I like to look classy, not trashy- Lamy Phillips


I have been singing since I was seven. My teacher entered me for a singing contest in primary school and at that time, I did not know I could sing.

I won the competition, and at that point, I realised I could sing but at that age, I was not encouraged to take it up. My family relocated to London and when I was in college in Brighton, I won different talent hunt contests and variety shows. One thing led to the other and I started doing back-up vocals for different studious in London and I just took it up from there.

• Education

I have a first degree in Business Administration from the University of Kent Canterbury and then I have a Masters degree in Strategic Change Management from the University of Nottingham and an Executive MBA from Penn State University.

• My kind of music

My music is just a reflection of whom I am. When I relocated to Nigeria, everybody said I have to do hip-hop or rap to make any impact. The truth is I cannot give what I do not have. My background and my upbringing made me a very deep thinker and it reflects in me when I am writing. I do not want to change my style or who I am to please the world. I have worked with artistes in the hip-hop/rap genre but that does not mean my music is compromised.

• Duties as UN Envoy

It is an esteemed responsibility because the United Nations gives you projects and we talk about issues of poverty and hunger in Africa. I am linked to ACT for Africa and we plan to visit orphanages in Africa. We would also be having talks with dignitaries on how to revive agriculture on the continent.

• Relocating to Nigeria

Many people ask me why I returned home and I tell them that because my parents travel a lot, it helped me have an open mind about returning home. I knew that I had outgrown America, I was bored professionally, and I knew I wanted to do music. I also wanted to raise a family in Nigeria. I want to die when I am very old and say I left a legacy in Nigeria and not in some strange land.

• The journey after first album

For me it has been a learning experience about myself. I realise I am actually stronger than I thought. My husband is superb because he helps me create boundaries, priorities and stick to my brand. I am thankful that I am being accepted and honoured in different places. For my next album, I am working with Femi Tones who has worked with Amy Winehouse.

• Combining marriage and music

I have a daughter and I am happily married. I have a fantastic husband and he is not one of those men who are intimidated. He is proud of me and that makes him more of a man than the other men that repress their wives. I prioritise and I understand that it’s God first, family and other things can then follow.

• Background

My dad is from Isale Eko in Lagos State but I am a blend of the whole world. I got my thinking, way of life and discipline from moving all over the world.

• Intimidation from men in my industry

I do not get intimidated but I get angry at the structure because they make it easier for the men than women. They celebrate the men and they have their big men’s club where they decide so many things.

• When I am not working

I eat, watch many movies and hang with my sisters.

• Upbringing

I have four siblings and I am the fourth child. In my mind, I am my dad’s favourite. Growing up, we travelled a lot because my dad was in the oil industry. For me, I schooled majorly in England and America.

• Musical inspiration

My life, the lives of other people and things I see every day. Everything around me is an inspiration. That is how I know music is a gift bestowed on me by God.

• My style

My favourite colour is black but comfort is important to me. If it is an award ceremony, I like to look classy, sexy, but definitely not trashy.

Lami Phillips is a neo-soul, afro-pop singer.

Lamy Phillips

Punch Nigeria