A native of Nigeria in West Africa, from 1995-1997 Nneka was a familiar voice and face in Lagos’ top night spots and hotels, leading jazz, rock&roll, R&B and African “highlife” bands. A former model, she has graced the covers of several Nigerian magazines and was co-hostess of a popular music show. In 1997 Nneka was nominated Nigeria’s most promising female vocalist. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia in November 1997.
The debut album from popular Nigerian female artist, Nneka Obata. A mix of rhythm and blues, jazz, pop, hip hop and African material, all the music is original.
In an exclusive interview with VRH-Celebbuzz, Nneka talks about her music career, family dreams and aspirations.
1.Tell us a little bit about yourself and career history?
Well, I’m Nigerian born singer, songwriter and producer!! Music is me and I am music. It’s been in my blood from day one. But I believe that at age 5 I really knew music it’s a part of me and ( LOL) I loved the attention I got as result of always wanting to sing for anyone who cared to listen… My late father, Chief A.B.O Obata, introduced me to music early cause I remember listening to the greats like, Etta James, Millie Jackson, Diana Ross, Earth Wind & Fire to mention a few.. I learn from them and it shows in my style of writing today!
2. When and how did you come into music?
I started performing professionally in my early 20’s in Benin before moving to Lagos where I performed at the popular spot PINTOS & at KAS night club!!
3. What kind of music did you listen to as a child growing up?
Growing up I listened to a lot of Jazz!! I also listened to classic R&B & Nigerian high-life music but as I grew older, I listened to every genre of music.. But I have to admit, I only started listening to gospel lately thanks to my big sister lol! I love it and listen to it now everyday especially at night to relax and connect with God!!
4. How would you describe your kind of music?
Ahh! My style of music is very unique but yet very versatile… I write and produce every genre of music, but I’m mostly “SOULJAZZ”…. See I write from my heart and mostly write from personal experience and with that Nneka brings alotta SOOOOuL!!
5. Is your family musically Oriented?
OoooooOh Yes!! I come from a family with talents like you won’t believe. My late dad was a singer who played in a band in the early 60’s. I got sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces’ cousins with the same musical talent like I have… However, NOT everyone knows my sister Primrose can sing and who is always the first to admit she can’t sing lol! But, we’re pretty talented in my family!
6.In what way did your family do to encourage you?
Well the ones or rather the few ones who do wish nothing but the best for me. Their love, prayers and support kept me going especially in times when I just didn’t have the strength to keep going!! And to me that’s enough and hopefully I make ’em proud someday!
7. Who are your musical inspirations?
There are a handfull of artist young & old out there who inspire me. Artist like, Sade, Etta James, Millie Jackson, Barry white, Alicia Keys, Fantasia, Onyeka Owenu, Fela Kuti and so many others.
8. Do you enjoy writing music and/or lyrics?
I really do enjoy writing my own songs because i write from experience.. And I always say that ONLY me can tell my story through my lyrics because i have lived every word… I write from my heart, whether happy love songs OR sad love songs, it’s all me.
9. What kind of music do you play and listen to today?
Hmm…. well, lately, every morning I listen to a gospel Cd. And in between, I listen to various artist like Fela, Fantasia, Etta James & I gotta admit I also listen to my own Music from time to time.. (Lol don’t ask me why honey, I just do)
10. Do you listen to Nigerian Artistes, if yes what are their names?
Ok…. I’m not gonna lie, I pretty much only listen to Fela Kuti. But lately I’ve been listening to Wiz Kid and I think I like him and getting around to becoming a huge fan!!
11. We learnt you planning on taking Nigeria by storm soon what can we expect from you?
Hahahah really? Well I plan on it in the very near future. As an Indie artist, I have no choice but to go at my own pace!! And as a proud Nigerian, I will loveeeeeeeeeeeeee to someday soon return home and perform a couple of shows and reconnect with my people!!
12. Do you have any particular Nigerian artist/producer you would like to work with in the near future?
Oh yeah, without a doubt, Don Jazzy!! He’s a cool guy!! And a very talented producer I might add.
13. What are your goals/dreams in life?
Well so many, I gotta say!! I had dreams from when I was a little girl of making it big in the music industry and even though it seems to be taking a lifetime, I will no doubt get there in God’s time. But my dream is to own a huge recording studio someday and write and produce for other artists. I also would like to start a charity where I give back and do a lot of speaking about everything from domestic abuse to depression to basically LIFE!! I have a lot to share BUT I also wanna listen and let those people out there know that they are NOT alone.. But most of all, I REALLY wanna be a mother!!!
14. What qualities do you like in people, and which traits put you off when dealing with people?
I like people who stand by their word!! Being different is good because that makes you very unique, so staying true to yourself is something I look for when dealing with people!!
15. If you had the opportunity to wish, what would it be?
I wish for so many things. I wish to be content and happy! But most of all I wish to be accepted the way I am and NOT be judged. After all, God made me this way!!