Sensational singer, Simisola Bolatito Ogunleye, professionally known and referred to as Simi has finally opened up on why she quit gospel music in an interview with Punch. Read below:
Have always wanted to do music?
I didn’t grow up around a lot of music because my parents aren’t music inclined. I wrote my first song when I was 10 years old. I have a very short attention span and it is one of the reasons why I experiment a lot with my music. My parents separated when I was nine years old, so I did not spend so much time with my dad; he died in 2014. My parents were quite supportive of my career at first. After I bagged a degree in Mass Communication, from Covenant University, my mother wanted me to get some job experience by working with an oil firm. I have always been of the opinion that it’s impossible to do music part-time, so I asked her to pray for the success of my music career.
How did being raised by a single mum feel?
I recall that my siblings and I visited my dad during weekends and at some point, the frequency reduced. I felt bad whenever I saw my peers with their parents and I had a mature mind as a young girl growing up. My parents’ separation left an impression on me that life isn’t always a bed of roses. It also made me realise the need to work harder to achieve my dreams.
How else did the experience shape you?
It made me grow up really fast and also made me a realist. As a result, nothing fazes me and no bad situation affects me. Even though I am not a pessimist, I am always prepared for the worst. Subconsciously, I am also a lot pickier and careful about whom I date. My mum has always been there to guide me.
What challenges did you initially grapple with in your career?
It’s very difficult for an artist to succeed independently before he or she is signed on with a label. This is because having a successful music career is capital intensive. The ability to keep my head straight at times when it seems as though I am wasting time is no walk in the park. There are so many talented artists competing for the top spot, so keeping faith alive is hard. Coming and breaking into mainstream music is also hard. I recently realised that I have to work harder as a woman because I can’t afford to make any excuses.
Apart from music, what other things are you talented at?
I am also a sound engineer, so I mix and master music. This a major boost to my career because it means that there are a lot of things I can do on my own. It has also proven to a lot of critics that I am not just another artist.
You began your career as a gospel act. Why did you go mainstream?
The first thing that comes to the mind is that I did it for monetary reasons. However music became about ‘more’; I wanted to have a broader purview. It was a tough decision for me to make at first. I wanted to explore music more. My faith in God hasn’t waivered because before I went mainstream, I prayed to God to bless my career if it was his plan for me. I also don’t see myself doing gospel music again.
How did you come about your unique sound?
When I put out a gospel album in 2008, it was laced with a lot of R&B and hip-hop becauseI dabbled into a lot of sounds.It took me a while to create an identity sound-wise. I went to the US and after experimenting with several sounds, I fine-tuned my sound. I incorporated a lot of African inflexions and it stood me out.
Do you write all your songs?
Yes, I do but I am open to having other people write songs for me because I believe in teamwork. Artists themselves do not write some of the best songs. In fact, some of the hit songs we currently listen to are written by as many as five different people.
What inspires your lyrics?
Real-life scenarios that are relatable inspire me. With regards to one of my recent songs, Love don’t care, I was trying to express how carefree love is; it’s not a respecter of persons or situations.
Why did you decide to record an entire album with Falz?
We are very good friends and having worked on several projects together, we toyed with the idea of recording a joint album.
What has fame cost you?
I don’t go out much but I love to go to regular places. I can’t do so any longer and I miss having a regular life because I am a regular girl.
Are you currently dating anyone?
I am in a relationship with someone else who is not Falzthebahdguy; we are just friends. My man is mature and understands the fact that I may be erroneously romantically linked with an artist simply because we work on music projects together.
What else would you have done aside from music?
I like the idea of becoming a radio presenter and if there were any other career I will take up, it would definitely be it.
What do you hope to achieve with music?
I want people to listen to my songs more and become inspired.
How would you describe your style?
Chic and sexy.
Simi is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Simi started her career as a gospel singer, releasing her debut studio album in 2006 titled Ogaju.