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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Music made me, media is my love

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Mandy Ojugbana

Says Mandy Ojugbana, the Taxi Driver crooner
By SOLA BALOGUN
After spending a fortune abroad as a Nigerian songbird, Mandy Ojugbana of the Taxi Driver fame bounced back to reckoning a few years ago. She left her UK-base in 2007 and moved to Nigeria with members of her family. She had been a popular Nigerian star in the 1980s and early 1990s having recorded two albums with a hit track entitled Taxi Driver, which made her a household name in the country.
But outside the shores of music, Lagosians have since last year been waking up at 6am in the morning to listen to Mandy Ojugbana, the pop singer who is now a presenter of The Breakfast Show on Smooth 98.1 FM.
The four-hour show which runs Monday through Friday from 6am-10am is said to be an almagam of serious political and social news reviews alongside irreverent celebrity gossips and sport highlights. The programmes include Locker Room Sport Show- a-half hour review of all the lastest sports news from around the world, Freshly Pressed Show a daily review of local and global news headline guests reviewers and Grapevine Show a music and entertainment celebrity gossips show programme have taken her listeners by storm judging by the quality of feedback she receives via her highly popular Facebook page.
Recently, Mandy spoke to Daily Sun on her career which spans music, broadcasting and writing. She explained her preference for the media, noting that while media remains her first love, music was what exposed her and gave her money.

How I combine Music with the Media

I think media has many branches and I have been able to slide into these various branches based on previous experience. I attended a Broadcasting School which enabled me to slide into Journalism and Broadcasting which come to me as a natural gift, so it’s been quite easy for me.
I was signed up by a recording company (Auto Record) when I was just 15 years old, which was based Ogba in Lagos. They signed me on from the church I was attending at that time, and the owner of the Records Company saw my photograph on newspaper which reported the ceremony and he decided to buy the contract from the recording company and he brought me into secular music. That was how I deviated from gospel music to secular music and thereafter I released my first album; Breakthrough with the Taxi Driver hit track.

Albums

I released two albums, the first one was Breakthrough and the second one was Oh! My Love. After releasing two albums; I decided to travel abroad and further my education and develop myself as a person, you know I’m half British and half Nigeria.

Exposure as a singer

It was very exciting because I was able to tour all parts of Africa and even beyond. It was wonderful to go to the UK and be interviewed on the BBC. For me that was amazing, and I was also able to perform for the then President of Liberia.
I also did a lot of university tours in Nigeria; it was very exciting especially when I had the opportunity of mingling with those ahead of me. The late ’80s was very exciting for me and my musical career. I used to make a lot of money in those days as a musician. I also want to use that to encourage all artistes in Nigeria that this is their time.
They too should make their money and impact postively on the society. They should try to be good at what they do so that they can make a living out of the trade.
I commend Face2 Records and Soji Benson who put in all the efforts and believed in me and pasted my face all around Lagos and marketed the record to an amazing level. I must confess it was fantastic and exciting.

Traveling abroad

For me it was the end of the period of growth, everybody knew me in Nigeria, I was famous and I decided to go to the U.K where nobody knew me and quietly develop myself and do something that I needed to do for my personal growth. I remember vividly that in the 90s, there was a lull in the entertainment business, there was hardship and dryness then and I just felt it was time to go to the next level and develop myself.

Impact of traveling

My trip abroad had an amazing impact on my life. I was able to further my education, and there are things I could do now which I couldn’t do while in Nigeria. At least I’ve learnt how to be a broadcaster. I can present programmes on TV and the Radio now, and I’m also into journalism. In fact, I do everything now and I did perform at Felabration with Ade Bantu and Fatai Rolling Dollar, so I can put on many hats but media for me was my first love

Media in Nigeria

It’s all about having impact, I think we in the media are completely underpaid, though we shouldn’t have to rely on brown envelop (laughter) but the fact is that we effect change and make a lot impact just like the musicians do.
Such is the power of word, the power of written word and the power of spoken word, because when you reach out, you could be able to grab the whole Nigeria by what you put down on papers and by what you’ve said and I discovered that the impact is powerful and deeply effecting change. I love to effect a change in people’s lives, especially in this era of change, there could be no other interesting time than now to be in broadcasting, and we are the ones who effect change and make a difference in people’s lives.

Love of Literature

My mother told me to read at the age of four and she also used to read to me every night. She was fond of giving me books that were beyond my understanding nevertheless I was soaking everything in. And now that I have my own family, my husband usually reads and also my children have books piled up everywhere in the house.
For me, I can take out five books and read within a week if I choose to. I love reading a lot. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing great people like Noble Laureate Wole Soyinka and Sefi Attah. Sitting with Wole Soyinka for two hours was a great privilege for me and at the end of the chat he (Soyinka) said, ‘Girl, you did your home work very well, you kept me here for two hours’ and I laughed.

Entertainment today

What I observed now is that all fingers are not equal. There are a handful of musicians making waves but only a few are making impact, more shows and concerts need to be developed, I know that President Goodluck Jonathan gave us money for Nollywood we hope he could show such kind gesture to PMAN and musicians across the country.
To my greatest dismay, a few weeks back while I was in the UK, I was in Oxford Street and I saw about three shops where Nigerian music was being played. Though Nigerian music has a lot of impact but piracy doesn’t allow the artiste to make good money, I think the best thing to do is to have many live shows and a lot of paid-for events where the public could have enough space on a weekly basis where people can get together and watch these musicians perform.

Support from the corporate world

Corporate investors do play a large part in the entertainment industry but only a few musicians benefit from them.

Relationship with music

It has been good, as it should be because my first love is media, but if God still wants me to sing, I’ll sing; so it’s not something I am going to chase after.

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