Nigeria Songstress Omawumi is our Artist of the Week

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Household name known for her big hair and even bigger voice, a songstress lending her voice on societal issues and creating a brand worth beyond the music industry. Award-winning musician, actress, brand ambassador, mother and diva who has worked zealously to get to this point where she has categorised herself as without  competition. She has made music with Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo as well as the golden voice of Africa Salif Keita. She was once a contestant who won hearts with her rendition of Onyeka Owenu’s Ekwe on Idols West Africa.

Yes people! Introducing Omawonder! To every contemporary female musician repping real big in a highly male dominated industry. Kudos! If you have come in contact with Omawonder in person, everything about her music is synonymous to her lifestyle. Her genre of music is mature music, quite relatable

Hailing from the city of Warri in the Delta State of Nigeria, Omawumi Megbele (widely known by her stage name, simply shortened to Omawumi) was born to Chief Dr. Frank and Mrs. Aya Megbele on 13 April 1982. She attended Nana Primary School in her pupil age. She later attended the College of Education Demonstration Secondary School proceeded to and graduated from Ambrose Alli University with a Law degree in 2005. After graduation, she moved to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where she worked with her family’s law firm called “O.S Megbele & Associates” She also studied French at Alliance Francaise.

The driving force in Omawonder couldn’t but indulge in her passion for music and singing so much so that she had to audition for the 2007 West African version of the TV talent show franchise Idols. During the competition, her powerful and arresting voice, along with her radiant personality, shone throughout was ultimately voted first runner-up. However, Omawonder did not stop there, in September 2008, Omawumi released her debut single ‘In The Music’ a kwaito based sound fused with Pidgin English and became an Instant Hit.

This got her multiple nominations and awards and was encouraged to do more. She then dropped her debut album titled Wonder Woman in November 11, 2009 finally, via OMA Records. The album was met with many not only praising the unwavering might and power in her voice but also her decision to incorporate a vast number of styles in the album’s sound palette, such as Afro-pop, jazz, funk, and even techno.The album ‘WONDERWOMAN.reportedly sold 100,000 copies in one week.

No 4: ‘Play na play’ ft Angelique Kidjo in 2016. The collaboration released in January 2016 is also expected to make the cut on the album.

Just before we move on to talking about Omawumi’s second album, it’s important to state that, the same year (2009) she dropped her debut album happened to be the year she made her foray into the world of acting. Omawumi played a minor role in the 2009 edition of the V-Monolugues, a play that reflects the negative issues affecting women in Nigeria. She also starred in the musical play Olurombi. She had a minor role in the movie Inale, a Hollywood/Nollywood Bongos-Ikwe production, starring Hakeem Kae Kazeem, Dede Mabiaku, and Ini Edo. In 2011, she starred in Funke Akindele‘s Return of Jenifa as well as in Yvonne Nelson‘s House of Gold (2013) among others.

Now, over to Omawumi’s second album- Lasso Of Truth released on 7th April 2013. Something significant about this album is the fact that the continued the theme suggested by her previous album Wonder Woman referencing the weapon carried by the popular DC superhero character Wonder Woman. The album features legends like Onyeka Onwenu and Tuface Idibia, Timaya, Wizkid, Waje and Tiwa Savage.  She went on a hiatus, right after the single that featured Angelique Kidjo in 2016. In an interview, she said she doesn’t just mellow when she doesn’t release music back to back that most times she releases a song a year and that she is not the sort of artist that can throw out three songs every year

Omawumi finally returned in 2017 with her third record – Timeless telling us that her songwriting was not tied down to any specific sound or trend. The album was released through Cabal Entertainmentwhich has an affiliation with Roc Nation Africa.In an earlier interview, Omawumi talked about how the concept of the album title came about, explaining that she was not bound by time or trends during her process of making the album. She said “I played with different genres, I went to a place where time doesn’t exist to make this music, I wasn’t held back by any restriction of time or trend, I just did,” adding that the listener would appreciate what she’s saying even better when they get to listen to the LP.

Prior to the album drop in January 2017, she released a lead single ‘Butterflies’ (sitting at number 1 on the AOFT today) off her unreleased 3rd album at the time. The record garnered acclaim for traversing a broad range of styles and sounds, incorporating soul, funk, and reggae while lyrically focused on a multitude of social issues. The release also featured singer/songwriter WizKid on the track “Warn Yourself.”

No 3 and 2: 3-In The Music. 2-Me Ke ft Kizz Daniel

In The Music Won Next Rated &Best Vocal Performance (Female) “In the Music” at the Headies 2009

Me Ke The song’s chorus is culled from popular Nigerian (Itsekiri) folktale.It dropped in March 2018 as the lead single from Timeless (EP) which was produced by the talented Johnny Drille.

Speaking of Kiss/Kizz Daniel, I’m sure you know the latest about the artist.Recall he changed from Kiss to Kizz in May due to the back and forth between him and G-Worldwide Entertainment. Now, G-Worldwide has finally reacted to the change of name change announcing that the name now belongs to them. They have gone ahead to trademark the name Kizz Daniel and that, that only changed on social media reminding the public that its case, Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe is still ongoing before the federal high court and the artiste’s name change doesn’t stop or change anything.

In the statement released, the management demanded that everyone who has in one way or the other dealt with the artiste after his name change should desist from doing so in future while the case is yet to be resolved. So, any collaboration with KissDaniel for the songs like Me Ke among other projects should be taken off the internet as they will not hesitate to take legal action against whoever doesn’t comply with their demands or goes further to engage the artiste services using the trademarked names.

She got married to Toyin Yusuf on the 13th of January 2018. Omawumi had earlier on January 16, 2015 at an Ikoyi Registry, tied the nuptial knots with Yusuf. They have two kids.

Inspiration

She would like to be remembered for being true to herself as an artist and as a person. Omawumi admires Angelique Kidjo a Grammy Award-winning Beninoise singer-songwriter and activists. She likes her music, strength of her voice, her strength and stamina and the fact that she is an international act and still stays true to her roots. If Omawumi could perform with anyone, anywhere it would be with Angelique Kidjo at the Grammys.

Omawonder has had numerous performances on the stage with musicians such as P-Square, 2face Idibia, D’Banj, Banky W, M.I, Sasha, 9ice, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Carl Thomas, Angie Stone and Donell Jones, Angelique Kidjo among others

Controversy

Things get heated as Omawumi leaves Interview after “Smoking & Drinking” Allegations. The interview was going well for about 15 minutes, until the interviewer asked her about an alleged smoking and drinking habit and how it affects her image as a role model, and Omawumi asked the host if she has personally witnessed such, before addressing it then walking off the interview set

“I will not honour you with a response. I feel like that is a taint to my character. Have you seen me smoking before?” When the presenter said no, Omawumi said “So why would you say that? You see me as an artist, I am contributing what I can. I make music the way that I should and I come here and honour your invitation and then you sit down and talk about my smoking & drinking to people that are listening. And you’re supposed to mean me well when these people are supposed to be the ones that are buying my music.

In early 2016 at a music award ceremony held in Ikeja area of Lagos, the singer reportedly went berserk and threw all decorum into gutter to engage a photo journalist in a physical assault reminiscent of a militant. The drama that lasted few minutes left the journalist battered in the face and his camera smashed beyond repairs.  The victim was Adekola Bamigbala, a recognized photojournalist.

ALBUM: Wonder Woman 2009, Lasso of Truth 2013, Timeless 2017.

Awards &Nominations

At the 2009 Hip Hop World Awards, Omawunmi went home with the highly coveted award for Next Rated Artist. She was awarded Best R&B/Pop Artiste in 2010 at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards which held in New York as well as winning award for Best Female Music Video at the same awards. She has won Outstanding Recording Artiste at the Icon Awards and Best New Artiste at the Women in Entertainment and Arts Programme by Vivacity PR, London. Omawumi has got about three nominations at the headies awards but Butterflies is obviously her first big win at the Headies.

Butterflies is telling the story from the point of the person who is the third party in a relationship because sometimes you have a guy or girl that will be committed in a relationship and will have somebody on the side. During her speech said she always wondered how her name hardly ever comes up in award nomination lists especially in the female category and how it made her doubt her womanhood, asking herself if she was a man without knowing. “…anytime wey dem do this nomination and dem no add me, I go begin think say I bin get blockos… maybe i no be woman again…” She literally talked about how bothered she used to get whenever an award ceremony is about to take place and her name is nowhere on the nomination list.

No1     Butterflies off her 3rd album Timeless: produced by Cobhams Asuquo and released as a collaborative effort between Cabal Entertainment and JayZ owned Roc Nation. At the 2018 (5th May) Headies Awards, Butterflies won Best Vocal Performance (female category)

CONCLUSION

Omawonder, apart from doing music she is also a businesswoman.She once said didn’t expect to get this far in her words saying even if she was a product of a reality show that was very big, there were also people who are also products of these reality shows that haven’t done so well so time and chance happens to us all. So, we look forward to more collabs and awards to come all across the continent. During her free time Omawumi likes watching TV, reading crime, drama and fantasies books and having a nice cocktail.

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