As afro and R&B singer, Imanse (Omowumi Fosudo), prepares for her show holding in Lagos on Friday, she speaks with AKEEM LASISI on her experience as an artiste
Apart from seizing every breath of inspiration that comes her way to compose songs, Imanse has been unusually busy in the past few weeks. The artiste who returned to Nigeria from the United States in 2013, after studying and working for some years in the country, has been fervently rehearsing towards Unveiling Imanse, a show she is staging in Lagos on Friday.
Although her music career started in the choir, she operates in the afro, R&B and pop fields. It was with such multi-genre fervour that she produced her singles that include Gbona, Original Somebody and Ife ti De. While she hopes to showcase bits of these songs on Friday, her passion for the programme is larger than personal aspiration. For one, she will give some up-and-coming singers, poets and dancers an opportunity to display their talents.
So intensive has been her rehearsal that she is discovering more about what she believes she is capable of doing. Her words, “I have been singing, dancing, talking, kicking and doing everything. I have discovered that there is a lot more I can do. I didn’t know I could be a performer as much as a music writer.”
According to her, the Nigerian music scene is very wide and ready to reward diligence and creativity. She, however, first found the scene cloudy on her return from the US. “I didn’t understand how things worked,” she adds. “It took me about three years of confusion to understand the terrain. Of course, one has to keep learning and discovering more.”
She is motivated by the opportunities and potential that the industry exudes. According to her, singing and performances apart, the Nigerian entertainment industry welcomes specialised productions for clients, sound tracks — just as the movie sector is becoming so rewarding that a film can gross as much as N400m and more.
She acknowledges that as serious-minded acts and other professionals are doing their things, day-dreamers and quacks also abound in the country. Yet, she counts herself lucky to have met the likes of Ikon and Cobhams Asuquo who produced some of her songs.
She says, “People like that have been great. Working with Cobhams took my artistry to a new level. He cared about producing a music that fits my brand, the type that can stand the test of time. I believe in music that tells stories and impacts on people’s lives — not empty entertainment.”
Imanse very much detests what she calls empty music, no matter how popular that may have become. Saying she believes in authentic art, she explains that it is the reason Asa is her biggest idol. Indeed, she confesses that the way Asa organises her shows influenced her preparation for the one she is staging at Oriental Hotel, Lekki, on Friday.
After the show, Imanse will step up work on her maiden album titled Hard Earned Feelings, which, she says, will be a sea of emotions. It encompasses love, anger, heartbreak, hope and all. “It is about everything, all experiences I have gone through,” she says.