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By Chinwe Ibe and Ebuka Ubah
For up and coming musician, Amarachi Amachukwu, music is a way of life. Whenever she climbs the stage to perform, there is this madness in her wanting to explode. This could be attributed to her prodigious energy and creativity. In this chat, she narrates how it all began.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am Amachukwu Amarachi Mercy. I’m an undergraduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). My flair for music started when I was little. I joined the choir when I was in secondary school. By then I wasn’t much of a singer; I only loved to dance. I got to realise I could sing when I was asked to come and sing on the assembly. It was nice. People commented on my voice. From there, I had the urge to sing more, to go further in music.
However, every time I sang, my mum would complain that I was shouting. As time went on, I had to learn to control my range since I’m a soprano singer.
When did you discover your passion for music?
I discovered my passion for music when I was asked to sing a responsorial psalm. That was 2014. It was nice. The priest commented on my voice, everyone was amazed at the way I sang. Then I took a move on going for a competition, within my choir, where I won the best soprano singer.
Was it natural or inspired?
Yeah, it was natural and it was also based on inspiration, because then I couldn’t sing, I told you earlier that I started with dancing. There was this competition that I intended going for in my secondary school but my teacher discouraged me from going, saying I couldn’t sing. It was a challenge to me. I was like ‘why can’t I sing? I know I have the passion for singing so why would you tell me that I can’t sing?’ I didn’t eventually go for the competition but I later won ‘Miss Oghenevo’, the first time they organised the pageant. Since then, I gave heed to no one and decided to do what I wanted.
Did you find it difficult convincing your parents about going into music?
Yeah! It was not funny. Then, my mum was like ‘What’s music all about?’ ‘Kedu ife a n’eme n’egwu’ (What are they doing in music?). What do you want to do with music?’ Even my dad was like ‘Go and focus on your education, go and read your book’. It was not really easy but they came to realize when I won University of Nigeria Voice competition. When I brought the award back home, earlier this year, they were very happy, saying ‘Wow! So my child could sing like this?’ Then they saw different videos of my performances and they were really amazed by my zeal for singing. Since then, they have kept quiet about my singing. Anytime I bring up music issues, instead of them to say ‘no, you can’t sing’, they’d just keep smiling. That smiling alone has given me assurance that they have given me some approval to do music. I think I have their support now.
So, when did you venture into music proper?
I ventured into music proper when I went in for a competition, which was in my university. I got admitted in 2015, but this year, I went for different competitions. I am studying Mass Communication in University of Nigeria, Nsukka and so, there was a competition called Mass Communication Got Talent and I won in the performance category. Another competition which also inspired me was the UN Voice (Universities of Nigeria Voice), which I also won, and this current one which I am taking part called Splash Talent Heroes Competition.
I think I have flair for music because I sing at different shows and this has boosted my talent, creativity, and energy. Some of the shows I have performed include Nigerian Beer Carnival organised by and held at Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, and Lagos City Suya Carnival held at Ikeja City Mall. You know, music is all about being energetic, the way you handle stage, the way you move, the way you shake your body, and the way you take your audience along; it’s not only singing in one position but also demonstrating different steps, putting acting into singing.
How were you able to conquer stage fright?
Umm, music has always been in me. I love music and I’d say if a person loves what he or she is doing, stage fright should not be a major issue. It should not be a challenge. Most times when I speak in public, I have stage fright but whenever I am on stage to sing, there’s this kind of madness in me wanting to explode. I usually want people to feel me as a singer with the message I’m passing across. I want my singing to have a major impact on the lives of people. So, stage fright has never been a problem to me. I’ve always conquered it.
As an up and coming artiste, what are the challenges you’re facing?
As I told you earlier, one thing about music is creativity. If you can sing but cannot create your own song, you are a bygone. You have to be creative, bring out new ideas because to stand out in the Nigerian music industry of today, you have to be distinct and unique. You have to bring out something that nobody has ever thought of doing so that you could be known for that. So, the challenge is for an up and coming artiste to think creatively, think outside the box, that’s what music requires.
Have you been harassed sexually in the course of taking part in talent hunts?
Not really. I don’t think so. I’ve not been harassed sexually.
What genre of music do you enjoy doing?
I love to listen to different types of music. I want to be a dynamic singer that cannot be put in one place because art is all about being different and creative. But for now, I’m specifically linked with Afropop.
Have you released any single or album yet?
I am about to release a single, ‘African Woman’. I’m still working on it but it’s going to be released soon.
Who are your role models in music?
I don’t really have a role model because I view myself as a role model. But one needs to look up to somebody. So, I’d say Asa, Yemi Alade and Tekno. For foreign artistes, I think I like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Celine Dion.
Which artistes do you look forward to working with?
I didn’t mention Tiwa Savage earlier on but I actually want to work with her. Also, I’ll like to work with Tuface, Asa, and Yemi Alade.
Who is your crush in the entertainment industry?
(Laughs) Crush? Do I really have a crush? I don’t know; I don’t really have a crush on anyone.
Every woman looks forward to marriage, how prepared are you?
Marriage? I’m still a young singer. I want people to know me, so I don’t think marriage should be a primary issue now.
Are you in a relationship?
Describe your kind of man
First of all, he should have the fear of God in him. He should be humble and generous because I can’t stay with a stingy man. Also, he should not be too clingy, I don’t like clingy men because I love my freedom a lot; I have thirst for freedom. I know myself and he should understand the fact that I’m in the music industry and should be able to trust his girl. Lastly, I need a man who is supportive of my career.
Where do you see your career in the next 10 years?
Wow! It would be boom! I’m looking forward to becoming the best in Africa and internationally; that’s with deep persistence.