Benue State-born music damsel, Imelda Ada Okwori, whose stage name is Imelda J has got some aces up her sleeve and she is dealing them out just as nice to the delight of her growing fans, who can’t seem to get enough of her pop style.
Based in Lagos, she has been in the industry for the past six years, making good music but just as her good music has won for her many fans, so are controversies which continue to trail her wherever she goes Recently, our reporter caught up with her and it was a ding-dong session, particularly over a rumour making the rounds about the diva and another music star, Jaywon, and her relationship with the Governor of her State.
Excerpts: Let’s start with the rumour making the rounds that you are in a sizzling romance with Jaywon. Is it true?
It’s not true. I am not dating Jaywon.
It was reported you had a secret wedding with him recently. How about that?
Well, that’s a very big lie. I am not married to anyone. No secret wedding. I think it will be very rude of me to get married without the consent of my family. That was not part of my upbringing, and even if I am to get married, why would I do it in secret as if I am owing anybody. Please, that is not true. Something went wrong somewhere.
How do you mean ‘something went wrong somewhere’?
Yes. Something went wrong. The news came to me via a friend of Jaywon who called me on the telephone. I was in the church for Ash Wednesday mass at about 6 pm. He called me and when he said Jaywon just called him and told him that he heard a news about me and him being married, I was shocked. From that moment, I went sour and I could not even concentrate again while the mass lasted. He then forwarded some blog sites to me. After the mass, I summoned courage to open the blogs.
I read the story and the picture they uploaded. It was extracted from my video. However, so many questions started running through my mind. I know my Facebook and Twitter accounts have been hacked. But this particular picture was not hacked. And there was only one possibility left. I was attacked by armed robbers at Mile 2 on my way from Festac a week before this rumour. It is possible that my phone which was stolen during the incident got into the wrong hands. In that phone, I have the memory card that contains all my documents for the past five to six years. It has really weighed me down. Thank God I am not the type that keep nude pictures and all that, if not the story would have been more damaging than what it is now.
Was the video that raunchy ?
The song is a love song. In the video, we were very close and we played the role of two people in true love, ready to give everything to each other. I gave all my property to him and coincidentally, he did the same and it was romance all the way for real. Maybe that question should go to my director because I don’t know how he did the magic.
Away from that, how about the Chrysler car reported to have been bought for you by him as a birthday gift?
That is very funny to me. I am sure the person who wrote the story went online for a proper research about Imelda J. Aside having those pictures in my lost cell phone, the news and the picture of my car is on major blogs. The major gift I received on my birthday was from my aunt. I bought my car shortly after my show in Abuja. This is very sad. How people think a young lady can’t buy something by herself. Must every success of a woman be attributed to a man? All I know is that God is alive, watching us and our deeds.
He was also said to have bought you a wrist watch worth of $500.000?
Jaywon did not buy anything for me, please. Why should he do so for me, when I do not have anything to do with him, aside music. We are not even close friends on a normal day. I don’t call him on phone. We have good and normal working relationship just like with other artistes. Even if we were to be dating, I will not even expect such a gift from him because I think he still has a lot to put together as a young man.
How did you meet him in the first place?
I have been a fan of Jaywon for long, so I decided to do a collaboration with him. I was considering doing so with someone else but I decided to settle for him because my spirit was positive on having a collaboration with him and this should be done before every other artiste. I consulted my manager and she agreed to work on it. We met someone who introduced us to him. I must tell you it was strictly official. No strings attached.
If truly there is no chemistry between the two of you, why would your spirit chose him instead of any other artiste?
I feel connected to him musically each time I listen to the way he sings with passion. Things of the spirit cannot be understood by humans. I can’t explain that. With time I will understand why. But for now, I can’t really explain.
In a press release from Jaywon’s management published by NET online, he said he hasn’t met you before and you said the picture was from a collabo you did together; don’t you think one of you is lying?
Well, I did not read the press release. But according to my manager, she said some bloggers wrote that Jaywon denied he knows any Imelda. I lack words to qualify that. Maybe that was his own way of reacting to a shocking news. In my case, I kept quite and decided to reason so many things. Though it got to me like a hurricane. Meanwhile, I think NET has some cases to answer as regards the press release they did. My manager told me a whole lots of things. And those were complete misinformation, blackmail, defamation of character and all that. Just because you have the pen and you feel your pen is sharp does not guarantee you the right to write anything you feel like without proper investigation. I do not have any problem with Jaywon and the way he reacted by denying he ever knew me. When you see him, ask him if he has a twin brother that looks exactly like him and bears the same name. Or better still, maybe he has a clone that tweeted that and not him.
What is so special about you that top dignitaries in the country want to associate with you?
As you can see, this is just me. In my journey so far, I have realised that some people are jobless. And all they do is to talk what they don’t know. I am not denying the fact that I am close to some top dignitaries. But the truth is, I am not dating any of them. People think they know me but they don’t. I grew up in a political background. I can equally say I am a politician and close to some politicians.
I understand politics very well. I am a very friendly person. I have even been approached by most of my mentors to contest for some strategic positions because they know my capability of pulling weights. They believe in me. But I declined all of that, because for now, that is not my area of interest. I just want to be focused. I am not worried about what people say because they don’t know me. Just because you see me smiling to the bank does not mean it is courtesy of any political connection. I also do business. But I don’t like to show off.
I am the quite type when it comes to telling people things about myself because I have issues of trust. I have been betrayed severally and lost so much, even in my career. Besides, is it because I am a woman, if they are accusing me of such, how about 2face, Blackface, Terry G who have been to the government house severally. They are even closer to the politicians than me. Are they also dating them? So many artistes from Lagos have visited my State severally.
Acts like, Desmond Elliot, Omotola, Uche Jombo, I Go Dye, Mr Ibu, J Martins and host of others have been there times without number. Are they also dating those top dignitaries. Just because I am a young lady, and I am single does not mean I am ready to mingle at any time with anyone. I have a taste when it comes to men. And I am very hardworking. So the jobless can keep talking. To be frank with you, my State government supports and encourages the growth of entertainment.
Why the news about you is always about dating one person or the other?
You see, like I said, I am a very friendly person. I can’t change that about me. Maybe it’s one of the reasons. I am yet to discover why. And maybe because I am human or maybe they expect me to flaunt my boyfriend or brag about having a relationship. And because they don’t see all of that, they assume and conclude on my behalf as soon as they see me getting close to any man.
There is even a rumour that you are dating Governor Suswam?
You see, I have already answered that in your previous question. I don’t like talking about this because I respect my State governor a lot and he believes in my dream. I have been running away from talking to the press concerning this matter. I wonder how this rumour is still spreading. I have nothing to do with him. He is more like a father figure to me, especially in politics. He does not even have any idea of how much I admire and respect some of his leadership qualities. I hardly see him and most of the time we meet, it is by coincidence. Please, I will be grateful if the press can stop asking me henceforth
What happened between you and Yemisi Suswam when you met recently at an event?
Here you go again. What did you hear?
We learnt she ignored you at the event!
That was true. But I am not bothered
How did it happened and which event was that?
That was during a performance few years ago. It was the celebration of my State governor’s victory in the court. I wasn’t the only one who performed there. What she did was obvious, that a lot of people noticed it, even then I tried my best not to let it weighed me down, many kept calling and condemning the act. I chose to move on and gave it a blank ear because a clean conscience fears no accusation or anything. I don’t want to talk much on this. I am surprised that people are still talking about it as if it just happened. It is well oh. Abeg, I love my life oh.
What do you think made her not to respond to your greeting?
I don’t like jumping into conclusions. So I do not know. I can’t say anything concerning that again, please. If I say one thing now, someone else will misunderstand me. Just forget that matter please.
Are you presently in any relationship and how is his reaction to all these romance tales of yours?
Imelda J, from the day I made up my mind to do music professionally, I also made up my mind to face the consequences. It is a sacrifice. The road is not as easy as people think. Just like every other average man, you don’t expect him to be happy about it. Even if he chooses to understand, I know he feels hurt sometimes.
Musically, what are you up to?
I am up to so many things. I am trying to stay focused no matter who is trying to distract me .I will be dropping my new single soon. Both the audio and the video. The title is ‘Everything I do’ featuring Jaywon. I am also working on a follow-up singles shortly after I release the first single. My album is ready. And we did the promotional album launch in Abuja towards the end of last year. The final album will drop sometime this year but no particular date is fixed yet. I have a lot at hand for now. That reminds me. According to the press release from Jaywon’s management, I was told my management released an official statement for a publicity stunt. I want to state clearly here that I do not want to join issues with anyone. But I demand a copy of the said ‘official press release’ they said we gave to the press. I already have my plans rolling for the release of my latest single. I don’t need a stunt to promote this song.
Are they trying to say the story going on between Kennis music and Jaywon is a publicity stunt?
Today they are no more together. Tomorrow, Jaywon writes Kennis to buy his right. The next thing, they deny writing a withdrawal letter. Another day, Kennis music releases a statement to ban Jaywon’s song from the media.
The next thing, Jaywon says I am still with Kennis. So, tell me who is fooling who,
I see this as a major distraction but I have promised myself not to lose focus come what may . So expect so many good music and lovely videos from me this year. I have done so many collaborations but because of these enemies at work, I will not release any of the collabo any time soon.
Any regret on having a collabowith Jaywon?
No regrets at all. He is a very gentle guy. Well composed, homely, I must say. I love the job we did together. I love everything about working with him. The support, the passion, his time and everything was unexpected. Though, I didn’t foresee all this happening at the end of the day. But I believe it will all end in praise. No pain, no gain. This is my own fair share.
When do we see you getting marry?
You know marriage no be small pikin thing. I still be pikin oh. Just kidding. When I see someone I can happily cope with for the rest of my life. Its a spirit to soul thing. I am not in a haste. I can’t get married because others are getting married. I should get married when the time is ripe and God has the final