24-year-old Sandra Ifudu, niece of legendary singer, Dora Ifudu, is looking to outdo her aunt in the craft of music by bringing out something special in herself even when she had decided that her genre would be inspirational and gospel music.
She had tasted the waters with a release of a single ‘Let it Go’ which may very well put her on the gravy train to fame.
But unlike most gospel singers, the English graduate of Madonna University doesn’t intend to carry herself with the air and style of Mother Theresa, she’s ready to unleash a bit of her womanhood, without going overboard or flaunting her S3xuality. How would she do it? Hear her story and how she intends to sell her gospel to the secular market:
Why did you choose gospel music?
It’s not just gospel music. I just do positive, meaningful music with meaningful lyrics. There are so many things to talk about; love, peace and so on. I just want to inspire people.
What are you working on now?
I just released a single, Let it go. It’s been out on the blogs and right now, I’m doing radio promotion.
What’s the song about?
Let it go as the name implies is a feel-good song for people to let go of their worries, be happy and trust God to take care of all their troubles.
What is going to distinguish you from other artistes?
A lot of people see gospel music as boring and that’s why it’s not really selling, especially in Nigeria, because Nigerians like party songs. I want to instruct, educate and entertain at the same time. I’m going to put the Nigerian market into consideration by giving them something they can dance to, but the lyrics will be gospel.
Does that mean you will be doing more of the fast-paced songs?
I’m versatile, I can do the slow songs, but I want to consider Nigerians and the Nigerian market. Nigerians like danceable songs. Personally, I like slow gospel songs, but to be considerate, I’d like to infuse the party songs with good gospel lyrics.
Don’t you think that by so doing, you won’t be staying true to yourself, doing songs for the Nigerian market and not what you really want?
The fact that I’m doing gospel and inspirational songs is being true to myself. If I wanted to totally please people and not please myself, I won’t even do gospel, because gospel music doesn’t sell in Nigeria. I’m doing gospel because I want to be true to myself, but at the same time not to be totally selfish. Make everybody happy.
A lot of gospel artistes do dance tracks, what’s going to be unique about your own kind of songs?
I don’t think there are a lot of people doing gospel dance tracks in Nigeria. But even if there are, I’m going to be different and I’ll stand out. I’m going to bring my uniqueness to the table with my lyrics and style. There are things that are not considered gospel that I infuse in my lyrics. I use the word ‘Baby’ and other side attractions to spice it up so it’s not boring.
Is this your first song?
Yes, it’s my first single. I’m promoting it now. I may shoot the video now or just go straight to do another song. But right now, I just want to use the song to introduce myself.
What’s the motivation, is it a calling or a career choice?
Right from childhood, I had always wanted to do music. Music is my passion. I recently decided to do gospel music because there are a lot of issues to talk about. I grew up thinking I was going to be an RnB artiste, because I was inspired by Maria Carey, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and I thought I’d be doing their kind of music. But as I grew older, I discovered that I want to talk about meaningful things, do positive, peaceful music that will inspire people and so I chose to do gospel/inspirational music.
By inspirational, how do you mean?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. You can be an inspirational artiste and sing love songs. You can inspire people in different ways and with different things. You can inspire people to be good, to love and do different things. As an inspirational artiste, every issue is worth talking about. It’s broader than gospel, that’s why I don’t want to be classified as just gospel.
Can you feature a secular artiste in your songs?
Yes, provided the lyrics are good and decent. It all depends on what they say in the song. The fact that they do secular songs doesn’t make them devils. Most of them have gospel tracks. They’re not anti-gospel because they do secular music.
Besides doing music, do you hope to do other forms of entertainment?
Yes, I’m an aspiring actress. I’ll love to do a few movies along the line. Acting is my first love. I fell in love with acting years before I knew I could sing.
What if you were required to interpret some S3xually explicit roles?
No, I won’t accept that. As a gospel artiste, I don’t want to confuse my audience by doing gospel songs and then doing a different thing elsewhere. I’m going to be very selective as an actress.
So where will you draw the line?
I think I will know where to draw the line. Kissing is make-believe and it’s okay. But there’s isn’t going to be any form of nudity.
Are you in a relationship at the moment?
What’s your ideal man like?
It’s normal to be attracted to the physical appearance. I like good-looking men, it doesn’t matter if he’s tall or short, as long as he’s good-looking and God-fearing.
Won’t you consider the size of his purse?
If he’s good-looking and has a bright future, that is, if he’s educated and there is hope that things would get better in the future, then it’s fine. But if there is no hope, then it’s a No-No.
Where do you hope to see yourself few years from now?
I hope to be very popular not just within, but outside the country. I hope to have a very strong fan base. I want to fall among the top ten artistes in Nigeria. I really want to be relevant in the industry.
If you were invited to perform in a club or a secular show, would you go?
The fact that I do gospel/inspirational music doesn’t mean I’m a saint walking on earth or an angel. I have my own shortcomings. If I’m invited to a club to do my gospel music,why not?
Don’t you think that would contradict what you represent?
In the Bible, Jesus Christ said he came for sinners, not the saints. He was always seen with tax collectors and Pr0stitutes. Why will I not go to the club to do my music, if Jesus Christ could mingle with such people? At the end of the day, what you want to achieve is to reach out to people. So, why will I reject an opportunity to do that? As long as I’m going there to do my song, I don’t see why I shouldn’t.
A lot of artistes started out doing gospel and along the line, they got distracted and started doing other kinds of songs, how do you intend to remain on the path you’ve chosen for yourself?
I’m passionate about it. I thought about it very well before going into it. While I was growing up, I was mostly inspired by meaningful, positive and inspirational music. There were so many times I was down while growing up as a young girl. These songs motivated me a lot. So I said to myself that I wanted to use my music to help and motivate people. There was a time I felt like committing suicide, just giving up and I listened to a song and it was as if the singer was talking to me and it helped me from such depressing moments. I want to do that for someone else.
Could you share some of those moments when you felt like giving up?
While I was growing up, I was bullied a lot because I was ugly. I didn’t know how I was transformed, but I knew and I was also told that I was ugly. I was teased a lot at school and I felt there was no hope for me, because I was very big and very ugly. I hardly went out and was under house arrest most of the time and my sister was so beautiful and slim. I felt like killing myself, but when I listened to these songs they really motivated me.
How were you able to conquer that feeling?
I was growing and I guess my appearance began to change and I started working on myself. My self-esteem also improved. Even if I go back to whatever I used to look like, it won’t be that bad. I was a kid then, I didn’t know how to handle issues, but I’m grown now.Are you related to the 70’s, 80’s singer, Dora Ifudu?
Yes, she’s my aunty, my dad’s younger sister. She was really great. She was popular those days alongside the likes of Christy Essien Igbokwe and Onyeka Onwenu.
What should people expect from you?
They should expect positive songs with good lyrics which is really lacking in Nigeria.
— By Juliet Ebirim and Kehinde Ajose