We caught up with superstar songstress Waje who is currently basking in the euphoria of reviews for her self titled debut album. She sat down and took us through a lot; future plans, that controversial nude scene in the ‘I wish’ video and why words arent just enough.
Congrats on your album release, it took quite a while didn’t it?
Thank you. Yes it did. Ehen?
Any particular reason for the delay between your first singles and your debut album?
First of all, an album does not validate an artiste especially in the kind of market that we are in today,
even internationally. Gone are the days when albums make the artiste because people don’t even buy albums anymore. Most important thing is keep churning out great music, whatevefr format. It took a while because I wanted to be able to defend my work, I wanted something to be proud of. It is one thing for people to say they are your fans and another for you to be able to deserve the fans based on the quality of work that you put out.
So did you make the album you have always wanted to make?
I know I did a 100% better than I’d have done 2years ago or even last year. As we grow in the business, we discover things about ourselves that we are able to do creatively. There are quite a number of things I did in this album that I never thought I could do. I used to be the ballad, straight-through-the-heart soul singer and I didn’t know I could have much commercial value when it comes to bringing out songs that people can dance or sing along to.
Why should we go out and buy the album?
Because you just cant help but love Waje – the artiste and the album.
Creatively, what does this record mean to you?
It is self titled because I have come to understand that many times as a creative person, you tend to show people your own view of things, not necessarily as they happened to you but how you view them. As a woman, mother and sister to a lot of people, you can listen to ‘WAJE’ and totally relate irrespective of demographic. You will always find a piece of yourself in my music. It is versatile in the sense that I did not stick to only one genre. One thing that stands out most in the record is the Waje personality which is why you will buy it anyway. Most times we buy albums because of the artiste and not necessarily because of the genre. Highlife, pop, R&B and all through, my vocal ability stands out.
There are some interesting collaborations on the record. With M.I, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy. Did you just pick artistes who are hot at the moment?
These are people that I have met in the course of my career and one way or the other we have worked together, they have inspired me and vice versa. This album is a journey. Like when you put your key in your ignition and start the car, there is an intended destination so for me I just started the car and I am driving and these are people I have picked up along the way. M.I is a very good friend of mine and we have worked together. I admire Tiwa a lot and she’s also a good friend of mine. Eva is not scared to say the things that matter most despite the fact that she is a woman. Burna is young and getting a lot of attention because of his personality and the freshness of his music.
You seem to be everywhere of late, from the AMAAS to the AMVCAs performing at all the big events. Is 2013 the year of Waje or what?
I don’t like to say this is the year of anyone because then what happens next year? Everyone’s prayer is to continue to grow so all I am saying is I am going to be here for a very long time so people should not just get tired. I am going to be experimenting, discovering things about myself. It is music so I don’t see why I should confine myself. It is the beginning for me. We have started the year well, it is the middle and things have been great and I thank God for that but I am not going to say this or any year is the Waje year.
I have seen you perform live with a backing band, do you think more artistes should embrace it or is it a form that is dying?
Live music can never die. I am not saying that playing pre-recorded tracks isn’t great but why would you ask someone to pay 1million naira to come see you and then play him the CD that he has at home? Respect your audience. Also, you are performing, you gauge your audience and they are not feeling it, you want to be able to switch it up immediately, CDs don’t give that freedom. The other day I did an exclusive gig with about 50 high profile people, business executives. Half of them were white and I have never played such an audience before. At some point I knew they needed to dance and I switched it, started doing some oldies and they made me perform for two straight hours. I was tired but they were enjoying it and it was great.
What has been responsible for keeping you on the radar from ‘Do me’ up till ‘I wish’?
Faith. Because some times you don’t see anything. There are times people tell you; well done, great call but you don’t see anything coming out of it but what keeps you hanging on is understanding what you can do, your abilities. There are times, 2years ago that I wanted to quit, imagine if I did. I would then blame government, blame the industry meanwhile people wey dey success, dem no get 10 heads so why me no go success? My own is to keep doing what you know how to do. You know that 10,000 hours rule? Until I have done music for 10,000hrs, I’ll just keep doing it. Everything will work out for good.
Are you now more fulfilled as an artiste with the release of your debut album?
Yes I am. Fulfilled in the sense that I am loving the acceptance, it is getting great reviews. I am happy that people have accepted it. The other day a friend of mine was in a taxi and the driver was playing my CD. I never used to think I was an artiste that appealed to cab drivers so it is great. Music is for everyone. I am happy to have a compilation of work.
What is it like being a young female in today’s music industry?
It is fun. A lot of people say it is a male dominated industry and I agree but females can be successful as well. I know it is going to be a year of great albums. Omawumi released hers, I have done mine, Tiwa is following soon. It will get to a point where we will be headlining shows because being a lady does not stop you from being successful. It’s all hard work. Nothing else
Omawumi recently confessed you are a better singer than she is, how would you respond to that?
Truth about it is Omawumi and I are two different singers. I don’t like answering this question because people no dey call us for show based on who sings better. We no dey American Idol, we don grow pass that. We are business women now, this is our career so if you want comparisons go and look for young people. For us music is business. We are not in any talent hunt.
What is next for you: any new singles or videos in the works?
Lots of plans. We are preparing for a concert which will kick off my upcoming tour around September. We are starting publicity for the concert soon, trust that it will blow your mind. I am shooting a video, ‘Onye’ with Tiwa Savage. I havent decided on the one after that, maybe ‘Grind’’ because I noticed a lot of people like it.
I like ‘Ijeoma’
I am definitely shooting a video for ‘Ijeoma’ it is a big budget video and I have big plans for it so I want to chill till I don gather enough money. It is going to showcase the sights and sounds of Nigeria. We are going all out for it.
Let us talk about the video for ‘I wish’ and that hot nude scene. Were you or weren’t you?
But the whole idea was to make you think I was nude so why should I tell you now that I wasn’t? The concept of the video is a more interesting thing to talk about so I’ll say that it is a sad video. I wanted to show emotions, vulnerability and my state of mind in visuals so the ‘’nude scene’’ as you have called it, was just me trying to achieve that.