An Abuja based artiste, Julietta Ofuyeta, who is also the owner of Diamond Record Label, in an interview with Tobias Lengnan Dapam, spoke on how an American music icon, Kenny Rogers replied her poem at the age of 13. She also spoke about some of the pressing issues in the Nigerian music industry. Excerpts:
Who is julietta in the music industry?
Julietta is an Abuja based artiste and an actress. I have been in the industry for quite some time performing with a live band and studio. I released my first album in 1999. I presently own a record label and am promoting young artiste.
What is music to you?
Music is everything to me. I can’t imagine life without music. I had opportunity to be a banker and a boutique owner but I chose music because that is where I belong.
What drive you in to music?
Music is a childhood dream for me. As a child, I always go to the library and write poems. I even wrote a poem to Kenny Rogers when I was 13 years old and he replied me. I was reading a magazine and saw an entry for sending poetry. I wrote a very sweet poem and post to him and indicate my age. He wrote back that he liked the poem and would like to meet the young talented person that wrote it. But we couldn’t afford the trip.
With the Nigerian style of music, do you think we are making headway?
Well, it is two ways. On one hand, we are making head way, and on the other hand, we are not making headway. We are making headway because we are being recognised by the western world unlike years back when nobody recognised us. However, our talents are not hat great. We copy the western music a lot and the western world is accepting what we are giving. And if you look critically these days, the western musicians are copying us. So, there is a little improvement but I think we can do more.
What in specific terms do you think the musicians need to do to compete favourably?
I think we should work hard. But the truth is that we are trying compared to what others are giving out. But we can still do more in adding value to the music. If you listen to the music now you will see that the music is crazy and everybody now is talking about illuminati. The moral that once ruled the industry is no more. So wherever you look, there is work to be done.
What is your experience in grooming young talents?
What I am doing is to give them a chosen career; but some of them when they come, it is like starting from the scratch- we try to make them better artiste. I always want people under my Diamond Record Label to be the best and that is what I am doing.
What are the challenges involved in performing on stage and singing in the studio?
That has been my luck because it is not easy, and that is what I have been training artiste to do. I have many artistes on my record label and we train them on instruments and live performances. I have made a lot as Queen Julietta and the Diamond Band and that keeps me going. But for Julietta as an artiste, I have not made anything. Most times we perform in free shows but when the time comes to pay money, the organizers will opt for Lagos artistes. I started with live band and I feel like a true musician because I can combine the two effectively. Some musicians only sing well in the studio but cannot perform on stage.
Do you have a role model in the Nigeria music industry?
Yes, I have people like Onyeka, Majek Fashek and Alex O. I think that is my generation kind of music. But recently, I like people like Omawumi, Asher and Mavin crew.
Where do you see Nigeria music in the next five years?
I see them rising to the contemporary changes. Presently, the Ghanians and South Africans are waking up from their slumber. It is really competitive but I believe that Nigerians always aspire to be the best.
As an actress, have you featured in any movie before?
Yes, I featured in two movies; one with a major role and the other one is a minor role. I starred in ‘only for love,’ the producer is from Sierra Leone’; I acted as a mother to Rita Dominic and a wife to late Enebeli. It was challenging then but I loved it. I am also working towards shooting my own movie.
If given a choice, will you settle for movie or music?
My number one is music because music has become part of my life. The movie am shooting is a movie/
music kind of movie.
What is your advice to young artiste?
They should work hard and do a lot of research. They should stay away from drugs and take things easy. Music these days need serious commitment like any other profession and they should always pray that luck is on their side to enter a good record label that will help them make waves. They should also have in mind that the industry is more about spending than making money- money doesn’t come from CD sells like before but from shows. These days’ people download free online so producers of the music don’t get anything. That is why we advice them to take second jobs.