By Tosin Ajirire and Tony Ogaga
Olo Omidan Bata (Abisola Ayoola) is an indigene of Ogbomosho, Oyo State.She prides herself as the first female Bata drummer in Nigeria. She started singing at Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Genesis Parish where she honed her skills.
Born and bred in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria, she has performed at big events in Africa and Europe and rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty.
In this chat with Entertainer, she opens up on her career, ideal man and what bata drums mean to her.
When did you start playing ata drum?
That was three years ago when I joined Atunda Entertainment. Initially I was only singing because I started from church as a chorister, so I joined Atunda Entertainment as a back up singer. I guess they saw the talent in me and my boss called me aside and said, ‘Olo, I want you to start playing Bata drums.’ I was amazed and felt nervous, but I know fate has brought me and Bata together because it originated from Oyo State.
Does it run in your family?
In Oyo State where I come from, every family has a Bata history. It originted from Ayan (drumner), but my dad told me that my grandfather used to play Gangan drum.
How did you discover Atunda Entertainmnet or did Atunda discover you?
Actually, I will say Atunda discovered me, because I came in as a backup singer. I was invited by one of my big brothers in church to La Campaigne Tropicana, Lekki, Lagos, and when I got there, I was so amazed. I was blown out of my mind! I was in love with the way they valued and treasured our culture and I made up my mind to join the group.
What were you doing before you joined Atunda Entertainment?
Nothing really. When I finished secondary school, I did some petty jobs but at the same time, I was attending music school because of my love for music.
Your stage performance is mind blowing! When are you going to release your album?
We just shot the video for one of my songs, Agbamurere; it will be released very soon.
You perform with so much energy and passion, are you on drugs?
No! I don’t do drugs at all. I would say my being energetic is just a blessing from God. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke.
What was your experience the first time you stepped on stage. Was there any stage fright?
No, no. I have been used to facing crowds from way back. I started singing in church where I honed my singing skills, so there is no stage fright at all these days.
Now that you are into showbiz, will your boyfriend not feel some guys would snatch you away from him?
I am so sorry, I wouldn’t like to discuss my private life here.
You are a pretty lady, are you sure he doesn’t feel jealous watching you on stage?
He perfectly understands my kind of business because he’s in the industry as well.
Really? He’s into showbiz?
Yes, but I don’t want to discuss him here, please.
How do you handle male admirers?
I handle them as normal human beings. I am that kind of person who hardly socialises. If you see me on a normal day, you might not really know I am the one, but when I come on stage, I am something else; I don’t really mingle.
Who do you look up to in the music industry.
Wow! There are a couple of them, but in the forefront are Asa and Ara.
We understand you are still seeking admission into the university, hope your education won’t affect your musical career?
No, actually I would like to further more on music. I want to be a professional musician. My going to school is to learn more about drums and music. My dream is to go to school and study music. I live for music; I’m very passionate about it.
What is your parents’ reaction about your nusic career?
They are always wowed! The first day my sister came to watch my performance, she burst into tears. They are my number one fans and are really proud of me.
What do you stand for musically?
I stand for Omele Bata. I guess for now, I am the only female playing Omele, so I want to focus on it for now. I can’t say if I would do more in the future. But for now, I’m focused on Omele.
There was a lady who used to be in your group but who later left, complaining that she was caged and wasn’t allowed to do whatever she wanted. Are you also caged?
I am not caged. I wasn’t in the group when she was with them, so I can’t really say what transpired. I can only talk about myself, and for all I can say, I’m very free.
She also said she didn’t have her private life. Is it the same with you.
Everybody has their own different stories, For me, I’m not caged or in prison. All I am doing is to better myself, and I know to get to the top, we all have to go through different challenges. That is the way I see it.
What if you marry today and your husband asks you to stop what you are doing?
Ha! No! I will marry someone who would love me for who I am, someone who will be proud of me and support me 100 per cent.
Who is your ideal man?
My ideal man is somebody who would love me for who I am and not my stardom. I am looking for that man that would love what I do and encourage me. And he must be God fearing.