It goes beyond the music for an artiste like Waje. Right from her days of featuring on P Square’s ‘Do Me’, to ‘One Naira’ with M.I, the world knew there was more to the music star.
Although her given name is Aituaje Iruobe, her stage name, Waje is an acronym for “Words Aren’t Just Enough”, even with her vocal range that covers three octaves.
In 2016, she was one of the four judges in the inaugural season of The Voice Nigeria, and her story has been nothing short of a success from there.
Did you know that Waje was discovered while singing in church as a young lady whose love for humanity led her to study social work at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Being very productive whilst in school, Waje worked part-time in tourism.
She however still believed she could touch a lot more with her singing talent. This gave her the drive to stay focused in her first love, music. In 2007, Waje decided to take the next step and fully launch her music career. She was still a student at the time and paid her dues by doing lots of free shows and gigs, singing at every given opportunity, until her first major hit came up with her feature on P Square’s ‘Do Me‘ and Bam! Her entire story changed.
Waje literally brought in the sunshine when she walked into Accelerate TV for her studio session and interview. She was all smiles and friendly and some of us had to ask, “Isn’t that ‘the Waje’?” to a very deliberate response from Tokyo James (Head of Fashion), “Yes it is” and literally all the boys fell over their heels trying to ‘talk’ to the beautiful superstar.
We discovered a lot about Waje’s personal life and fashion choices in our interview for July’s edition of The Cover, especially her future plans. You’ll be pleased to find out her plans for young people in the Excerpts below:
What influences outfit choices in your music videos?
I would say how the concept of the video comes off and how I want to feel in the video. Every song has its interpretation and we try. I try as much as possible to bring the video to interpret what I was thinking when I wrote the song so I guess it is based on the message of the video and the mood of the video then I can say “okay this is how I should look”.
Are there fashion restrictions when you are a music star?
For me personally, definitely. There are certain things I won’t wear, not because I don’t like them but because I think they won’t work for me. So, I don’t wear leotards, because I am high-waisted, I try to show my waist more because I am busty. So there are definitely some restrictions, there are some things I won’t do just because of my body type. Being a performer, you also have to be very comfortable so that nothing is restricting you from giving your best. So, yeah.
What makes your music unique?
I would say what makes my music unique is first and foremost, who I am and my voice, because I feel like I am the only person who can interpret a song the way I do and every musician has different elements that make them themselves, based on their character, their surroundings, so I am not going to say the cliché things like ‘Oh I’m this or it is the sound of the..’ uh uh! It really doesn’t work because (laughs) some of us are blessed with being able to do whatever it is. So I guess the difference would be the things that have influenced me growing up and my experiences.
Female musicians in Nigeria hardly get to that number one artiste status despite their immense talent. Why do you think that is?
I can’t say honestly. It could be that they don’t work hard enough, that is possible. It could also be that sometimes perception is what drives the narrative and it can also be the perception of the media that female musicians don’t get to that point, you know what I mean? So, it depends on the context or in what situation because you have people that have really gone over and beyond. If I am going to talk about my mentor, Onyeka Onwenu for example – I still call her the Beyoncé of Nigeria, because sometimes I go back to her old videos like “dancing in the sun” and I feel like she really started opening the door. So, success really is relative, being number one is relative. What Michael Jackson achieved, some people are achieving it now but at the time it was timely so people can achieve more now.
You write your own music and you’ve also written for others. Do you have a favourite place to write?
No, I really don’t have a favourite place to write. I just know that sometimes there are certain emotions I need to write. So, sometimes it is like oh I don’t want to be too happy, because then I can’t connect with the kind of emotion I need for some kinds of songs, you know, and I can’t really tap into my emotions and things like that. So I guess as a writer that’s the only thing I will say “Oh My God I really don’t want to be”. But I want to be happy so I am learning to compartmentalise these emotions so I can bring them out when it is time to write.
What’s your skincare regimen?
To be honest, I am one of the most boring people you know. I don’t have a skin care regimen. The only thing I will tell you is I try not to sleep with makeup on because I am getting older and when you get older, lines and things (begin to appear) and I am trying to moisturize a lot more. I just discovered recently, something called Rose Oil and that is the only thing I use on my face now outside my night cream. I did moisturise, so right now I am wearing Cocoa butter cream, but it is the first time I am using it so I’m still trying it out to see what it feels like and that’s it.
If you were to launch a fashion product, what would it be?
Your fans haven’t had an album from you in 5 years, is there any reason why?
Well, every time I have wanted to release an album, one thing happens and I have to get away or so. The first time, I had already told myself I wasn’t going to release an album till three years after my first album and then The Voice came and I thought I could multi-task but it now became such a problem. I wanted to do it again and management said no let’s wait untill this time; and you know there are times when I really want to put out music but one thing happens. Right now, I have three albums already recorded but now my issue is which one to release. So, I got issues.
5 years from now, Waje will be…?
Five years from now I will probably be in my Sade Adu zone (laughs). Five years from now I also think it would be great to release music and keep people knowing and appreciating me for the job I do but, also I want to get to that point where I can also inspire and help people out, not just inspire and mentor them as Waje but create more jobs opportunities for musicians, songwriters, you know especially the younger ones and five years from now, I will probably be very invested in that.
Interview by: Tunde Adediran
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