Monday, January 31, 2011

Interview Part 2 -"Eva’D’Diva: A Hidden Vocal Gem in World Music”

We now offer the final installment of our interview with, Evaezihohifue Ogoro who is also known to her fans as Eva’D’Diva, an up-and coming R&B artiste from Nigeria. Click here for Part 1. In the conclusion of this two-part interview, she discusses the process behind creating her yet-to-be titled new album, possible movie roles, thoughts on 2009's “Shades of Gray”, and more. I want to thank Eva for her frank, open approach to my questions and hope you enjoy the interview as much as I had participating.

Besides your singing career and producing radio jingles, what are some other projects you've been involved in?

 Erm.... other projects.... I am very hands on with charity programs. I run an events company called VAE HOFE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED. In May, we partnered with the first lady of Lagos State - Her Excellency, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola and one of her good friends- Ms Helen Ominiabohs and Ms Funke Babatola for a yearly event called 500 WOMEN FOR CHILDREN. We gather women together to make an impact in the lives of unfortunate people and orphans. It is really a profound stuff. I am currently in talks with a few companies and organizations that want me to head a few programs for them and I have also been approached by a couple of movie producers and directors to star in their movies. So 2011 is going to be one busy year for me. I bless God for the opportunity.

You’re currently considering a major role in a Nollywood movie and also working on your second album. Do you mind letting us in on some details of these current projects?

LMAO!!!! I am not at liberty to give you more details are regards the movie roles and other areas of entertainment that I will be delving into come 2011. But I will keep you posted as we progress :) As for the new album... I am kind of reaching out now as regards collabos and I am experimenting a lot with my sound. I am really excited. My list of collabos are so odd but that’s what makes it beautiful. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet :)

You have been nominated for a number of awards in the relatively short time you have been in the public view such as Most Promising Act to Watch (Nigerian Entertainment Awards 2010) & Best Female Vocal Performance (Hip Hop World Awards 2010). How does it feel to be nominated as one of the best singers of the year?

How do I feel? LOL I feel sooooo elated. It’s a glorious feeling to have something you have poured your essence into, be appreciated. I could not believe that I was nominated for those categories. It was a bit scary for a while because there was this pressure that people were expecting me to do the impossible or something. LOL it was like they had prepared this massive shoe for me to fill but on the flip side, it became a great feeling and a challenge to step up my game and that's what I am doing presently. So I am grateful to God for this 'pat on the back'.

You have been credited with a number of hits such as Jungle, Na So, God’s Hand No Cry, Mo Fe Be’ and ‘Kilode. What was the inspiration behind the single “God’s Hand”?

The inspiration behind ‘God’s Hand’ is one of bitterness, frustration, hopelessness ... But also one of hope and belief... belief in the power and the fairness of God. For the first couple of years... even now... I was submerged in people's 'bad bele'. It was like some people were not happy that I had appeared on the scene and some wanted to control me... to make me out to be their pun and when I refused, I was blacklisted. Then almost at the same time, my dad was on my case about going back to school for a masters and getting a 9-5 job. I became this punching bag.... I just got hit from everywhere... places that I didn’t even expect. So... I was constantly in a dark place. I was always on my guard... like I was constantly in a war zone. LOL but I bless God for my mum and my friend / former manager ATAGA GRAY... they stuck by me and encouraged me to the best of their abilities. I guess I just got to a point ... like Job in the bible... I was like 'na God hand I dey'.... if God wants to kill me ... he should do it now LMAO!!!! I was that bitter and frustrated. But I guess that sometimes, God needs us to get to that point for Him to pilot us to our greater destinies.

What mental place were you in for the creation of the album Shades of Gray?

My state of mind doing the previous album was one of uncertainty. I wasn’t sure about anything. Things and people aren’t always black or white, wrong or right... there are always grey areas that just bumps us off our perfect calculated scheduled lives. So that reality hit me and that's the state of mind I was in.

How is this current album affected by your personal life experiences?

This current album is going to show the different sides of me... unleashed and untainted. As much as everybody yearns for commercial success... there should come a time in your life that you need to stay true to you and what moves your universe. So this album is going to expose EVA in certain ways most people have not seen her (me). So folks better get ready for THE CORE OF ME!!!! (Hmmmmm... I just might take that as my album title LMAO!!!!).

You are performing in a genre of music that is fledgling by many accounts. Do you mind sharing with the readers the difficulties you have encountered in trying to sell R&B or your style of music in Nigeria?

Hmmmmmm.... I do a kind of fusion. I love to experiment in ALL I do. Soul, R&B, Pop, Jazz, Hip Life, Afro and Neo Soul ;) Variety is the spice of life. However... because of the strain on the political and economical areas of the country, people want to just kick back and relax to music that does not task their brains...'Feel Good' music as they call it.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?

Hmmmm.... well.... that's a really tricky I am a cancerian. so that should tell you that I am an emotional person. I let my emotions flow freely because I think they are beautiful gifts from God that put color in our lives. So when I am angry... you really don’t want to be around me LOL but when I am in love , or I am happy or giddy.... you could see that I am literally walking on cloud nine... so as much as its one of my strengths.. It’s also my weakness lol. Most times... people who have been around me for a while... draw up a calendar on me LMAO! like my brother can get the keys to my car or my friend can get me to give em money without even paying me back.... it’s just terrible LOL but I guess that's what makes the world go round. so I guess in actual fact, I don’t think there is anything about me that I would change. I do wish I had a smaller nose and a smaller pair of lips and hips... but that's me being a bit superficial LOL.

If you could choose a profession you would like to try what would it be?

Another profession??? Oh that's easy.... TEACHING!!!! First of all... I looooove kids and I believe that education is the foundation of a civilized society. Education not just meaning an academic one but a spiritual and moral one. Kids aren’t well grounded these days. It’s sad.

Are you signed with a major label right now?

No... I am not signed to any record label. I just have a great team that I work with and that I can fall back on whenever things get too messy or strenuous for me. I am talking about Gray Tiger Entertainment.

Are you surprised by how you much positive reception you’ve gotten from your unique rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem? I mean, the record is absolutely everywhere! How are you dealing with that?

Well... I am abit shocked at the positive response to my music and my rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem. The entertainment industry is a jungle... I must tell you. You have some old players discouraging new (good and unique) players about the Nigerian market. They tell you things like 'that won’t sell.... listen to so so so artist.... he does this or that kind of music and that is what sells'....... so most people are done before they even get started.... So... some people told me that my kind of music and style will most likely not be appreciated in Nigeria but I am rather stubborn and decided to go on anyway. So.... when I started getting the great reviews and nominations and events.... I was scared. I would pray every morning and be like 'GOD.... Na dem dey see this talent wey dem dey talk about oooo. I am just EVA. I have never really been special in anybody's eyes... except my family. It is you they are seeing ooo. If for some reason... you vex leave me.... I am guaranteed to fall yakata'. So I am glad he has been faithful and continues to polish me as His trophy.

What kind of music have you been listening to lately, or stuff that’s come out in 2010 that you’ve liked?

In the later part of 2010... I got a mad craving for old school jamz. I became soooooo obsessed going through my friend's phones to bluetooth any and every old school jamz they had LOL. so Anita Baker, Tracy Chapman, New Edition, Betty Wright, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston. But as for our own Naija.... Tuface's ‘ONLY ME’ and ‘IMPLICATION’ were absolutely loooooovely. D'banj's SCAPE GOAT also kind of grew on me towards the end of 2010 and of course MI's NUMBER ONE track ft. Flavour off his new album. Those were kind of the songs I listened to in 2010.

What’s the one thing you most want people to know about you and your music?
The one thing I really will want people to know about me and my music is that it’s honest and selfless. When I write and when I do things... I always have other people in mind first. I think God is gradually taking me past this craze for 'commercial success' alone.... we should also value humanity and constantly think of ways to develop it. So... I and my music are of service to you (the public) :)

What are your goals in the next five years?

My goal in the next 5 years to like a Michael Jackson in Entertainment (without all the negative hype and drama), A bigger Oprah Winfrey in Humanities and like an Obama (an unforeseen hero) in my country and in generations to come. Music is just the beginning for EVA D'DIVA. I never start oooooo LMAO!

Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering emotional support? Any parting words?
Errrr....... My mum and Ataga Gray a.k.a Gray Tiger have been so dear to my heart. Supporting me through my break down, kicking and screaming and crying days. They are the strength that God gave me. So I would advice young, up and coming artistes to find those people that can push and nurture them to their greatness. It is very essential!!!! I also want to thank you for the opportunity to reach my fans in North America. You are doing a beautiful thing. We should never give up on our dreams.... they are too heavy and precious for one man or even a million to kill out of their fear or insecurities that you will out-live and out-succeed them. 2011...HERE WE ARE!!!!!!!

   I'd like to thank Eva for the most in-depth interview yet, you can bet you'll be hearing more about him right here on The Afrikan Child! Until next time, O da abo Eva! , and we look forward to our next interview.

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