IF there is one thing Afro-pop singer, Yemi Eberechi Alade aka Yemi Alade, is missing like hell, it is the freedom to step out and buy her favourite bean cake (Akara). The musician of Yoruba-Igbo heritage, who hit the limelight after she won Peak Talent Show in 2009 and who finally found success after the release of her hit track, Johnny, in 2013, in this exclusive interview with The Sun, Yemi Alade opens up on her sophomore album, Mama Africa. She also talks about her ideal man among other issues. Excerpts:
When you wake up in the morning, what comes to your mind first?
Wow! The first thing I do is pray for effyzzie Music Group; that one is for sure. Secondly, I pray for all lovers of my music, asking God to meet them at the point of their needs and then, I pray for the music industry.
What is new about Yemi Alade?
I am releasing my second album entitled, Mama Africa this year and it should drop very soon by God’s grace. I have released two singles. I can’t wait for the release of the album; I am so excited. Mama Africa is the dairy of the Africa woman.
What inspired the title Mama Africa?
Two things, first, Africa is a continent that you cannot help but fall in love with, it is so beautiful and colourful. Despite the limitations, we are a very happy people. Secondly, Mama Africa belongs to everybody and tagging my album Mama Africa is like taking way the stigma of Africa being a dark continent.
Did you know you would become this big five years ago?
Well, it has always been my prayer. I had no idea how it would happen but I am just a pencil in God’s hands.
How do you intend to marry your accessory line with your music?
I unveiled YAC Collection in 2015. And marrying both worlds has not been challenging because I am working with partners that have earned my trust.
What has fame denied you?
Wow! I can’t walk on the streets anymore like I used to do. I used to enjoy and love taking long walks but I can’t anymore.
Is there a particular food or snack you have missed so much on account of stardom?
Well, it’s akara (bean cake), I love akara but this is not a situation of fame. Sometimes when I go to see my mum, there is always akara.
Which artistes influenced your beginnings?
So many did. In Nigeria, Omawunmi has always been an inspiration. Beyoncé is definitely another big source of inspiration.
Did you ever think of quitting?
There are no two ways about it; I definitely thought I was going to get a white-collar job. I have my BSc in Geography. The truth is that music is a financially intensive project. It was pretty tough. I thank God for meeting Efizzy Music Group.
What kept you going?
The passion, when your stomach is empty, your wallet empty and you’re tired; the only thing that keeps you going is God and passion.
Despite your fame you have steered clear of controversies. How did you pull it off?
I don’t look for trouble; that is the secret.
When the time comes to finally settle down, what tribe would you settle for?
It is beyond tribe for me; tribe should be the least criterion.
Are you seeing any man right now?
O! Yes I am. You can see many men around (points at male guests at the event amid laughter)
Who is your ideal man?
He has to be God fearing, have good prospect, and of course, a sense of humour.
What is the craziest thing a fan has done to you on stage?
A fan tried to grab my waist.