Monday, 13 December 2010

More than Music

A few days ago I watched Chrisette Michele being interviewed as she promoted her newest record "Let Freedom Reign" When asked what her motivation was her response for some reason stuck with me.

"Find your face in hsitory"

Sometimes as a creative person, you feel alone in your pursuit of what you think or know is your purpose and you have to look to history to get the much needed fire in your bones; so I started searching and looking to be inspired and came upon two amazing (in my opinion) people who resonated with me. Well, i say came upon not because they've been hiding or anything but have you read a note you've always read a book or a bible verse you have always read an a line jumps out at ya like it's just been inked in right there and then for you?

Well.... that's what this past few days have been like for me.

It all started with my Amazon order arriving in the post - Nina Simone, The Legend - DVD

If you are a Nina Simone fan, you'd need to watch this documentary because it's a very personal and honest protrayal of an artist who understood that her gift was way beyond music and eventhough she did sacrifice a lot (as seen in the first few minutes of the doc) for the sake of her art, I don't think she would have wanted it any other way.

A dear friend gave us a pair of tickets to see Fela - The musical at the National Theatre. (Something about Southbank makes me go AAAAAAAAAAH)

Anyhowly, I had read a few reviews prior, most of them were positive and even one journalist's comment about feeling bullied by the participatory element of the show made me all the more exceited about going to see FELA!

I have never been to the 'shrine' (Fela's club) before; not that I would have been allowed to go if I wanted to ( I can just imagine my paraent's face if I even had the gutts to ask for permission to visit; not even for research purpose) LOLOLOL!! but I imagine as I sat in the Olivier theatre (NT) a minute percentage of what the 'Shrine' must have felt like.

It was political, passionate, fun... i mean I have never been to a musical or play where I am asked to stand up and wiggle my waist! YEP! I left the theatre feeling proud and more than anything else inspired to be the best that I can be with the gift heaven has blessed me with.

Fela and Nina came to realise earlier on in their career that music was only the vehicle, for them, it definately was much more than music. Both started out not deliberatly setting out to change the world but what they did set out to do was be themselves - Original

Years after they've passed; people like myself are still being inspired by them ;)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

First 20 songs ...

I haven't blogged in a while, been busy getting married YAY!! I am sure blogs and writing would reflect this new status of mine ;)

A friend recently asked (via her FB status) to put our MP3, iphone, Ipods etc etc on shuffle mode and write down the first 20 songs that come up.

Here's mine...

1. Fall in Love - Erykah Badu

2. Find my way - Duayne Tryumf

3. Like a dream - Chrisette Michele

4. Dreaming wide awake - Lizz Wright

5. Be that easy - Sade

6. I am one - Chrisette Michele

7. Grains - India Arie

8. Healing - India Arie

9. Wanna be starting something - MJ

10. Tell him - Lauryn Hill

11. Say you will - Kanye West

12. Shower - Karl Nova

13. Still in control - Kirk Franklin

14. Peace - Akala

15. Part of my life - India Arie

16. Light my fire - Jonas Rendbo

17. Tornado - Jonas

18. Make the bus - Janelle Monae

19. Notebook - Chrisette Michele

20. I would like to call it beauty - Corrine Bailey Rae

What does your music collection say about you, get into the shuffle mode and be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Telling our Stories

Nigeria celebrated 50 years of independence a few days ago; once Nigeria comes up in a conversation the stories you hear are most times negative. I however like it when the Nigerian story is told by Nigerians so i was excited to see this BBC 'My Country' documentary.

Nigerian broadcaster and journalist Funmi Iyanda takes us through this documentary telling the Lagos story through everyday people; market women, children, okada (motorcycle taxi) drivers and politicians..

Grab your cuppa and enjoy the three part 30 minute feature below ;)

Monday, 20 September 2010


A few pages into this book, the paragraph below caught my attention.

We secretly admit that the call of Jesus is too demanding, that surrender to the Spirit is beyond our reach. We start acting like everyone else. Life takes on a joyless, empty quality.

We begin to resemble the leading character in Eugene O'Neil's play - The Great God Brown;

"Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colours of the earth and sky and the sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?"

I haven't been able to go beyond this page since yesterday....

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I am listening to...

Fall In - Esperanza Spalding

Strength, Courage & Wisdom - India Arie

57821 - Janelle Monáe

I'm Yours - Jason Mraz

Go Do - Jónsi

I still believe - Karl Nova

Dreaming Wide Awake - Lizz Wright

Sing Dorothy - Michaela: Birth of a Poet

Golden Train - Justin Nozuka

Superstar - Lauryn Hill


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses

“Peer Pressure doesn’t just end after your teens, it morphs into keeping up with the Joneses” Karl Nova

I remember growing up wearing Cortina sandals to school (it’s the school sandals made by Bata the shoe maker) If you know anything about this brand it’s that it lasts forever…. literally. When I asked my mum to get me a new pair at the beginning of a new school term, she asked me to show her my old shoe. I showed her all the scratch marks from kicking stones and the pavement hoping to get her to buy me a new pair. She asked me to put the shoe on, of course the flipping thing fitted perfectly so she asked my dad to help me renew the polish and get it ready for the new term and as you would expect I was not a happy bunny.

Everyone will be wearing new shoes and
I am stuck with these old banger???!!!!!

Day one of new school term, I came up with the loveliest of ideas when I discovered that my friend’s mum, like my mum did not buy her a new pair of school shoes. I swapped mine with hers, which was cool since we wore the same shoe size, the only thing was hers was black and mine was brown; my bright idea was that my parents would surely not watch their precious daughter wear two different colored sandals to school; or would they?

I told my dad my well thought out story when he picked me from school later that afternoon; something along the lines of….
‘… Well, I put my sandals in my locker when we went for PE and when we returned someone had stolen one of mine and left theirs”
“Hmmm…” he responded.
When we got home, he sat me down and stooped to my level (eyeball to eyeball) and gently explained to me that since I was careless enough to loose one leg of my sandals and clever enough to find another size that fits perfectly, there was no need to get me any new sandals! Huh? ***** Blank stare****
When I returned to school the next day, my friend had on a new pair of sandals while I had on my black and brown pair. I wore those shoes for the rest of the term too!

I think I learnt a vital lesson from walking around the school in my brown and black pair of Cortina sandals, my parents’ spending pattern will not and cannot be influenced by my peer pressure to conform. I also leant that you can be your own person in the midst of a crowd because three months of wearing my crazy pair of sandals and sticking out like a sore thumb did not kill me… thanks dad!

It’s ok to be different……..
It’s alright to move at your own pace……..

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Footie 101

I am not a big football fan so I am glad the World cup is done and dusted and we can now get back to reality. Having said that, the couple of times that I sat down to watch the tournament, I did learn a lesson or two.

The referee’s say is final…You may disagree with his whistle blowing and dishing out of the dreaded yellow or red card, but whatever the referee says is it. I could not help but think about the times when I worry about what is, what isn’t and what could have been. It’s the times when I force myself to relax and trust that God is the final whistle blower and until He says it’s over, it’s not over, then things become clearer. I often end up wondering why I was stressing in the first place.

If you don’t play by the rules, you will be penalised..
There are rules that govern the universe we live in and those rules and principles will work to your advantage if you live by them. Sometimes as people of faith we tend to think God is there at our beck and call to override the rules and principles that he’s but in place! Don’t go shopping till you drop dead on your credit card and think God will cancel your debt just because you got your wallet anointed with oil last Sunday. The bailiffs will come calling if you don’t pay up, that’s for sure. I have learnt that there’s no alternative to hard work, when you see an artist at his best form, it’s because he’s spent hours practicing so much that when he comes out to perform his art, he makes it look so easy…. More like second nature. You can’t buy that and you can’t pray it down either.

No man is an island.. there’s no I in team..
There is a reason why I am not the only one inhabiting this space at this time. The answers to my prayers are spotted all around me, in the people God has blessed me with. Colleagues, friends, family, the bus driver, my neighbour and the list in endless. As much as it’s good to take time out and be by yourself, don’t pitch a tent in there, come up for air, it will only make you a better person.
‘One will put a thousand to flight and two, ten thousand’

You will not win based on past glory..
Winning is not mine by default. I have to continue to apply myself. Write as if it’s the first and only line I will ever write. Play like there’s no tomorrow and this is the only chance I have to play. Stop living on stale wine, keep it fresh!

Your few seconds of irrational behaviour can cost your team that win..
Sometimes you just need to take a breather, count to ten if you have to, those few seconds of re-think can make a whole lot of difference. Everything is all about perception and if you take time to think before you actually react or respond, you will see with a different eye.

There ends my few weeks of part-participation in the World cup madness, I guess those few minutes in front of the box didn’t go to waste.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

You are not alone

As a writer you can sometimes feel like you are alone in your struggle to finish a book. I have never been to any workshop specifically for writers until today.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I booked my place at the Insider Guide to HOW TO GET PUBLISHED organised by Writers and Artists’ Yearbook a few months ago but when I walked through the ‘Free Word Centre” doors at a few minutes past ten in the morning, I was a bit nervous about being in the midst of established writers and sticking out like a sore thumb.

After the introductions, Richard Charkin, the Executive Director of Bloomsbury spoke about the publishing industry and the many phases that it’s been through. He laid out some not so encouraging statistics but informative all the same. It was good to see from the publisher’s view point and he did a good job at reminding us that at the end of the day, publishing is a money making industry and making profit for shareholders is their goal.

Jo Herbert, the editor of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook took us through the steps towards getting published, a reminder that your work as a writer does not end when you finish writing your 80,000 words. With most literary agents receiving nothing less than 20 manuscripts everyday! You have to stand out from the pack… no pressure at all ;)

When it was time for lunch, I got talking to some of the writers and realised there was no reason for my initial worry. Although some of them are on their second novel, they still have pretty much the same struggles as I.

Alison Baverstock, a writer, publisher and MA Publishing tutor amongst other topics touched on inspiration and what she said which I thought was so spot was that ‘inspiration finds you when you are working.’ She further said; You have to stick at your desk.

I know what it is like sitting in front of a blank sheet of paper or PC screen and waiting for one word to come… one sentence, and nothing worth writing seems to come. It was so refreshing to know that even seasoned writers go through the same challenges I go through.

Listening to Katie Hickman, a best selling author of both fiction and non fiction tell her own story of how she went through rejections and being dropped by her agent further drives home the truth that Carole Blake, one of UK’s top literary agent said in closing…

“There are as many exceptions as there are with rules.”

I walked out of today’s conference feeling revived and more determined to keep writing, to keep showing up everyday. So help me God!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Welcome to MY Lagos

Last month I was in Nigeria for a couple of weeks; it’s my third time in the last twelve months, yep! My surname could very well be Ajala! (name given a frequent traveller). If someone had told me I would be making those trips twenty four months prior, I would have said err… I don’t think so. The reasons and the whys are a different story altogether.

Shortly before my last trip, the BBC showed a documentary series called ‘Welcome to Lagos’. The three part observational series featured on the lives of people who live in the ‘slums’ of Lagos Nigeria. As I watched, I kept asking myself “does this place really exist?”. A lot people felt that the documentary was another BBC exploitation, with Professor Wole Shoyinka branding it as "condescending" and "colonialist" I thought the title was deceiving in that it gave the impression that everything the series showed was all there was to Lagos and that is a BIG lie because even though I lived in Nigeria for twenty years I still find it unbelievable that people actually live in those slums! I have seen them or driven past these places but I don’t know anyone who lives in the slums. I know that I not knowing anyone who lives there does not mean these places don’t exist.

Truthfully, I would have preferred if the cameras were focused on the other side as well, similar to the channel 4 show ‘how the other half lives’ there is more to Nigeria that what the mainstream media chooses to focus on; Nigeria is not just about dodgy email scams, corruption and religious violence. It seems that every time there is a program about Nigeria or any other African country, the focus is always on what isn’t working, the suffering of the poor and so on.

Having said that, what I saw was human resilience in action, these guys took the term hustler to a whole new level. They weren’t begging the BBC for handouts neither were they sending messages of help via the cameras. They weren’t looking to the reporters to solve their problems, neither were they in denial of the difficulties they had to endure. These people were telling their stories in a way that starred up hope in me. I felt like I had no excuse to complain about anything. If Vocal Slender can work in the slums day in day out, to earn enough money for his studio time and still be able to present his art with so much pride, what was my reason for giving up, really??

Thankfully, his hard work paid off as he recently performed at the Coco Bar festival held at the Indigo 02 in London UK, on the 31st of May.

We can sit and complain about how the mainstream media chooses to tells our stories by focusing the magnifying glass on Africa’s dirty laundry but nothing will change until we start telling our own stories ourselves. the truth is, there are so many of them to tell…

The first thing I notice as soon as I land at the Murtala International Airport in Lagos is the HEAT! It smacks you right in the face and those pounds you’ve been struggling to loose start to melt before your very eyes, through your pores in the form of sweat. Lol! I kid you not, I always loose about 2kg in two weeks and trust me, I ain’t complaining at all. The British weather is so unpredictable with half of the year grey and dull, two weeks of heat is definitely an opportunity not to be missed.

Once you drive away from the airport there is an obvious BUZZ in the atmosphere, most drivers use their horns at will, it starts to sound like synchronized noise after a while... yeah, like music but a different kind of music. Let me just say this, driving in this part of the world is not for the faint hearted. You cannot be too slow to cause someone to bash into you and you cannot be too fast to bash into someone else, your reflexes have to be sharp and don’t expect anyone to stop to perhaps exchange insurance details with you just because your ‘lovely' car got grazed! Take it like a man, I say! Lol!

Depending on what month in the year it is when you visit, you might experience one of the special things about the tropics; WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS this can only be experienced not explained. Imagine God and all the angels decide to pour bucketloads of water down on us… yeah, that’s the one! And another thing I love is the smell of rain coming… it’s a strong clayey or muddy smell mixed with forest or the woods. That smell takes me right back to primary school and I love it and when the rain stops, the air feels and smells fresher.

Did someone say the F word? FOOD tastes different here, I am not even joking. What we call plantain in London falls into 'food that tastes like cardboard' category. Suya is another thing that’s always on my ‘must eat’ list. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s beef, chicken or goat meat grilled on open fire and spiced with pepper, onions and tomatoes. Your taste buds goes into overdrive when this thing touches your tongue.

Another noticeable thing is that everywhere you turn to, there is MUSIC either coming from a radio, CD player, or the human vocal cord. If you want to experience it in its rawest form, you need to pay a visit to the hair dressers (not at the salons where you get your perm done) no, I am referring to what some call the ‘braiding center’ where braids that would normally cost you nothing less than 50 quid will cost a fiver! Okay maybe a lil’ bit of exaggeration is going on here, but if you’re paying more than a tenner, you’re either in the wrong part of town or you've opened your mouth and spoken in your best British or American (wannabe) accent. LOL! I usually go with my mum or someone who knows what the going rate is and I leave them to do all the talking and negotiation. Anyway, money aside these ladies will sing for the duration of four hours that you’re there! Yep! They go from one song to the next and sometimes interject with stories too. Who needs TV with these people in action eh? (((smile)))

If you don’t speak any of the many Nigerian languages that there are and you watch two people in conversation, you might confuse what you see with a row because another thing that sets Nigerians apart from everyone else is their PASSION. The hand gestures, the eyes and head movement, the body language tells you they are interested in the person they are talking to, no half hearted, stiff upper lip smiles at all. When there’s LAUGHTER, it’s a loud, hearty, belly holding laughter.

There are so many things I could go on and talk about but I will touch on the issue of FAITH in conclusion and I will focus on the Christian faith just because it’s what I am familiar with; though several religions exist in Nigeria. Sunday mornings are interesting to watch, people come out in their Sunday’s best, all headed in different directions. There is one church (or more) on every street some with large membership, and others a handful.

It does make me wonder why they don’t all come together to have one huge service? I also wonder why the inside of the ‘mega churches’ is so far removed from real life on the streets. I know there’s so much an organization that attracts a large number of people can do than having buildings worth billions of Naira and having services every other day of the week....

I know someone else’s story will be different from mine and I respect that but welcome to MY LAGOS!

Sunday, 25 April 2010


"If you know who you are, you will not answer by who you are not…." Moi

The past couple of weeks, the word identity has been popping up wherever I turn. The word came up again when Isa Agape was teaching at the Rockhill Music Workshop for singers and songwriters.

I have not been watching the current season of American Idol not because I think the artists are not that great, no! I lost interest after the Fantasia season. I however tuned in yesterday; there was nothing else on the box and it’s interesting to see the judges argue amongst themselves about what style or genre of music each one of them think or assume an artist should follow. I never understand these competitions anyway because how do you determine what is good and what isn’t when it comes to creativity? How do you sit behind a long table sipping coca cola through the three minute or less rendition, and make a decision about what artist you think will be ‘huge’?

I have since learnt that these shows are just about pushing the agenda of a record and TV production executive; huge bank balance. No more, no less. One of the ways they are able to pump up that balance is market to millions of young people who are impressionable and are at that early stage of trying to find themselves. The need to be loved and heard will drive anyone to identify with a product that seems to affirm them or give them a sense of comradeship with a community of fellow human beings who are also searching for themselves.

Speaking of young people, flip open the newspapers or tune into any news channel, you will find everyone talking about young people and violence. Sometimes I wonder why the madness and why are young people so angry? What is fuelling the rage? Is it the need to be loved and heard? What would make someone in their right mind take the life of someone else? Is there a link here to identity crisis? Just thinking out loud.

The question of identity is not just waiting be answered in the artists or creative circles only. Everyone and I mean everyone is screaming to be heard and noticed. One of the things I enjoy doing is eavesdropping on people’s conversation. When I am at work, typing away and punching the numbers I tend to listen to what people are saying and time and time again when two people are engaged in a conversation, the listener is almost always sitting on the edge of his or her seat not because they are paying attention to the other person and listening to what he or she is saying but because they are waiting for breath catching moment and an opportunity to get their word or two in. Everyone is talking but no one is listening.
I came across the amazing James Mraz yesterday, and he said something really important in an interview.

‘Ten years ago, I thought, I can’t wait to be signed so they can tell me what to do. They will give me a bus, give me tour so I can sing. You then realise, that doesn’t happen. They are waiting for you to say, this is what I’m going to do, this is how I am going to do it and this is what I’m bringing along and the minute you say that, everyone is like YAY! Let’s go!

I had to rewind that statement a few times.

I find that people who know who they are, are the ones that inspire others. The minute you sort out in yourself who you are, others will follow.

Who are you?

Thursday, 8 April 2010

I am Accepted

I picked up the Stylist yesterday; for those who don’t know what that is, it’s the free London fashion and travel magazine. An article by Dawn Porter on Self-deprecation caught my attention.

“In recent times, I have insulted myself approximately eight times in the hope that the people I was trying to impress would like me”

I totally identify with her opening statement and while I may not out rightly agree to the term ‘insult’ I have, numerous times tried to make others feel better about themselves or less intimidated by me by belittling (yeah, that’s the word, belittle) myself or my gifts.

Compliments such as ‘your hair looks beautiful’ is met with responses like ‘Oh, I just had it cheaply made from some local salon in my area’ when a simple ‘thank you’ will suffice.

For some strange reason self-deprecation is seen as an attractive quality. Some think it is synonymous with humility or modesty and for those who have spent a bit of time in the church, they defend their action with Romans 12:3

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Belittling yourself so that people accept you or to make you less intimidating goes against all the ideology of being created in God’s image and after his likeness so that scripture CANNOT be about self-deprecation or undervaluing one’s self.

So, I decided to do some digging and found from the Amplified translation of the bible, the statement not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think is interpreted as not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance

AHHHHHH! So there you go, it’s not that we should not have an opinion about ourselves, it is that those opinions about us should not be inflated, overstated and I dare say, understated. In other words be true to yourself.

I am currently reading the number one book on human relations; How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie and I cannot begin to tell you what an eye opener this book has been. I recommend it to all Pastors, leaders, business people actually, everyone should read this book, with over 16 million copies sold, it would be ridiculous of you not to find out what the ‘excitement’ is all about.

Since Faith without works takes me nowhere, I decided to put one actually, two of the principles in this book to practice.

Give honest and sincere appreciation

Become genuinely interested in other people

A lady I work with and I seem to always be at loggerheads over one thing or another and the only thing that’s held me back from giving her something to go home and cry about, has been the fear of my P45 (blame it on the recession or is it credit crunch now) so, what I always do when I need any reports or files done is send an email flooded with sarcasm and cynicism enough to sink the whole cyberspace!

A few days ago, I got talking to her and this time around, paid attention to what she was saying (as opposed to drifting away in my thoughts and wishing her to shut up!) and from our conversation, I learnt that she had enrolled to start taking sewing lessons. I grew more interested since I was a creative head myself and encouraged her to really go for it. Not just that, the next day, I walked up to her desk and gave her a yard off some African Print fabric I had at home. Yeah, I know!
You should have seen her face when I gave her the fabric all wrapped up, I even got a hug!

Aaaaaaaaaawwww, I hear you say, but really, it got me thinking about how easy it is to relate to people once you get to know them. Once you take the focus off yourself, you begin to see with a different eye.

I think there is a link between how we see others and how we see ourselves; the latter influences the former and unlike Dawn Porter who thinks that self-deprecation is an intuition, I think it’s a cHoIcE.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

WOW! it's the 1st of April... Already?

I can't believe it's the 4th month already! I feel like starting this piece like one of the chapters in the bible; 'IT WAS THE 4TH MONTH IN THE YEAR THAT PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN REIGNED' LOL!

Well, it's been an interesting year so far and it's about to get even more interesting because on the 17th of April 2010, Rockhill Music will be holding a workshop for singers, songwriters and musicians at The Albany Theatre. Sharing her experience and providing practical tools for a successful artist is the Philadelphia born Isa Agape. She took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk with me about what to expect at the workshop and a few more interesting stuff.

Where do you write?
That's a good question. I actually write a lot of my music in the privacy of my room. Its rare that I will write a song out side of that place. But I have written a few in the studio during breaks in between tracking songs.

Why that space?
I think the reason why I write in my room is cause its private, I can work melodies out loud when no one is around.

I have listened to your third project '.. of Love & War' and I love it! what is the inspiration behind this new album?
The inspiration on the album was mainly people. I don't just write about spirituality, I write about relationships and in particular my personal relationships. So a lot of the songs are actually about real people.

You are passionate about equipping other musicians and singers like yourself, why is that?
When I first started I didn't have a "mentor" to help me understand the business of music. I believe that there is a creative side but there is also a business side, that if you don't know what you are doing can bite you in the back side. I've been bitten several times and I want to do everything I can to help people not make the same mistakes. So I created a website that helps people get to know the business side of music more, especially for those that are not signed by a label (indie or major). You can become successful as an indie artist, there are just a few things one needs to know in order to be successful as I have been.

We look forward to seeing you in London on the 17th of April, what should we expect from the workshop?
I plan on telling a little bit of my background and where I grew up. I want to cover how to go about developing a website for your music, how to use Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Youtube to promote your music and get sales, how to protect your music/copyright, how to go about recording your CD project and what you should do after that, marketing and branding, and discovering what you sound/genre is.

I read somewhere that you started off as an artist so, do you still paint or draw?
I did start off as a painter... I stopped doing that actually. But I recently have been wanting to get back into painting.

When you are not singing or writing what do you do?
I work a full time job on top of what I do with my music. So I work really hard outside of my side projects with music. I also love to hang out with friends, play cards and games, eat great dinner with family. Going to the movies every now and then is fun too.

I hear you love shoes too?
I do love shoes... Its one of many weaknesses for me. Where did you hear that??? LOL.

Thanks for your time Isa.
Thank you.

To book your ticket for the Rockhill Music Workshop for singers, songwrites and musicians pls call 0787 6541948 or 07957 466322

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Singers, Songwriters & Musicians

I am surrounded by so many creative people and I love it when I get to share the same airspace with them.

I can tell from experience that Monday mornings is the probably the worst day for most of them simply because they probably spent the weekend gigging or working on a project in the studio somewhere so, Monday really feels like crap and most wish they could find a away to make their creative juices pay for their day to day living but the thought of pilling bills shoots the energy needed to tap away at those keyboards in an open plan office, up their veins.

Tap, tap, tap….. goes the keys.

Well, on Saturday the 17th of April, you get to spend some time with a lady who has worked hard at making sure those dreams become a reality for her.

Her name is Isa Agape and you can check out her resource page at

For £25.00 only you get to hear how she transitioned from being a broke artists to selling thousands of CDs at the Albany Theatre – Deptford. (See fler above for more info)

To book your tickets please call Ayo 07957466322 or Lanre 0787 6541948

I hope to see you there…

Saturday, 6 March 2010

from Congo with love

Everyday living can make you forget how lucky you are to be able to do what you do and how blessed you are to have the freedom to choose where to work, live and even the freedom to choose whatever faith you practice.

Last night I went to the National Theatre at the Southbank to see the photography exhibition of Rankin. Far removed from his famous clients, (he’s worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss and even the Queen of England) he paid a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo with Oxfam, where he gave basic photography workshops to men and women who are victims of a war that started ten years ago! Displaced women, children and men were given the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words and pictures.

Their stories show love and solidarity in the midst of what has been described as the world’s deadliest conflict since World War Two. You probably won’t hear or see this on the front pages of your papers but thanks to Rankin and Oxfam I was able to read these stories and see these pictures myself.

You cannot help but be moved by Alfredo’s story, a forty year old man that conflict and war has taken everything away from, but his love for music. He has had to flee his village three times carrying his seventeen year old guitar with him everywhere he went; that’s how much he loves music.

Farbrize’s love for his wife of seven years is still as strong as when they first met in spite of the war and destruction they have had to endure.

And 78 year old chef Charles now lives in a camp with his six children far removed from the ‘important people’ he once cooked for.

There’s a thread that runs through all the stories I read, these are people who just want what’s best for their families and for themselves.

Their basic hierarchy of needs in no way different from you and I.

From Congo with love is at the National Theatre till the 11th of April 2010 you can also give towards the work that Oxfam is doing in DRC by visiting

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


One day I looked in the mirror and asked myself;

“Who are you?”

And so began my journey of self discovery. I have always been in one choir or another and I have had the most amazing experience(s) of my life. Being a part of a large group of creative people teaches you a lot of things one of them being team work. You see people trying to sound a tad bit louder than the rest of the team; anything to be noticed and heard. You also learn to listen for the next person because the choir sounds best when they sing as one. In the choir I met some amazing individuals who we went on to be the collective known as GK REAL..

Whoa! That taught me something alright! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING WHEN YOU SET YOUR HEART TO IT! I remember our first official gig in Sheringham, I remember our first trip to the US. Oh we had a blast travelling, singing, recording our first album. Working with GK REAL, I re-discovered my love for writing. It has always been my first love but it went on the back burner when living life to pay bills took over. As amazing as the GK REAL experience is, I realised that there was something in me wanting to find expression, something more than organising the group’s dates, singing the harmonies and chasing churches for cheques. (unbelievable, but true! Lol!)

Early this year, it was decided that we take time out to concentrate on working on individual projects for a while and that took me back to the question I asked myself many months ago.

“Who are you?”

A little over twelve months ago I cut off my hair and decided to wear it all natural. What’s that got to do with who you are? I hear you ask. Well, the thing was I couldn’t remember what my natural tight African curls felt or looked like. I wore a perm from the first time my mum FINALLY allowed me to have one and as soon as I had a taste of that ‘crack’ there was no going back for me. I mean I could run my fingers through my hair! But believe it or not, the courage to cut it all off and start over again gave me the courage to learn to play the guitar; Crazy how everything is linked eh? Something happens when you let go and allow those curls grow I tell ya!

I am not your knock relaxers and straighteners, fist in the air Nubian queen, I am just excited about this journey and wanted to share because what I thought was my own story I find is connected to someone else’s story.

I have had a few guitar lessons and started writing songs again and my first song is called beautiful; a story of a little girl that’s always wanted to be like everyone else till she discovered who she was; BEAUTIFUL.

Last Saturday I plucked up the courage to play my song in front of a little crowd of people, strumming one string after another. That was fun, I tell ya! I think I will do this more often.

I am excited about this journey and I can’t wait to see what else I discover about ME.

SO, who are YOU? Beautiful.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

THE SEA - Corinne Bailey Rae

Track Listing

Are you here
I’d do it all again
Feels like the first time
The blackest lily
Love’s on its way
I would like to call it beauty
Paris nights/New York mornings
Paper dolls
Diving for hearts
The Sea

After a hiatus of nearly two years, Corinne Bailey Rae’s new album THE SEA is finally here. I placed my order on the 1st of Feb and like many, couldn’t wait for it to be delivered; I wanted the physical CD in my hands you see so I wasn’t buying it in digital format!

This project is a lot different from her self titled debut album, the songs understandably are a bit darker, her voice, evidently more mature. One song that got my attention was Love's on it's way it goes something like;
I want to be able to say I did more, more than pray/ I did more than spend my money/ Just writing letters/ Than just going out marching/ I did more than talking and saying the right thing/ Wearing the right thing/ It’s time for uprising!

Corinne who has always noted that she sees herself as an artist rather than a performer dedicated this album to the memory of her late husband Jason Bruce Rae

I would love to experience CBR live, I love the way she writes and crafts her art, so I have included that on my wish list and glad to include this project in my album collection.
So should you.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Fixing Barbie

Track Listing

1. I bet you look good on the dance floor
2. Love is..
3. Light outside my window
4. Living with riri (Ugly yesterday)
5. Sorry.. I’m a Christian
5. Ode to a supermodel
6. Beautiful
7. Next
8. Coffee in the morning
9. Childhood photographs
10.The shoe queen
11. Floatin’
12. Sing Dorothy

I was at the album launch last year and had the best album launch experience I have ever had! Michaela and Team Barbie were amazing and there is no reason why this production should not have its run at the West End. As soon as you press play you come face to face with what exactly needs fixing with Barbie. Michaela does a good job with every track to bring the needed to solution to issues of identity, self esteem and true Love. It’s not your usual run off the mill album so I have to warn you that you pick up at your own peril. It is a creative and lovely work of art in my opinion and should be in every girl’s ipod, MP3 players, car stereos and what not!

Don’t get me wrong, boys will love it too but I AM A GIRL! :-)

For all things about FIXING BARBIE and Michaela the Poet please visit

Friday, 22 January 2010

PAT on the devil's pact.

Everyone (unless you have been away on another planet) has been moved in one way or another by the Haiti tragedy.

A little over a week ago we all watched in horror as the extent of the devastation came to light so when I was asked to write something about Pat Robertson's response to this wholw situation, i was like yes please!

So have a read... click below! (and scroll down)

If you are yet to make a donation towards the Haiti relief effort, pls find out from your local charity what you can do to help. Every little does really help.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


‘Good morning aunty’
‘Good morning class!’

We all fell silent when Miss Christie entered the class that morning. I quickly threw the piece of paper I was playing with under my chair and stepped on it hoping that she would not see it as she walked around the class taking attendance.

‘Lanre Fajumo’
‘Present aunty’

I have never understood why we had to call our teachers aunty and uncle when they aren’t really our uncles and aunties but after spending my first year in Nigeria, I understood that everyone above a certain age went by the name aunty or uncle.

‘Today’s lesson is about names’

She scribbled away on the chalk board as she spoke, her hips and bum shaking to the rhythm in her voice. When she finished writing the day’s topic she turned to face the class.

‘Starting from the front I want you to tell the whole class your first name and your Christian name’

Excited that I had my answer ready as always and confident that I would live up to my ‘teacher’s pet’ status, with a broad smile on my face, I waited my turn. When she pointed her long fingers at me to signal my turn, I stood up and shouted.

‘Olanrewaju Olujimi’

I waited for her to finish writing my name on the board and say the obligatory Very good Lanre but when she had only written my first name, she turned around to face the class.

‘Did I not say that I wanted your Christian name before we started this exercise?’ I was a little taken aback by the question so I looked at her waiting for her to explain herself.

‘What is your Christian name Lanre?’

Now I wasn’t sure what she wanted from me so I repeated my Christian name. ‘Olujimi’
‘You are in primary three and you don’t know your Christian name? Here’s is your homework, when you get home tonight ask your parents, write it down and bring it back to school tomorrow.’
She put a dash where my Christian name was meant to be and moved on to the next person who proudly shouted out her Christian name.


I kept to myself for the rest of the day and when my best friend Mariam asked us to go the playground like we normally do? I said no, I would rather have lunch in class by myself. In the end, she stayed with me.

When dad got home from work that evening, I asked him what my Christian name was. He responded, ‘Olujimi’
‘That’s exactly what I told my teacher today and she said I was wrong and I should ask my parents when I get home, write it down and bring it in with me tomorrow.’

My dad sat me down and explained to me the meaning of my Christian name OLUJIMI, God’s gift to me.
'You are God's gift to me' he further explained.

‘Why can’t I have an English name like everyone else?’ I asked.

‘Because you’re not English’ he responded.

Armed with all that information, I returned to school the next day clutching my homework in my hands.