Omawumi Keeps Going On Her Latest Project “More”
Emerging onto the music scene as the runner-up in the 2007 West African Idols competition, Omawumi Megbele has since become a prominent figure in Nigerian music. Known for her unique style and captivating voice, she navigates various genres like Afrobeats, R&B, and soul, appealing to a diverse audience.
Omawumi's music resonates with everyday experiences, addressing themes of love, hope, the pursuit of dreams, and adversity, seen in songs like ‘If You Ask Me’—inspired by a conversation she overheard between a father and daughter, which highlighted sexual abuse and incest, as well as it's far reaching consequences.
Through four albums and one EP, Omawumi has solidified her position as one of Nigeria's most melodious voices and more iconic female artists, conveying a spectrum of emotions with her expansive vocal range. She has taken on the roles of storyteller, poet, and musician in her craft.
Her latest project, an eight-song LP titled "More" produced by Cobhams Asuquo, marks another chapter in her illustrious musical journey. Omawumi leaves us with messages of resilience, authenticity, and the enduring power of prayer in navigating life's challenges.
This interview offers a deep dive into her soul, reinforcing her position as a musical luminary with a profound impact on both personal and societal levels.
Read the full interview below:
Your musical style spans across Afrobeat, R&B, and soul. How do you navigate these genres to create a sound that resonates with a diverse audience, and how does this diversity contribute to your advocacy for women's rights?
Music and the process of making music is somewhat peculiar to how I am feeling or what resonates within me during the time I am being inspired, and because I grew up being exposed to different genres of music, It reflects in how the music comes to me.
The diversity of the genres of music helps me connect with different age brackets so it widens my range of listeners and that puts what I have to say in a lot of people's ears.
From your latest LP, "More," are there specific stories or experiences that inspired the songs on this album, especially those that align with the themes of love, hope, adversity, and the pursuit of dreams?
I was fortunate to have amazing co-writers on this body of work so while some of the stories are relatable, none is specific to me.
As an artist who speaks to the common person, how do you ensure your music remains accessible and relatable while addressing complex and sometimes sensitive topics?
I have been blessed to have ardent followers of my music so to be honest, I just do what I have always done- make music, the intricacies of the strategies I don't honestly know how that works itself out. Per relatability, I just speak in the language I understand.
In "More," you delve into both historical and recent past experiences. How do you balance reflecting on personal stories with addressing broader societal issues, particularly in the context of women's rights?
One thing I understood early in my career is that everybody is going through something, and connects with someone who understands or mirrors what they are going through, from topics of social/political issues to issues like unrequited love. And because of that, it's easier to make that kind of music as opposed to 'baby roll for me and whine for me'.
"Thank God" seems to express gratitude for divine guidance in your journey. Can you share a specific moment or experience that inspired this song and the role faith plays in your life and career?
There's a line in this song that says 'cos if I play my cassette, you go see why e set'... every single success is attributed to God Almighty, it is only right that I put it into music.
Faith plays a big role in my life and career. The immense support and all the ladder I don climb, na God do am. I am an independent artist without any label for the past 15 years and no godfather…you sef check am!
I had always known I wanted Timi Dakolo on a song, what I didn't know was what type of genre I wanted, I thought we were going to go the singing, 'show me your vocal throat' route being that we were both products of a singing reality show and very strong careers. But the person wey join connect us i.e Cobhams said “Omawumi, why don't we use a different route…give them something unexpected like highlife!” and of course it came out amazing!
So far my favorite song off the project is "More," featuring Psycho YP. What's the story behind this message, and do you believe the song contributes to discussions about love and authenticity?
Really? I like 'More' too! And PsychoYP just killed his verse abeg!
I think that it does contribute in the sense that a lot of people are in relationships where their partners are not doing as good as they should, their partners take them for granted and so on… all I'm saying is there has to be More if you want me to still be with you. I think it's a conversation that should be had.
In "Yolo," you encourage listeners to find solace and seize opportunities. How does the concept of "Yolo" (You Only Live Once) resonate with you personally, and what advice do you have for your fans in embracing life's opportunities?
So I wasn't always a fan of YOLO for reasons best known to me…after the pandemic hit, and I saw how fickle life can be, I had to jolt myself into the reality of YOLO. Life is only one so be intentional about what brings you joy. Find happiness in everything! Finish!
"No Be Play" motivates us to face adversity and criticism with prayer and conquer our fears. Can you elaborate on the significance of prayer in your life and how it has helped you navigate challenges in both your personal and professional journey?
Prayer has always been an important staple in my life. I pray about everything!(I learnt that from my mom) I pray about traffic, I pray about my tailor and delays, I pray about the simplest of things as well as the complex.
I pray with my friends and family and I have praying friends and family! It's just like breathing to us.