.5 million Naira which is the price and that is why I feel this is a very special place to be because we have all bonded like a family. I feel we were all destined to go through this path so it gives me a very special feeling to be part of them.
What would happen if you don’t win the money?
If I don’t, (well, God forbid) I will take time out to chill. It’s only natural; you would feel down. I would lay low for a while but I would definitely wake up after maybe like two weeks and I would hope that someone (a producer) out there would have spotted me. I am in this for the music career, not just for the money. The money is just to give me a platform for my music career. It serves as a means to have that done.
My voice is my unique selling point – Emmanuel d Great
Interview by Bukola Bakare
Where did the inspiration to sing come from?
Basically, it came from God because I had been singing in the choir back home. I am from Imo State and my full name is Patrick Itoha Emmanuel aka Emmanuel the great.
How has the experience been like on Nigerian Idol?
I must say that it’s been a tremendous experience and the exposure is fantastic. I get to meet people and we relate well as colleagues and go to places.
What were you doing before now, are you a student?
I’m involved in quite a number of things, I am into fashion and my label is in the works. Then,I do a bit of acting too.
How challenging has it been in the Nigerian Idol house?
It has been quite challenging in the sense that we have amazing singers in the house and the competition is at an intense stage now. We are seven now and we’ll be pruned down to five.
Do you think you have an edge over other contestants?
First of all, God makes me stand out and the second thing’s that I have a unique voice which is my selling point and by God’s Grace. I hope it stands me out from the pack.
Which song has been most difficult for you to perform?
I think it was the last one I did – Michael Jackson’s The Girl is mine because I was under the weather. But for some reasons, the judges didn’t hear the strain in my voice and it was a huge challenge. Regardless of that, it’s been an awesome experience. When I scale through, we’ll be doing African songs next.
How will you rate the judges of the show?
Well, until recently, I didn’t know that the judges were in the music industry. I knew Yinka Davies but it was at the unveiling performance that I was spell bound regarding her performance. I didn’t even know Jeffrey Daniels belonged to a group called Shalamar. I knew all these recently.
What about Audu Maikori?
The same goes for him because he has a fantastic flair for music.
What is the first thing you will do if you win the competition?
First of all, I’ll pay my tithes and there are some charitable organistions that I want to work with. I’m going to do quite a number of things which include investments. You know the prize is a whooping 7.5million naira and recently, a car was added to it. If you ask me, that’s really mouth watering.
Biodun Bello eyes grand prize
BEAUTIFUL Biodun Bello (aka Bibi) who is touted as favourite in the on-going Nigerian Idol said she is eying the grand prize in the talent hunt reality TV show.
“By the grace of God, I hope to clinch the grand prize in the competition. I have bag full of surprises which I will bring on to the show. I intend to deliver a total package. Entertainment business is not just about one having a good voice. It has to do with the look, dance steps. You need to have something that is presentable for the world to see. I intend to deliver that for Nigerians and the world to see.”
Bibi who put up a stunning performance when she sang, I am Telling You by Jennifer Huston, the number earned her the highest votes, disclosed that she has been singing since she was a child. “I started singing as a child in church, Calvary Life Assembly in Kano, that was where I grew up. I have nursed the dream of taking music seriously ever since I identified that I had a good voice. I have always dreamt of been at the top of my game and Nigerian Idol come to actualised that dream. I think my mission of being a successful musician has really come to pass.”
The 400 level Law student of Igbinedion University, Okada said Nigerian Idol has taught her a lot. “The experience in the house has been tough and rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that I have learnt a lot of things. I have learnt from the contestants, from the judges even the crew members. I have learnt to be confident on stage, to entertain people within a space of time. All this I was not able to do before I went into the house. It has been very rewarding,” Bibi said, adding that law is a gift likewise music. “God has given me the gift of singing as well as Law. I have natural interest for Law. I like to read between the lines. I like to work with people’s mind, that was why I had to go for Law. I believe that God has given me the gift and I pray He gives me the wisdom to manage the two professions.”
Born into a clergy family, Bibi revealed that her parents supported her when she was going for the show. Her words: “My parents were one hundred percent supportive when I was going into Nigerian Idol. I think it is because I grew up in a musical background. All my siblings sing. We all sing in the family. They are happy that I am taking music further.”
Speaking on her experience during the auditions, Bibi hinted that it was the toughest she has seen in her entire life. “I got to the venue at about 6 am in Lagos. The queue was massive. There were thousands of people who were called for audition. They kept us standing for about five hours. Unluckily for us, it started to rain. Nobody wanted to leave the queue. I stood under the rain for about 30 minutes. We were hoping that they will call us inside, instead one of the crew members came out and said “please, you can go home now. Come tomorrow, we already had enough people for today”. Some were very angry and they left. I stayed back, and about two hours later, they came out and saw me and some other people still standing outside. I guessed they were touched by the fact that we waited under the rain. “They gave us numbers and the next day, they announced that those that they gave numbers the day before should come inside. That was how I got inside and here I am today.”
It’s a great opportunity —Onyekachi Onka
Onyekachi Onka, 26, sees her opportunity in the Nigerian Idol as a great opportunity for her to make name in the music industry.
Yeka Onka, as she is fondly called by her peers, said that with God on her side, she can win the competition because she sacrificed her studies at the University of Calabar where she is currently studying History and International Relations.
The Queen of Abia said: “I hope to win and that is all I have come here to do”.
She affirmed that Nigerian idol competition is offering her a big platform to show herself to the world as a musician because she believes that millions of Nigerians are watching the competition and would be noticing what she can offer them after the show.
“I am sure as people are watching the show, that after Nigerian Idol, it will not be strange when Nigerians hear the name ‘Yeka Onka’ in the music industry”.
The upcoming star also said that if she has opportunity to act in a movie after the show, she will not hesitate to grab the opportunity.
Though, Onyekachi Onka believes that the course she has gone to study in school has nothing to do with her new career, but she says that music has always been part of her life.
Yeka is involved in modeling, singing with a raggah gospel artiste and Sunday School drama when she was just growing up.
The singer shows her appreciation to the crew and most especially, her vocal coach who she said has encouraged her a lot.
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