Zainab Sule is a soft rock musician based in Abuja. A graduate of Mathematics from the university of Jos, she started performming while still in school. She is currently not signed to a record label but posts most of her songs on her personal website, zainabsule.com and on YouTube.
She compares her style of music to Tracy Chapman’s and like the American singer, Zainab is proficient on the guitar.
PT: When did you decide that you wanted to be a musician?
Zainab: I didn’t just decide to be a musician. It kinda came naturally. I actually wanted to be a doctor and did ‘remedials’ just for that. But God no gree me.
I grew up surrounded by the music of Don Williams, Dolly Parton, Amy Grant, and so many country greats; so, it wasn’t a surprise to find out that I’d venture out as a musician on my own.
PT: Why soft rock?
Zainab: There’s something about slow music that always gets me. It’s in the lyrics, the strings and the voice of the singer. There’s a way soft/slow rock makes you feel as opposed to the fast, hyped music. I always wanted to play music that will serve as music for your soul.
PT: When did you become a professional musician?
Zainab: I started music professionally in 2010 though I had been playing music longer than that. Not-professionally, I would say the stirrings of my career started in the University of Jos, in 2002, under the art gallery of a school fellowship named G-Force. That was where I started.
PT: What has been the response so far,especially to your genre of music?
Zainab: The response has been amazing. I know loads of musicians say this – but for real, I have met some amazing people, who, one way or another, have helped moved my career forward. And the fans, well, they keep growing. I have been lucky in this.
PT: How many albums/singles have you recorded?
Zainab: I have 2 albums, and I’ve already started work on the third. The first came out in 2010, titled Attitude. Then in 2012, I released Elixir. They are available at local stores in Abuja and also on iTunes, Amazon, and other online stores. You can also buy them directly on www.zainabsule.com
PT: Who are your inspirations/role models?
Zainab: I wouldn’t call them inspirations or role models, but there are certain people who I love what they are about, and how they’ve taken their career to the next level. One of such is Orianthi. She’s a female guitarist and an amazing singer. Just Google her, let me not say much. She was to be the main guitarist for Michael Jackson before he died. Another person who I admire his tenacity is Keziah Jones. When I first saw his picture, I never knew he was Nigerian. Then I followed his career closely and literally swooned. He has come a long way. I’d also name Brian Adams, Kelly Clarkson, and Carrie Underwood as people I greatly admire.
PT:Has music been financially profitable for you?
Zainab: Chai. This na Jamb question. But yes, music has, and is paying bills. Like I said earlier, I’m just a bit lucky. God has been good.
PT: Do you have a day job? What is it?
Zainab: Hmm…I wouldn’t call it a day job but I do have what I do on the side. And I’ve been doing that almost for as long as I’ve been playing music. It’s not a day job because I still own my time -all 24 hours of it.
PT: Do you dream of a day when you can quit your day job and focus on your music?
Zainab: No, I don’t think I can ever quit that because of the number of people tied to it. But at the same time, like I said earlier, I own all 24 hours of my time. So, all I do is notify my clients that I’d be away. This is always okay because they know the life of a musician.
PT: Are you in a relationship? What is his name? Tell us about him.
Zainab: Yes, I am. Nope, I cannot say anything about him o.
PT: What does your significant other think about your music?
Zainab: He’s ok with it. Him no get choice.
PT: Do you have support from your family to pursue music?
Zainab: Yeah. My mom happens to be one of my biggest fans. They have been amazingly supportive.
PT: What advice would you give to upcoming/struggling musicians?
Zainab: I would tell them to persist, to never give up. Even when it seems there’s no other way, whatever you do, don’t stop. And keep your ego in your pocket or you won’t go very far.
PT: How long did it take to learn the guitar? Apart from it, what other instrument do you play?
Zainab: Most of my university days in Jos were spent learning to master the guitar. I started playing in 2002. And nope, no other instrument. One’s wahala is enough!
Watch Zainab’s video for I’ll Make You Dance: I’ll Make You Dance Official Music Video by Zainab Sule