Aity Dennis is one person whose warm personality flows from deep down and bursts on the surface in a smile that is like sunshine. Whether she is behind the microphone belting out a song or just having a one-to-one chat, that sonorous voice simply wraps around you with all the warmth in her soul. For the wife of Pastor Dennis Inyang, Senior Pastor of Sureword Assembly, Okota, Lagos, God has been indescribably good to her and family. In this interview, she talks about her first. It’s part of our Merry Christmas gifts to you….
Tell us about your first day on stage. What was the experience like? Did you have stage fright?
The first time I sang on stage was in my secondary school. It was our end-of-school-year concert and I was in my first year in secondary school. I was to do a duet with my friend, Sonye Waribor, now Julie Ajegunle. We had rehearsed and prepared to present the song. We were so excited. D-Day came for the big event. When it was our turn, the MC announced our names and we went up the stage. As soon as I set my eyes on the audience, it was like power outage, I forgot everything I rehearsed!!! Hehehe! I did Ultimate Search for the song in my brain, but no data was available! The song had simply vanished! I mean the very same song I had been rehearsing for weeks! It just disappeared. This one was more than stage fright, maybe we should call it stage trauma! I turned and looked at my friend, she was singing happily, hot tears came down my cheeks. I was so embarrassed, I ran away from the stage and left Julie to continue and finish the song. That was my first baptism of fire; I can never forget it. Today Julie and I still laugh about it when we meet. She uses it to tease me.
Your first musical album, when was it released? What was the title of the album and was the acceptability in the market?
My first music album was released in 1995. It was not the days of CD. It was in cassette format. The title of the album was My Hiding Place. It was so well received because it had a hit track called Final Thank You, which I dedicated to my Pastor, Dr Sylvanus Ukafia, for bringing me up in music and believing so much in my talent. In the song I said that for everything he had done for the Lord there is coming that day when God will thank him and say well done my faithful servant. The song became so popular that I was shocked. Up till today people still invite me for events to render Final Thank You. It’s a song of encouragement to people who are serving God faithfully. It tells you that even if no one appreciates what you are doing, God is taking note and on that day the records will be opened and you will be glad to know that your reward is awaiting you.
Where did you shoot your first musical video? Any remarkable memory?
My first musical video was shot in Lagos in 1997. The location was Tinubu Square. It was a beautiful video, very professionally done by Rasaq Lawal. But whenever I look at the video today I just burst out laughing, at the same time thanking God at how far I have grown. Currently, I am like double the size of the girl in that video and I have also grown musically. But it is good to have materials like that so that you can remind yourself constantly that even though you may not be where you would want to be, you are definitely not where you were before.
Tell us your first labour room experience.
From where do I start? I was blessed to have good doctors who prepared me well before my EDD. I was even on drip to hasten my dilation. I don’t know what medication was in it but it mitigated the pain and I started feeling it was not going to be a big deal. I was my sparky self even as the nurses wheeled me to the labor room. When I entered the room I first looked around and told myself, ‘so finally you have entered a labour room!’ I walked around and touched the delivery couch and smiled! Then in excitement, I climbed the couch with my nightgown on. I didn’t know the pain that was coming at all. Novice! Maybe I thought I was on stage to sing! The midwife laughed at me asking if I was going to do the delivery with my nightie on! I told her I was sorry that my ignorance was showing because as big as I was I had not taken that course before. I got up, removed my nightgown and laid back on the couch. The reality hit me when the pains intensified! Jeeeesus! I screamed. I felt like urinating so I told the doctor that they should excuse me to get up and go ease myself and come back. They told me, ‘No madam, do whatever you want to do right here! You are not going anywhere!’ What!!! Then the push sessions came. I have always thought of myself as a very strong person but that day my physical energy almost failed me. Because I did a lot of pushing and I was told I had not started! What!!!! Suddenly the medical attendants turned full circle. They changed their friendly tone to some stern warnings that I should make sure I push better! I told them I had exhausted all my energy! I shouted on Jesus again to come to my rescue! And He did. Wow! What a joy. Tears and smiles mixed together. Then came the cold shivering. And the rest as they say is history. Today, when I look at my three children, I still stand in awe of God. My first baby came after 21 years of waiting and my twins came on our 25th anniversary.