Singer, entrepreneur and mother of one, Veronique Adaa, is readily making waves on the music scene. Thanks to her latest singles, Itoro and Fimisile.
Adaa, an indigene of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, who is married to a French, here opens up on her musical odyssey.
What inspired your latest single, Fimisile?
Fimisile is a Yoruba word, which simply means ‘leave me alone’. Going by the feedback I have been getting, Fimisile is a nice song and I believe it has the potential to impact society in a great way. It is a song I did with Qbeat. It encourages people to mind their business by staying out of people’s lives.
Really? Did you have any experience like that?
Yes, I have lots of experiences along that line. When I returned to Nigeria a while ago, my dream was to assist the needy and less privileged. And I tried as mush as I could to help in my own little way, but I found out that I was trying to please everybody but ended up displeasing myself. A lot of things went wrong and I was hurt and swindled a couple of times, and this really hurt my feelings, because this passion is for something great. I wasn’t just doing it for fun. I believe in myself and I believe I am going somewhere even if it is not clear yet but we all have to start from somewhere. Fimisile was not on my mind at first. I was working on other songs and the inspiration just came and Qbeat and I worked on it and it came out great. It has been on air for over a month now and the response has been mind-blowing and very positive. People just love the song and are very appreciative of it.
You are from Port Harcourt, why are you signing in Yoruba?
Music is universal and I believe one should be able to sing in any language if you have the opportunity. Music breaks all barriers.
You have released a couple of singles, when is the full album dropping?
You know, music is an expensive business and being an independent artiste is quite difficult and challenging. However, I wouldn’t mind putting out more singles but for now, I would like to get used to the industry and the system before talking about an album.
Tell us about growing up?
I wouldn’t say I was born with a silver spoon or born rich. I would rather say my parents were middle class. I am the eldest in my family. My father and mother were all doing great.
How did music start for you?
As a child, I loved music so much and I was always singing. Most times people advised me to be a musician. Even though, I had the passion, that wasn’t what I really wanted to be because I wasn’t ready at that time. You know, it takes a lot of courage, effort and energy to pursue a music career especially in a country like Nigeria. But then, the pressure was getting too much, so I asked my dad. I told him I loved music so much and would want to study it in school. He was the first person that discouraged me. And that was because then they felt all musicians were wayward and irresponsible, so when he told me not to, I said okay. I went to school and studied Economics and that was how I met my husband and we left Nigeria. I proceeded with my music in France after I learnt to speak French, and that was it. When I traveled to France, my eyes were opened and I began to see the world and music differently.
How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband in Port Harcourt. I was invited for a party and I met him there and that was how it happened.
Was it love at first sight and who made the first move?
(Laughter) Of course, he made the first move but I was not really interested initially. But when I look back today, I think my husband is lucky to have me and I am lucky to have him as well.
How long did you guys date?
We dated for a year and half. After he proposed to me, it took me months to respond. I refused initially because I wasn’t convinced and the reason I wasn’t sure was that he is not a Nigerian. He came all the way from France and I didn’t even know his family and we were only communicating on phone. You know, before you go into marriage, you should know your partner and the kind of person you are getting involved with.
How did he pop the question?
He talked about it at first and I said no, and that was because I had my own vision, I had my career and I was working then. I had ideas of moving forward in life. I believed that I should be able to stand for myself and achieve my dreams, and as you very well know, nobody is going to do that for you. I am very career minded so I wanted to marry someone who would appreciate my talent and help me build the woman I want to be, and when I saw he had all the qualities including having a good heart, I had to let go.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
It’s sometimes when I am traveling on the plane or when I am watching a movie or maybe, something happened in the environment I find myself.
Who influenced your sound? Who do you look up to musically?
Wow! Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and a lot of others. And of course, the legend himself, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. These were the people that made me fall in love with music.
Mother, artiste, wife and entrepreneur, how do you juggle all this?
It is just by the grace of God, and also know that when you believe in something, you will always take time out to achieve that dream. It is all about multi-tasking and time management, and also having a loving and understanding partner.
Beyond music, what is your next move?
I have a passion for fashion and I am trying to develop it. By the grace of God I am working on my clothesline, which will be christened ‘Veronique Adaa’. I am also thinking of having my own perfume line but it is a gradual process.