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All that Glitters is Goldie

Thursday February 02 2012    |     Views: 3904    |     Comments: 0   |     Print    Bookmark and Share


Goldie isn’t your average artiste. Her quirky and extravagant videos have earned her the moniker ‘African Lady Gaga.’ Indeed, her music videos are unique blends of creativity, showmanship and artistic flair. Everything she touches turns into gold. Contrary to her larger-than-life image on screen, the Goldie that spoke to Shile Shonoiki in this interview was subdued, charming and articulate.

How did your childhood influence your move into entertainment?

I grew up in Lagos. I am the first born of my parents. We lived in the Anthony area of Lagos and I attended Green Springs primary school and then St John’s College. My parents were very religious; my father was extremely strict. Both of my parents worked in the banking profession. When I was growing up, I had no social life apart from school or church. I was not allowed to have toys. We were not allowed to watch any movies that did not have Jesus Christ of Nazareth or the Ten Commandments, so my childhood was very regimented. As a result, I learnt to spend a lot of time with myself, just drawing and writing and whiling away time; entertaining myself, so to speak.


You studied Business Management. Why that career path?

I had a degree in Business Management from Sunderland University. Business Management because it seemed like the easiest thing to study. I wanted to be a lawyer. I did have an A in Diploma in Law. But I felt like Business Management was an all-rounder, and for me it seemed easy, apart from English. If you have a background in business management, from there you can decide to do any other thing; if you decide to build up from there, it’s easy for you.


So how did music start from a background in Business Management?

I’ve always been writing; writing little short stories, little poems, just funny quirky things. I had always enjoyed singing. I was in church choir in primary, secondary school, but I actually never thought I’d go into music. Then when I was in the UK something changed. I fell in love the pop-rock scene. There was a period in my life when I went very dark, like real Goth.  Then I and a group of people in my school formed this pop-rock band and we performed. Then, it all started as a joke really. There was this band that came to the London to perform and we went there and some of them had guitars and the next thing we just started writing songs and even recorded a demo. My first time in the studio was in London. So we had that group and from there I was like I enjoyed this, this is the creative outlet that I never imagined possible. I just felt really comfortable doing it; there was no hassle, it was just really fun.

When I came back to Nigeria, I wasn’t thinking of doing music. I started my own business, just a date reminder service; sort of an event planning business where I package gift for people on anniversaries, birthdays and stuffs like that. So I went to do a radio jingle and I met Mannie of Cool FM. Then he was a producer, and we were talking about what sort of jingle I wanted. And we started playing the guitar and the piano and I was like, ‘Aah, I used to have a pop-rock band in the UK!’ And I listened to some of his stuff and I was like, mehn this can go to the studio. And you know just like that, we wrote some stuffs together. We went to the studio and recorded. Then I thought, ‘Music is finding me!’ Then I hooked up with OJB Jezreel and then I ended up releasing my first single in 2007, produced by OJB.


Business Management, and then music. Do you think all that education was wasted? What did your parents think?

You need education to do music! Everybody who is into music has to have some level of education, to be able to connect with their fans on a long term. I mean, not that everybody must have a degree. It’s very good and it’s essential, but even those who don’t have the degree need to have some level of qualification, some level of intellect. Music is all about communicating, using notes, using sounds, using your lyrics and your words. If you cannot communicate, how would you get a feedback from your audience? And you need education to be able to communicate, otherwise you’ll be barking at people like a dog. Education, for me, is part of what has brought me to where I am today. If I didn’t have that degree, I don’t think I will have that level of articulation to communicate with the people the way I’m able to.

My dad used to say to me that you have politicians, doctors in your family. Everyone has PhD, everybody has two degrees, maters everything. And that he’s always known that since I was young, I’ve always had a high level of imaginary fancy thinking. ‘You’ve never been in this world. When everybody is talking, you are thinking outside of the box. We all knew you’ll go into this kind of thing. Anyway, God has given you the talent just make sure you make good use of it and leave a legacy, because at the end of the day, every talent is only a talent if you make good use of it and use it to do positive stuff.’ He wasn’t really pleased with me, but because he loves me, he’ll support me in my chosen career. And for the mere fact that he knows that I have a degree, he knows that I can always work and do something else.


Most people who studied abroad prefer to stay there. Why did you come back?

As the firstborn of my parents, I have younger siblings. My growing up was here, I mean my primary and secondary education, so I had a more vast understanding of myself  and my situation here. Even though I had friends there, I was more comfortable in my own environment. I didn’t think I would come back; it’s really weird. I actually thought I would stay there. What I actually had in mind was that I would come, do my business for a while, and then move it back there and spread. Because even then, I used to package gifts for people in UK from here. I used to do that because I had people that used to help me ensure that those things got sorted. But then one thing just led to the other and I just decided…  It was not even like a decision, a conscious decision; it just happened and you go with the flow.


Where did the name Goldie come from?

The name Goldie was a nickname from my friends. I was born reddish brown, as in my complexion. When I was growing up, teachers used to call me “red”, “orombo” and all those weird names, and then my friends in the UK nicknamed me “Goldie.” I don’t know why, but there was a point as well that I liked everything metallic and shinny;  whenever I go shopping, if I see anything metallic I take it even if it’s not fine! But I think it’s because of my skin tone and my hair colour; I even had a low cut then and my hair was gold.


People have called you The African Lady Gaga. How much of an influence does she have on your dressing and videos?

The Lady Gaga comparison is very flattering! She’s an iconic superstar, very hardworking and extremely talented. But I’ve always been a little bit quirky even before I started music. If you talk to some of my friends in the UK, they will tell you Goldie has always been weird. And I only do things in a way only I can pull off, so I always had that kind of flair. If you look at my past videos like 2007, 2008, when lady gaga was not really that popular, I had always had this flair.

I’m inspired by vintage couture. I had always loved vintage, all the lace, the satin, the leather, the suede. But because we are in the modern age, the 21st century, I like to see myself as a futuristic version of my vintage persona.


Which musicians did you look up to as role models while growing up?

I grew up listening to Michael Jackson; I love Michael Jackson silly! Elton John, Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Prince and George Michael. So I was very pop growing up. But the people I love now really, you see so many of them on TV and they are your peers. You don’t look up to them as role models because you are in the same time. So you only admire their work, but they are not really your role models because you see that you are more or less doing the same thing. There’s nothing that they are doing that you can’t really do. I mean I admire some people’s work but I won’t say that they are my role models.


What makes your music different from that of other artistes?

What sets my music apart is the way I combine my lyrics, with a little bit of humour, truth and satire. I’m able to sing about the nitty-gritty of what really goes on, without really being too open about it. For example, the chorus of my song ‘You Know It.’ Those are stuffs that happen every time, but nobody really wants to talk about them. At the end of the day, when they end up singing about it, it could look a bit confrontational. But I’m able to make it funny and humorous, make it seem a little bit harmless. For me, that’s a gift that I have: talking about serious issues and making it entertaining and providing easy listening; stuffs that people can talk about. I think that’s what sets me apart.


Your music videos are also always unique. Where do they come from?

I’ve always been a story teller. In all my music videos, I could have like four, five, six different story lines or six, seven different ideas that I work on. In the end you just have to pick the one that you feel has the least shock value for Nigeria. Because, some of the ideas I have at times, I say to myself, ‘If people know what goes on in my head, they’ll probably think this girl should not be walking on the streets!’ So you need to find a balance, do stuff that will not shock people too much, and then still make them entertained. So basically I come up with all the concepts for my videos. There are a lot of things that I want to do but unfortunately, the level we have to create certain scenarios is not yet apparent, not yet available, so we make do with what we have.


What’s the difference between the public Goldie and the real one?

Well the difference between the Goldie out there and the real Goldie is that when I at home I like to be comfortable. I mean, sometimes I do play dress up all by myself in the mirror just to see how I look, but you not going to catch me at home when I want to relax wearing some “flouncy” outfit and all that. When I want to relax, I really want to relax. I’m a very casual laidback person. Everything that I do for TV is aimed at entertaining, and it’s just because I want to create a visual that has to go with the music. Apart from that, it’s the same mind, the same brain, the same person.


Do you remember your first ever public performance? How was it?

My first public performance was in the UK, apart from the school plays you have and stuff. If you are talking about the first time I ever had to face a crowd, it was in primary school. There was a day I was talking to my classmate and the teacher was talking and I was whispering. Suddenly, the teacher shouted, “You come out here! Everything you were saying, come and say it here.”  It was a disaster, I got to the front and I started stammering! That was my first ever public appearance. I was so shy and embarrassed, and I never spoke in class again!


How much of an influence was your mum in your life? How big is her absence?

I lost my mum when we were all very young. She died of cancer. Really, really sad. My mum was a very sweet woman, very quiet, the softest person ever. For every harsh word that my dad said, my mum would say two soft words. When she died, I cried a lot. I asked myself why someone so good had to die. The world needs more people like this. It was when she died we heard the wonderful things she was doing; like she was paying this person’s school fees, taking care of that person and so on. And I was like how was she able to do all this? But I have a step mum! My dad got married, and she’s really nice. She’s a great woman too. She’s beings so helpful to all of us; she’s really been a blessing. I don’t think any of us, myself and my siblings, will be where we are without that mother figure. At the end of the day, whether it’s a mother or a step mother in your life as a child, you will need to open your heart out to these people so that you can feel the love they have.


You seem to love the arts. Do you plan to branch out into other parts, like acting, in the future?

I love the arts. I love the visuals. I love the creative process of entertainment, creating something that people will see, like and talk about, and that will move people. I think I’m more of that sort of person. I would love to go into producing movies and directing; I’m not sure I would want to be an actress, not unless it’s my own story, my production. For example, if a director comes to you and tells you to do something, the director’s vision is not going to be you. And I’m very very headstrong. I know what I want, so you not going to tell me, ‘I want you to act like an angel, and as an angel you have to speak softly.’ I will tell you that my own interpretation of an angel is not your own interpretation of an angel. Mr Director, I’m sorry, I will not speak softly. So I feel that I could do it only if I’m the one that is in charge of my story line.


What’s next on Goldie’s plate?

My album is out: Gold Reloaded. I released it late last year in December. But obviously, because of everything that happened during Christmas and the early year strike, we’ve not been doing much promo about it. So you guys should go get a copy in all the malls, or just ask your local vendor for Gold Reloaded. It’s an awesome album with a lot of beautiful songs. I’m releasing a single off it very soon: Say My Name. It’s a love song for valentine, so go get your copy.

On the album, I have TM, I have Eldee the Don, I have Jay One, I have Banky W. And I’m working on doing a couple of remixes of the album. In the future,  I think working with Chris Brown won’t be a bad idea. I like Chris brown. I think he has the energy, and he’s gone a little bit mature. He’s very deep lately.


White Body Con Dress with Mesh Detail E. Zinkata N40,000 Neckpiece Ruby and Pink POR
White Body Con Dress with Mesh Detail E. Zinkata N40,000 Neckpiece Ruby and Pink POR

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