There Is Scarcity Of Men Of Character —Waje

Aituaje EbeleIruobe popularly known as Waje is one of Nigeria’s star acts, a soul singer, vocalist and businesswoman. She started singing at a very tender age but was brought to limelight with the remix of Psquare’sOmoge Mi. The Ondo born and Enugu bred star was launched to the global space with the release of her first ever album in 2013 eponymously titled. The multiple award-winning songstress and single mother spoke to Newton-Ray Ukwuoma in a mail chat about her career and aspirations.
You are one of the celebrities who give fans money on Instagram.
How do you know I secretly give money?

I follow you on Instagram and see the appreciations. How often do you respond to people who ask for financial help on social media?

Well, I guess I don’t reply very often. I know things are really difficult for the young people but I also believe this has become the norm these days

Do too many requests sometimes put you off?

I’m human and have my own challenges.

Recently you told some fans that you have no money. Was it as a result of your frustration over too many requests or is it true?
Maybe I didn’t have enough to spare at the time or it could be that the requests were too many. Can’t really say.

Do you have a side hustle outside music?
My baby sister and I started a food delivery service and my bestie and I just started a media company.

Judging by your posts on Instagram, you have been motivated by the royal wedding. What is your major lesson/inspiration about Meghan?
That your past doesn’t determine your future, your decisions do.

You recently made Jared your new crush. Has Jared noticed your efforts to reach him?
[Laughs] Amen oh!  He hasn’t noticed me yet but it’s a harmless crush.

What fascinates you about him? 
He’s such an amazing actor and musician. I find it fascinating that he carries me through the journeys of all the characters he plays and then I listen to him and don’t remember he is an actor side. It’s like a multiple personality syndrome. I wish I was that good

Don Jazzy has had a crush on Riri for a long time, Destiny Amaka on 50 Cent. Do you think you will succeed with Jared?   
My dear, who knows? Maybe someone will show him this interview about some chic in Nigeria and the rest will be history. The world is a small village now. Nothing is impossible.

What message stays longest with you about your song with Yemi Alade titled, ‘I am available’? 
The title, I guess! Because I am literally available.

Our tradition frowns at women wooing men. In the light of what obtains in the modern world, do you think that prejudice needs to take a back seat?
I think that every individual needs to experience life the way he deems fit. As long as you are not offending the creator, if you like or love someone, go for him/her. I know I would.

Do you think marriageable men are scarce?
There is scarcity of men of character. That is all I can say.
Your music has sincerely been described as rich, deep and intense, but OminiKnowest was released at a critical point in your music career. What is the story behind it?
I was just tired of everyone telling me what to do, what kind of songs to sing, how to dress, how to carry myself, etc. And these people don’t even know me, but my music. So, I am wondering, why do you care? I was coming into my own and just thought to voice what was in my head and heart.

Have you ever been discouraged from doing music?
I don’t get discouraged because it’s who I am, it’s like being discouraged about bearing my name. I take what needs to be taken and move on. If it’s just a rant, I ignore and move on.

How do you handle scandals?
I’m pretty private and I like it that way.

You grew up in Nsukka. How has growing up in the East shaped your music career?
The way I write and tell my stories are from my young experiences and influences in that city.

What is your most memorable experience growing up? 
My very first performance in Nsukka. Singing ‘I will always love you’ by Whitney in a red dress with no instrumentals, just my voice and a stunned crowd. It was amazing and that has remained with me for a long time.

What does Waje mean to you?
Some say Waje means Words Are (not) Just Enough, but it means strength, love, boldness, success, hope to me.

What new projects are you working on?
I am currently working on releasing an EP. I have been shooting some videos now, very soon folks will be hearing from Waje.

How would you assess 2018 career-wise? What are your expectations for the rest of the year?
I am at a very critical and interesting time of my life, personally and career wise, so many things are happening and changing and I can only hope and pray that it will be the best year ever.

You recently released Each Other, and if you have listened to Falz’s This is Nigeria, what is your message to leaders and Nigerians about the next election?
My message will be to the youth: we need to show that we will hold them accountable. Twitter rants are great but let’s find our way and sit on that policy-making table. Ask questions, get answers and truly be the government that we are supposed to be.

Do you think the time we live in warrants the return of activists’ music like Fela’s?
Yes, but it shouldn’t only end in music. Every individual or citizen is a force. In your sphere, what have you done to change things?  Does your local government know you exist? Are they scared that you and some other citizens put them to work? Not because you want to run for office but because you know you are a law abiding citizen, pay your taxes and won’t tolerate a non-functional primary health care system, bad road, bad water, etc. We are all activists so there is no leaving this job for only musicians. They have the voice because of their songs but their job is to amplify you not themselves so if you don’t speak then, who will? Please, correct me if I’m wrong but everything that has happened in this beautiful country has affected us just because we left the job for someone to do at every given time. Are we not tired of delegating?

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