Friday, March 18, 2011

The Lawretta Richards Interview(RETTA)

Photo Credit: Jton Productions

          Lawretta Richards is what Hollywood/Nollywood would call a bankable star. Voice, looks, confidence, poise, aggressive sexiness and the ability to twitch a vixenish smile on command at the corners of her mouth - they all combine to captivate audiences in general and to turn grown men into foolish little boys. On paper, Retta’s ascent to stardom follows the traditional route of many cookie cutter, here today gone tomorrow stars. Similar to such stars, she appears on many variety shows and her appeal is not restricted to those with a taste for more serious music.

However, Retta is distinct among these other stars in the mainstream due to her signature pout and believable tough-girl voice. Her songs never come off as sugary bubble-gum pop, but the melodies are not anywhere near American R&B style. Her mature, almost monotone voice evokes a sense of depth and sex appeal achieved rarely by other artists and her beauty comes across as far more than average cuteness. The richness of her delivery nearly stops the heart because you know an angel is singing, and the beauty of this outpouring of love stirs your soul. Her gift of vocal music is wonderful to behold.

        Recently, I had the chance to interview Retta. The songstress popped on the music scene in 2010 with her release of the singles ‘Kolo for You’ and ‘Would You be Mine’, and has soared to higher heights ever since. Although her family has long been involved in the music industry, she only recently discovered her talent as a performer. She was brought to the public’s attention by Joy Tongo, President of Jton Productions while vacationing in Nigeria and has since not looked back.

The full text of the interview can be read below:

How are you doing? Before we get any further with this interview, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am doing great, thanks a lot. My name is RETTA. I am 20yrs old...born and raised in Nigeria (Port Harcourt), where I had my primary and secondary education. Love listening to all genres of music and I got great passion for singing, dancing as well as acting and writing. Studied theatre arts in the University of Port Harcourt after which I moved to Lagos to start a life time career in entertainment and in the Arts.

Let’s go back into your days, how were things for you growing up? What kind of music were you exposed to?

I was exposed to all genres of music but mostly old school...the 80's and 90' family’s got a lot of interest in music especially my dad cause he happened to be a very famous DJ in his time (laughs). I am still very much into old school but then I create a balance with the new generational music. Growing up for me wasn't so easy, because I used to be on the very reserved and quite side. I would hardly speak to anyone so I spent most of my time behind closed doors writing about how I felt about myself. I got an amazing woman for a mother because she made me who I am today. My dad was always travelling for business but he managed to still create a balance in his family by still being there for us as much as he could. I had a lot of insecurities and low self esteem growing up but with God and time I was able to surpass all that......

Who are your biggest influences?..

I have been influenced by a lot of people in different ways. I would start with my musical influence...Dido and Tracy Chapman...etc then to stage craft...Rihanna and the Noisettes then to perfectionist....Beyonce Knowles and Michael Jackson...and many more I wouldn't want to put down else I'll begin to bore you(Laughs).

Have the personal experiences inspired you musically?

My personal life and experience is one of my biggest inspirations. When I decided to put my pen and paper together. In different ways my personal experiences have always played a major role in my music.

How are the people outside Nigeria appreciating your music?

They have been very receptive and that gives me great joy.

Photo Credit: Jton Productions
You are currently working on a forthcoming album. Do you mind sharing with us the progress thus far and what will the title be?

Yes. I am working on my album, which will consist of about 12-13 tracks but still not finally decided. We haven't really finalized on what the title would be but before it drops you definitely would hear of it...the album is a mixture of different kinds of genres but still retaining my sound.

What are some of the challenges that you face as an independent artist?

Oh well, the major one should be shortage of funds and support from the guru's in the is a challenge but I still see the positive side to it which makes me stronger To know I can fight for what I want and achieve it. There's a pride that comes with that you know.

What has been the public’s reception so far to the release of Kolo for You? Any message behind that track?

'Kolo for You' is doing amazingly well. At first I was scared as to how well it would be accepted because I hear people say it sounds too international. But I found out that the music scene is changing and people are getting to give ears to good music' international or not...good music is good music and would be appreciated. ‘Kolo’ means crazy and as we all know it is a well known slang in Nigeria's famous Pidgin English... Kolo can be used positively or negatively. In this record, it portrays the positive side. The message this song is trying to pass across is that of two loving hearts been separated by distance and how much they can still feel each other whether they are together or not... In other words we are saying that distance should never be a barrier to love.

Besides music, what else are you interested in?

I actually love everything entertainment...from singing to dancing to acting and even writing... I am passionate about arts so I have strange for hunger for arts and entertainment.

How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t heard your music before?

I am a soul musical artist with a fusion of pop...I can also be seen as ritual soul' because of that old school feel in my music. It may be hard for you to classify me on a particular genre. Different people hear different sounds as far as rock but that's just cause of my flammable mixture of the both genres.

What is the one thing you would like your fans to know about you?

 Hahaha! Ok that's a tough one. I'll just say one thing am popularly known for is that I smile a little bit too much. Easily tickled. (Covers face).Bringing it home, what's your take on contemporary African music in general? Hmm! Oh well I think it is still growing and many more talents are yet to be discovered. Our artists have done very well for the country. I mean' we have grown so fast and strong. I am proudly African.

Where can fans get your latest music, photos etc?

On the Internet, my Facebook Fanpage, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter.

What does it feel like to perform in front of a crowd who feel and really respond to your music?

Wow! That's all I can say... (Hahaha) and many more expressions like ehhh!jeez!... Its breath taking, exciting and extremely mind blowing... You can actually get carried away with excitement if not put together...the feeling is indescribable.

What’s been your biggest musical achievement?

 Well for now I will say been giving the opportunity to stand in front of a crowd and get people actually listen and appreciate my music. These are all huge achievements for me and as time goes on there are better to come.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

 In 5years I see myself on top of my game. I am going to be heard and recognized in the world and I coming back home with the Grammys and many more international and local awards. I am going to take over Africa with my music. I would have taking over by then and started building my music school in Nigeria.

So what’s set for 2011?

2011 is my year... I will bring the best music you would ever hear in Africa and an album to my credits, touring around the world. 2011 is just the beginning of something very BIG.

Thanks a lot for your support. It is a privilege to have this interview.

         Success requires the right qualities. Image is one of the most important qualities besides talent that can aid one’s possibility of success. Retta possesses that and more too. She is a lovely lady and the combination of this look, her sweet disposition and her huge talent, will make her very successful. Her singing voice is so pure. She just naturally knows when to modulate and when to crescendo. She has all the variations of a singer who has been trained by the best music teacher. In my humble opinion, Ms. Richards would certainly go places and I would urge readers to purchase her full length album when it is eventually released.

        So there you have it. A little insight into Retta’s world. For more details about upcoming tours, releases, and performances, visit or following her on Twitter@Rettarich.

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