Versatility Is A Quality Every Artiste Should Have – Elmina

In this interview with JERRY EMMANSON, one of Nigeria’s finest soul artiste, Elmina, who recently dropped her first EP called “No Drama” at a listening party Lagos speaks about her entry into the music industry, her genre of songs, experiences and challenges



How was your journey into the music industry like?

I was introduced to music in my early years. Like a lot of kids, I got to watch TV and cartoons like Barney. There’s a lot of singing in shows like that and I just sang along. And then my family used to organise karaoke nights that were a lot of fun. Before I clocked 10, I joined the church choir and soon, I was singing solos. Later in secondary school, I decided to compete in a singing contest which I won. That is when I pretty much decided I was going to make music my profession. My parents have been very supportive over the years. Music financing is not particularly cheap, but I am grateful for all the support I get.


You’re still relatively new. How much work have you put out?

Earlier this year, I dropped my first ever EP called “No Drama” and the experience was overwhelmingly positive. It was a four-track record and so far, it’s gone way past 200k streams. Honestly, I did not know what to expect when we got the record out. I am a soul artiste and my kind of music is still considered niche. Not a lot of people in Nigeria find it particularly appealing when put side by side with other genres. But I really cannot complain at all. “No Drama” is getting a lot of attention locally and even internationally and it’s all good.


You have new music out now…why does it sounds different?

Yes! So early this month I released a brand new single called “Hold on Me”. This song is the lead single off my upcoming 2021 EP which is kind of different from what I usually do. So I decided to try my hands or is it my voice at making afrobeat music. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Elmina is switching lanes. But it’s nothing like that. For me, music is about expression and I understand that the forms may change but the content is always the most important. I ran with this mantra making the single and the upcoming afro-EP. The words in my music are just as soulful as ever, but I’m thinking it would be a refreshing experience to have fans get a different flavour of my music for the new year. Versatility is a quality I think every artiste should have. Yes, I do soul and R&B but I never close my mind to experimenting and crossing genres. Music can be a lot of fun when you look outside regular lines.


You held a listening party for “Hold on Me?” Tell us about it.

Yes I did and it was amazing. A lot of people attended the event and it was really cosy and intimate seeing family and friends just having fun and enjoying music with me. I performed songs from my last EP “No Drama” and wrapped up the show with a performance of “Hold on Me”…and I dare say everyone loved it. It felt really good and I am positive that the reactions to the EP next year will be just as good.


Bring us to speed on the challenges you have faced during these period of putting your music together and getting to this stage?

Challenges depends on how you look at them. I think every endeavour has some associated challenges, even music. It takes a lot of time to create a good song. You have to work with several people on good and bad days, all the while maintaining a hold on whatever message you are trying to share. This is probably the hardest part about what I do striking a balance. That can be challenging.


What’s your take on competition?

Bring it on? I just have fun doing what I do and I still know it’s a business and there are people and systems that keep score, so competition is a thing. But I don’t see myself in competition with anyone but myself. Of course there are artistes who inspire me and their success stories motivate me to make better music. Tiwa Savage and Davido still top my list, but not because they are my competition. It’s more because they have set standards I aspire to.

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