For those who have listened to her songs and watched her perform, Taiwo Oladoye is the next big thing to emerge from the gospel music scene nay the Nigerian music industry. Since the singer from Ogun State released her album ‘Shake up the Heavens’ in December, her music career has been on the rise. The album’s hit track, No Be Me Na God, an afro pop single has serenaded listeners of good music who also want to dance.
With four award nominations, Taiwo’s rise as a singer has systematic having learnt the ropes as a musician and by God’s guadiance. Ever smiling and passionate about what she does, the mother of two spoke to our Group Entertainment Editor TOPE OLUKOLE, about her music career, family and other sundry issues.
How has it been as a professional singer?
It has been encouraging and exciting. I started singing professionally a couple of years ago.
What were the challenges you encountered to get to where you are?
Well it’s a lot of sacrifices especially in terms of time, financially, physically, psychologically all that as it is with anything of value to you; you make up your mind to put in your best in all that is needed and trust God to bless your efforts.
What comments have you received from your fans or listeners of your songs that made you shed a tear or got you emotional?
One vivid instance amongst many others was a reference made by a friend (who was one of my senior colleagues in school), at a time I was under severe pressure way back in school and I felt like giving up. He shared my testimony online, giving glory to God for His faithfulness all through that period, for not allowing me to give up. Instead, He chose to take me to greater heights. God is indeed faithful!
Don’t you get discouraged seeing secular artistes make more money, get endorsement deals and wealthy as against the gospel artistes?
Yes it can be discouraging, but it is better to remain focused on your dream, follow God’s leading as you pay the price and trust God to bring the best out of every situation for you.
Can you sing hip hop?
Yes, I can. It is just a style, one of the many forms through which you express your musical idea. The 4th track of my debut album ‘No be me, Na God’ has elements of hip hop in it.
What major difference is it being a professional singer and when you were just an ‘amateur’ singer?
As a professional singer, you no longer limit yourself to singing just for the fun of it or as a hobby. As a professional singer, you sing with the mindset of achieving set objectives, your message, and acceptability to and by your audience, values and all of these without taking away the excitement and fun.
As a singer, what influences your music?
Primarily, my thoughts about God, happenings to and around me, music and others influence my songs.
What has been your happiest moment so far?
Outside of my salvation, it is each time I achieve a set goal.
Who are your role models in the gospel music genre?
Cece Winans, Yolanda Adams, Vicki Yohe, Shirley Ceasar and talking of secular artiste, Whitney Houston is it.
You have a sonorous voice backed up with an alluring personality, how did you hone it?
I give God all the glory for that, nothing of my own making I can assure you.
How have you been able to cope with performances at events, keeping the home front and as a career woman?
Primarily, it is by the grace and faithfulness of God made manifest via my husband’s unflinching love and support. I’ve also enjoyed the support of family members, friends, colleagues, mentors etc.
What is your perception of gospel music scene?
The gospel music scene is growing in leaps and bounds. There are however enormous challenges chief of which is financial support. There is also need for an equal playing field on media. Music is a profession for many, the same way accountancy is. For instance, the same way all accounting graduates, regardless of religious inclinations are allowed to take ICAN exams and excel, music should also enjoy equal airplay, regardless of religious inclinations. That way, the competition will be fair which will lead to stronger growth and developments in the music industry generally. Gospel music should not only be played on Sundays.
Do you think gospel artistes are underrated?
Well, in our society today, I am not aware of established rules on the basis of which artistes are judged. However, the tendency of being subjective is quite prevalent in the industry. This results in tougher circumstances for gospel artistes than the secular ones. I desire to see all the stakeholders ensuring that everyone gets a level playing field and evaluation process.
How will you handle fame as it comes along?
I will handle it by the grace and wisdom of God through whom it came in the first instance. I am also sure of getting a lot of support from my husband, our spiritual leaders and mentors
How was growing up like?
(Smiling) I had a very strict and godly upbringing. And being the first-born (together with my twin), a lot of maturity was required of us so we could also be good role models for our younger ones. It was fun though. I recall times of childhood pranks with my siblings, especially the boys. As a matter of fact, I took a lot of my tomboyish nature having mainly grown up in between the combo of my dad and my brothers.
What is style to you?
Style to me is a form or format of expression of your ideas. They give you room to explore your creative abilities as much as you can.
As a married woman and musician, how do you cope with male fans and admirers?
Well I try to be polite and acknowledge them as much as possible. But when they become difficult, I pass the baton to my husband. But I thank God such occasions have been rare.
Does being a born-again artiste impact more on your music than being a secular artiste?
Yes, that is actually the foundation, that’s where the messages come from. Remember, you can only give what you have.
How does it feel living with a man who is also a musician?
For me, it is an asset, a very important one indeed because it strengthens our resolve to see us succeed. Secondly, I’ve learnt a lot from it. My husband’s input and support is a pillar that I always seek to lean on.
Don’t you get bored sometimes by just talking about music and all that?
Well, we don’t just talk about music; we talk about everything, so I’m not bored.
How did you meet your husband?
I met him in the choir. We are both members of the Faith Tabernacle Choir of the Living Faith Church (aka Winners Chapel), Otta, Nigeria.
What are your dreams for the future?
The fulfillment of everything God has revealed to us so far and the many more to come.