INTERVIEW: I still get nervous on stage – Aramide


Known for her soul soothing voice and enchanting lyrics, Afro soul singer and instrumentalist, Aramide Sarumoh, shares some secrets to her streak of successes in just few years into music career.

The Ibadan-born songstress, who is signed to Baseline music, won the Best vocal performance (female) Headies 2015, Alternative artist of the year in the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA) 2016. She also received many other awards and nominations.

In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Ebuka Onyeji, Aramide throws more light on her personal life and struggle to stardom.

PT: What is the unique ingredient that made you standout? How were you able to reach your target audience in this industry?

Aramide: First of all, I’m grateful for all the awards and everything and it’s all by the grace of God almighty. Secondly, finding my sound was something I didn’t really have to struggle with but making it acceptable was what I had to work extremely hard on. I always knew I had a niche market but I wanted to go beyond just having a small group of people who loved my type of music.

So, over time, I tried to study different sounds and styles of music. I learned to make my music relatable without compromising on my sound.

I think sticking to my sound and believing in myself has really done me a lot of good. I’m not the type that to copy or follow the crowd. I also believe that any music can be commercial as long as people can relate to it be it up-tempo or mid-tempo or whatever. Relatability for me is key.

PT: About the NEA awards, many have expressed concerns about the low turnout of Nigerian artistes, blaming that on the fact that the event held in New York. Do you think it’s okay to host a Nigerian music award abroad?

Aramide: The NEA award was cool and I had a great time. I believe any award ceremony can be hosted anywhere depending on the reach intended.  Nigerians are everywhere, so if the team at NEA thought let’s do it in New York, I am so sure they had their reasons, and it has been working for them over the years.

PT: I saw the video of your latest song, Funmilowo, it’s absolutely breathtaking! From the beat, lyrics, to the concept of the video, how did you come up with the idea? And why did you choose to feature Sir. Dauda in the song?

Aramide: I am glad you loved the video, and that people generally love it. The accolades haven’t stopped. From social media to one on one. It keeps pouring in.  The song was produced by Sizzle Pro and the video was shot by unlimited LA here in Lagos. The song was inspired by what an average person goes through especially after you offer a service and expect to get paid what has been agreed upon and gets cheated. It is a story about hustle and struggle. Nobody wants to work for free and we all want to get paid our dues. Also, the economy isn’t smiling at the moment so singing about it only made sense.

What we tried to do was to say something so serious in the simplest and funniest way so everyone can relate to it. Sir Dauda is a very good friend of one artiste of mine I truly respect. I had this crazy idea and we decided to work on it together. We wanted it to be fun and colourful and we were able to achieve that. It couldn’t have been any other person.

PT:   What are you currently working on and when are we expecting an album?

Aramide: I’ve been recording a lot lately. I’m working on my debut album, which I am super excited about. I can’t wait for people to hear my stories, how it all began and how I got here. That’s very important to me as an artist. I was announced as celebrity ambassador for Global Right- an NGO and our focus is mainly about the reduction of sexual violence in our society and how it continues to be a problem that no one is comfortable talking about.

PT:  You took the Entertainment industry by surprise when you won the Best Female performance category at the Headies 2015, how do you manage your stage performances? Do you normally get nervous on stage?

Aramide: Of Course, I still get nervous and I think that happens to everyone, I don’t think people really get over that completely. But speaking of performances, I try to leave everything on stage, I always try to give it my all and I’m still learning a lot.

PT:   Do you see Nigerian female musicians dominate the music industry soon?

Aramide: Anything is possible and yes female artists work very hard, and I am glad about the acceptance that we are getting. Look at Asa, she is buzzing in a totally different environment. There is a perception that female musicians come and go, Tiwa Savage has proved a lot of people wrong about that. She is the only Nigerian that has a RocNation deal – and she is female.

The likes of Waje and Omawumi stay grinding and making music that is accepted all over Africa and even the world. Seyi Shay has an international deal with Universal. In recent times, Simi and myself are making music that people told me won’t make money two years ago.  Niniola is buzzing with AfroPop, Cynthia Morgan with dancehall. We are getting there, and I am sure that with persistence and determination, we will all get there.

PT:    What would you change in the music industry if you had the opportunity to?

Aramide: The opportunity is here, and I am doing the little I can. We all need to pass a positive message that can go beyond the industry to the listeners. A message that you will be proud to share with the next generation – love, peace and harmony.

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