By Bolatito Adebayo
It is obvious Simisola Ogunleye is destined for fame.
The lady fondly called Simi kicked off her musical odyssey by writing her first tune at 10. Years later, she became the sweet voice behind hit songs like Jamb Question, Tiff, and her latest, Love Don’t Care.
Despite the fact that her kind of music is different and unique, it enjoys a wide acceptance in the country. With this, Simi is on a bit of a high right now. In this interview, she talks about her journey into music, relationship with Falz and Adekunle Gold among other issues.
What is the idea behind the video of Soldier?
First and foremost, Soldier is Falz’ song, I just featured in it. I think because of the story of the song, he got together with Clarence (Peters) who shot the video and they decided to make it into a short movie. I guess they felt it would bring in more emotions than just a normal music video. They told me about it and I just featured in it, and I thought it was interesting.
Are you thinking of going into movies soon?
I don’t know really but if I must, it won’t be full time.
You wrote the song?
Yes I did. I remember when I did that song I told Falz it wouldn’t come out till my second album. But later, when Falz wanted to do his album, he buzzed me that we should do a song together. I told him that we should do Afrobeats and he said he wanted Soldier. So, after talking back and forth, we decided to it.
Ever since the two of you did that song there have been a lot of behind-the-scene talks and what fueled it more was the both of you gracing the cover of a magazine. What really is the true story?
I guessed many people sensed the chemistry we had making music and then they just assumed automatically that we were into a relationship. Which is not true. I am actually taking my time to answer this question because many people think otherwise. But the truth is that Falz and I are just friends. It was just a shoot and I think because we both did music together at the time. It doesn’t really bother me.
What were the effects of your parents’ break-up on you at just nine years old?
It was really tough on me as a child and I realised that life is not fair on everybody because you can never determine how it is going to be.
Did you ever think at a point that you caused the break up because most children tend to blame themselves when their parents divorce?
No, I never did. I think they had other issues they had to deal with and they were adult issues. I was aware of what was going on and it was a tough period for me.
What inspired your style of music?
I think my music came out from my kind of personality; I am kind of laid back and so I try as much as possible to be original and different. When I am singing, I sing what I can relate to. I don’t think there is someone who writes songs like I do because my style is about story telling. It’s just me, and I always sing like l am talking to someone.
Did you ever rebel as a teenager?
I was really a pretty good girl then and nobody can say I was bad as a teenager. You know, I was the only girl and my mum had to go to work very early, and she comes home late. So, I really had the opportunity to be wayward but I never had any inclination to be.
You did gospel before switching to secular music, was it because gospel music wasn’t rewarding?
No, right from time, I knew gospel music wasn’t rewarding; and I wasn’t doing it because anyone expected me to make money from it. But at the time I was doing gospel, it was because that was the only thing I had in mind to do and I didn’t really have passion for it. At that time, whenever I started to write any love song I won’t be able to finish it. Suddenly, as I grew in music, my style started changing. I started to write differently. I started to explore music more.
Was it that as a Christian you backslid, or permit me to say, you became worldly?
Well, people have said a lot of things about that, but that is not the truth. You see, before, when people asked me this question, I really didn’t answer because I felt like they already knew what they wanted to believe. But you see right now, I just want to do music as music and not as a ministry any more, I just wanted to do something different.
Your song, JAMB Question, was everywhere; can you share a hilarious experience you had with it some time back?
I can’t remember a JAMB question but I can remember a JAMB statement that I had (Laughs). There was this guy that came, I can’t remember exactly how old I was then, I think I was 15 or 16 and my mum sent me to go and get something. I was going home from the errand and I saw this guy walking by my side. I told him ‘can you stop walking with me, I don’t know you’. The next time he saw me; he gave me a card that says ‘I really love you’. He would say to me, ‘I really have feelings for you’ and then I will reply, ‘happy feelings’. It was really funny and I didn’t really know him. Later, he became friends with my brother because of me and it was really weird. There are many other instances but this is the one that really stuck.
Tell us about your first love?
My first love? I met him when I was 13 and in SS1. I was just about to turn 14 and he just came to my school. How do you really explain that as a child? But it did happen, and he left my school after a while, so we drifted apart. Then we met somewhere again. We drifted apart again and then that was it.
You are in a relationship now?
Yes I am.
Do you think he is the one?
Well, I hope he is the one because I don’t think relationships should just be for leisure. I can’t really speak for anybody but for me. If I am giving you an access to that part of my life then it has to be worth my while and worth his while as well. But I can’t force it though, if he is the one, fine and if not, fine.
There is this rumour about you and Adekunle Gold, how true is it?
(Laughs) I don’t have any comment on that.
Or he is the one?
I don’t even talk about my personal life so I am not saying anything on that one.
What is the greatest advice that your mum ever gave to you that you still hold dear to your heart?
My mum always says to me that no matter where you get to, no matter how big you get, always remember who put you there, and that is God. So, I always have that at the back of my mind, that no matter how good things go, there is always one person you should always have at the back of your mind.
You are young, pretty and successful, how do you handle your male fans?
They are all actually adorable, they are always saying kind things, and for me, I see it as flattery and I do appreciate it. For me to have people from different walks of life and different backgrounds take time out to appreciate me and say they love me, I always feel flattered when I hear such. I think its just part of showbiz; they are attracted to showbiz Simi. They can as well not like you, but for them to like you means a lot too.
Have you ever had an experience with a crazy fan?
I remember when I went to Ife, I just got off the stage and was walking back to the car, and there was this guy that just jumped on me and I almost fell. I stood up, and like nothing happened, I continued waving to the crowd. Also, there is this really cute girl that went on my Instagram, Facebook and snap chat pages with loads of messages. It really means so much to me.
Was there a time you were overwhelmed with challenges and you wanted to quit music?
No, I have never gotten to that point where I was overwhelmed with problems and I wanted to give up music. If I am faced with challenges, I always want to do more. Challenges push me harder to always want to do more. You know, if life pushes hard at you, you push back at it.
You said your mum is your best friend, what exactly do you share with your mum, do you tell her about your boyfriends?
Yes, I always did.