When she breezed into the ballroom of Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday 21st October 2018 all heads turned in her direction. She looked sexy in her outfit. This is because popular musician Muma Gee looked stunning in her Afro hairdo and she looked refreshingly young in her outfit. It was at the 10th Lead Big Innovation Festival.
The gist on everyone’s lips at that event was: where has this lady been all these while? Truly so. Muma Gee has been off the music scene for the past 6 years to raise a family. She now has 3 lovely kids.
But the big news is that Muma Gee who is officially addressed as High Chief, Eke Muma Gift is back. Let’s be the first to tell you that for a fact. She told City People duo of SEYE KEHINDE and TITILOPE OGUNLEYE her story. She is popularly known for her African contemporary genre with a fusion of pop and afrobeat which she confidently calls Soundafric. She is a singer, songwriter, philanthropist, actor, businesswoman, fashion design, a mother of lovely children, a television personality and a politician who contested for the House of Reps in 2015. Below her excerpts of the interview.
You are one of the female Artistes in Nigeria who has contributed to the music industry. Can you tell us how long you have been doing music professionally?
It has been over 25 years on stage and it has been great. Although I went on break for a while but I am fully back in the system.
Why did you take a break from the music scene?
I am a respecter of the divinity in womanhood and so at a stage in my life, I saw it very necessary and compulsory to take a break and raise a family which I did.
How many kids do you have now?
I have three kids.
How long was the break?
The break lasted officially for six years but it has been two years trying to re-strategize and synergize to be back.
You said you are coming back big. Can you let us into the plans of coming back big?
The brand Muma gee is one that is been done with the standard we have always aimed at, so saying we are coming back big is not just bragging but practical. It is difficult for me right now to let the cat out of the bag but just a little hint into it. The brand Muma Gee like you are very familiar with is a very serious brand. People see Muma gee almost like a deity at some point and the big break is that we have been able to make the brand friend by hitting the brand on the street for all to hear and we are also doing songs that are still keeping the brand at its uniqueness and stylistic good stage craftsmanship but imbibing the trending vibes that are on now, anyways without the tramadol thing and substance. Usually the brand Muma Gee does stuff that are very unique to the African culture, so basically that is where we are at now but trying to sell the African cultural value and heritage through music to the world in a very different light, so to say contemporary and more urban like.
You would agree that a lot has happened to music over the last five years. How do you plan to fit into what the young folks are doing with music now that is quite different from what Muma Gee use to do years back?
We have taken two years out of the 6 years break for serious research and trying to practicalise the result of the research by recording various style of music not forgetting or pushing behind that unique factor. I call it the x-factor of the Muma Gee brand. Just cast your mind on how very African, traditional and cultural Muma Gee brand was and pull it into the trending beats and style of music that is ongoing without really losing that uniqueness of selling our culture and morals through music. If you look at the current music these days, a lot of them just say stuffs, jump on the beat and its working because a lot of people are dancing to it and not a lot see back and say let us put in some morals into this and that is what the Muma Gee package is coming with. For example, Our New song titled double your hustle is really hitting the street and it talks about the youth. A lot of Nigerian youth and so relaxed and laid back not because they want to be lazy, they are not lazy but they are laid back because of lack of funding into the kind of business they want to go into and all of that. Especially like the Entertainment and sometimes it just kills their morale to see that no encouragement from anywhere, so you need to double your hustle. I was talking with my business partner and he said we need to double our hustle and it is a good area to encourage Nigerian youth to double their hustle. The message is to tell youth to do different business that can bring in new income, and then they can now push their passion the way they would really love to.
Can you tell us how you started doing music not forgetting the fact that you studied Theatre Art in the University?
I studied Theatre Arts at the University of Port-Harcourt and graduated in 2004. Before then I had always had this flair for music and it started when I was started off when I was a young person actually at the age of 4. As an Adventist little young pupil, my mum would train us on some songs, biblical quotation on how to do a presentation during the harvest period because in seven days Adventist we don’t celebrate Christmas. So we would do a presentation during harvest and all of that and at some point, as I was growing up I watch T.V and see Diva and other superstars that are female, and that encouraged and inspired to want to be a diva and a star as well and it started off like that. Within the end part of my secondary school, I said to myself even though my family has done everything possible to make me sure I study Medicine because they also took me to Government Girls Science Secondary College in Kuje to round up my secondary Education but at the end I was able to sneak my way out and study Theatre Art just to still be Educated. Well, life now has gone beyond just studying Theatre Art to being an Authority in Music. I am also doing Law now in the University Of Lagos, having delved into politics in 2015, I contested for federal house of representative and this was born out of the flair that we need to do it ourselves and not complaining that leaders are not working the way they should or doing what we want. Instead of being an electorate I decided when my people approached me to represent them in 2015, I stood up to it even though as a Musician and not as a politician totally then but this time I am not contesting because I would not want to represent my people again but because I want to have a taste of partisanship in politics to learn a bit more while I Educate myself in law. I would love to be a lawyer now, not just being a musician or a medical doctor that I had aspired as a child.
Do you have any intentions of featuring any New Act as a plan of coming back big to the Music Industry?
Definitely I would feature a lot of artiste in future, but currently, we are here for innovations and to do innovation successfully you will need to try it out first. We are changing the Muma Gee brand from what it typically uses to be to something really new. We want to solidify with the brand first by this song titled double your hustle. With Double your hustle we would be able to test run the system and see how we fit into the brand and the new image of Muma Gee. Like you see I look quite different from what I use to look and people say I look more appealing this way.
What have you been doing to keep this great look?
Well, I eat well. I don’t Just eat because I am hungry, I eat because it is very necessary and I do a lot of fruits and exercises, but most of the times I must confess we really do not have the time to exercise because my record company make me go through a lot of recordings. A whole lot of work is put into music that I barely have time to do regular routine exercise but because I diet well it has helped and also having Forgiveness in your heart all the time makes your skin glow and your lives becomes easier and better unlike when you a very bad minded person you shrink all the time. I just see myself glowing and I think it is the grace of God most importantly.
What part of Nigeria exactly are you from?
I am from Odiabidi village in Ahoda East area of River state. Talking about where I come from, I conform so much to the promotional activities of my cultural value and heritage and that is why most of the time I sing in my dialect and because also my people honored me with a chieftaincy title years ago in 2006 and ten years later in 2016 my king made me with a high chief and a patriotic one to my people and I conform to my civic activities and roles.