Petite in appearance but full of energy and promise, Chidinma Ekile comes off as your everyday girl. But don’t let that bright smile fool you; she plans to be the best at what she does.
In this interview, the 2010 Project Fame winner talks about her family, her relationship with Wizkid, and why she won’t use sex to sell her music.
Chidinma how have you been doing?
I’m very well thank you
It’s been over two years since Project Fame, what have you been up to?
I’ve been working on my album, working on some other projects; I’m trying to do some other things apart from music, trying to diversify. That’s about it basically.
Tell us about the singles you released…
I’ve dropped four singles but I pushed two, ‘Jankoliko‘ and ‘Kedike‘. I have ‘Carry you go‘ and ‘Run their mouth‘. I’m thinking of shooting a video for ‘Run their mouth‘ because it got kind of popular during the whole subsidy removal time, everybody was just feeling the song, so now that I have an audience for the song, I’m thinking of pushing it further.
Who is your fan base?
I’m actually targeting everybody, though not everyone would like my music definitely, but, I have a very high percentage of youths, parents and little children.
Do you have them in mind when writing your music?
Definitely. During Project Fame, a lot of parents were in love with me. Some see me and go like; ‘o she looks so cute, she looks like my daughter’. And little children think I’m their age mate and they just look at me like ‘O she’s one of us’ and they get so excited. I got to know that when I released ‘Jankoliko’. I had to perform more for children because they really loved the song.
How did you come about recording with Sound Sultan?
After I recording ‘Jankoliko’, I wanted to put someone on the song. The first person I thought of was 2face. I thought he would do well on the song because it’s his kind of tune, but at that time I couldn’t get him. And then I thought of Sultan. I followed every of his songs as a kid, I like him, he is a very good songwriter, and a very good lyricist, so I said let me bring him on the song and he really did well.
How do you feel about competing with other female R&B singers?
I wouldn’t say it’s been hard, because I’m trying to create my own space. I’m not here to compete with anybody, I’m just doing my thing the best way I can. I think every body’s good at whatever they are doing, and they have really seen me like a sister. It’s been good being here and having to work with them.
Are you officially signed to a record label?
Not yet, but very soon, that is in the process…
How is your Relationship Working with Goretti and Capital Hill Music?
I think it all started after I finished Project Fame. Illbliss had to be my manager from Ultima and we had a connection, I think we had fun working together; somehow we connected and understood ourselves. Along the line I met Clarence Peters and became a friend of the family. It’s been good working with them; I usually have fun every time I’m with them
What’s your source of inspiration?
Because I am a musician, it just comes naturally, it comes to my head and I try to build it somehow. I’m not that person that thinks I can do everything on my own, I sometimes get stuck and then I ask for a songwriter to help me out. I do not write all my songs, sometimes I get assistance from other songwriters.
Tell us about your family…
I’m from a family of nine. I have six siblings; I’m the sixth of seven children, four boys and three girls. I am the last daughter but I’m not daddy’s girl. They are much older than I am and they treat me like the baby of the house. My younger brother is bigger than me so they see me as the youngest in the house. My family is really cool, they are a real family, and they have always supported my career.
How do you find time for family?
When I finished PF it was really hard for my dad to understand that things had changed. He couldn’t take it. I remember the first time that I was not home for months, and when I got home I was supposed to go for a show the next day. So I told my dad that I was going for a show, and he was like ‘where you going?’, that I shouldn’t go anywhere, and I’m like ‘ah, what’s he thinking’ (laughs), so my mom had to come and explain to him that ‘this girl has grown, she’s not the Chidinma you used to know, she has work to do and she has to go out every day’. So I went for the show and I brought money home and he was like ‘ok it’s work for you’, and ever since he just let it go…
If you weren’t singing…
I’d be a broadcaster.
Radio or TV?
Both, but I think I prefer radio.
You don’t like people seeing your face?
Not really, I just prefer radio. I’d just be there having fun, nobody seeing me and I’m doing my thing the best way I can.
What’s the experience performing outside Lagos?
It’s been really good. I remember when I went to Owerri, during the introduction before I came to perform, they started shouting. Seyi Law, who was the MC had to say that I was from Imo state, and they didn’t even let me sing. They said I should speak Ibo before I could sing. Similar thing in Ilorin, but it was fun; I learned a lot of things, made a lot of connections, gained a lot of exposure, musically, and stage-wise.
What’s your take on performing with a live band as opposed to recorded music?
Definitely a live band. I enjoy working with a live band because everything sounds so fresh. It’s even more interesting because you try out new things because you’re not tied down and you’re not forced to do exactly what’s on your CD.
Have you ever thought of using sexual content to sell your music?
I have not tried that, and I don’t think I’m even going to try that. Even my management is so sure, so comfortable with the way I am, so I don’t have to go nude and all that. I think different people like different things. But I don’t believe in all that. Someone once suggested that I try something new like bumper shorts or mini-skirts but I said no. I don’t have to go nude for people to like my songs. When they like your songs, they like you and when they like you, they like your songs. That is why they are your fans.
Why do you wear traditional attires most of the time?
I’m so in love with African prints, I feel I can do anything with them. Sometimes I sketch my clothes. I have a designer but sometimes I sketch my designs myself.
How was it working with Dammy Krane in your new video?
Dammy Krane is just a crazy guy. For all the times I was laughing in the video it wasn’t because Clarence Peters who directed it asked me to do so, it was Dammy making me laugh and it was all coming naturally. I think it made the video look better. The video was shot somewhere in Badagry on Dammy’s birthday. We didn’t leave on time and we could not make use of the daylight, which was frustrating, but Dammy was just there. We shot the video and there was no wahala. It was so much fun.
What’s up between you and Wizkid? You always seem to be flirting on Twitter
It’s just fun, there’s nothing to it, he is my friend, he is just trying to play pranks. We hang out sometimes
Are you in a relationship?No I’m not