NikkI Laz aka ‘Microphone Diva’ is a fast rising singer and actress, who aspires to ply her trades on the global stage.
In this interview, the graduate of Accounting from Lagos State University (LASU) and indigene of Nsukka, Enugu State, opens up on her career, challenges and new video among other issues.
Tell us about growing up and how you came into music?
I grew up in a great family, I mean there was a lot of fun growling up. I grew up loving music, miming popular songs and even making my own additions to those songs. Truth is, I can’t work without singing. The only way my parents knew back then if I had fever was by my singing non-stop.
Before then, whenever I was alone, working, walking or inside a public vehicle and even in my dreams, I was always singing. At a time I started putting them down or recording them on my phone, and whenever I listened to the recording, I discovered I had a great voice. Later, I started creating my own song and that was how I recorded my first demo. After the demo, I could no longer control the music spirit in me, so I started running around for help and support so I could go to the studio and produce the songs. But everybody I ran to refused to assist, giving me one excuse or the other. Some even advised me to dump music entirely (laughter).
You sound so passionate, what does music mean to you?
Music is life; food for the soul. Music is the only remedy to boring and awkward moments. Music is a mood changer, it’s always there to give you happiness and hope to face the challenges of life. It’s like a soothing balm in stressful times, because it makes life beautiful and sweet. Good music heals the wounds of the heart; I love music so much.
Who are your role models?
My role model back in the day was Brenda Fassie, but along the line, it became Tiwa Savage.
What has been your greatest challenge as a singer?
My greatest challenge has definitely been finance, and of course, falling into the wrong hands of producers and marketers.
Have you released any album till date?
I started out as an Ariaria gospel artiste. I dropped the hit song, ,’God of Authority’. Back then, I was known as Nkechi Laz. The audio did great in the market; we sold more than 10,000 copies and the video too was a bomb!
Why did you quit gospel for secular music despite the success?
I was struggling and marketers kept frustrating me because I was a gospel act. Marketers kept rejecting my songs, saying that I was up-and-coming hence they couldn’t take the risk of financing me unless I sponsored the album myself, which I was not capable of doing. Some music producers even wanted to sleep with me before they could work with me, but I stood my ground. At some point, I wanted to lose hope until one fateful day I was free-styling a song, and before I knew it, people started liking my performance and spraying me money! Before I knew it, people started calling me for shows and paying me as well. That was when I realised that, as a gospel act, I was only spending but nothing was coming in; and that lasted for up to 10 years. So, I decided to veer into hip-hop in November 2017, and since then, I’ve made more than a million naira from shows.
If I may tell you, it was not easy at all but if you believe in your dreams, you can sacrifice anything (for success) even at the risk of going hungry. I once hawked clothes at Alaba International Market just to survive and sponsor my music career. Life was a big challenge. I received a lot of insult and humiliation but I never joked with prayer and I never gave up until God answered me and made a way for me by giving me shows.
Was your family supportive when you started music?
Yes, but at a point they started seeing it as something that will not work. They advised I should look for a job or find a business for myself. I gave it a serious thought but music kept on disturbing me, and each time I thought about quitting, I became sad.
Have you been a victim of sexual harassment?
Yes, many tried but it didn’t work because I believed I would make it. Maybe that’s why it has taken me so long to get here.
Have you ever cried for love?
I have never cried for love. I’m always being loved. But whenever I discover that the love is not mutual, I quit.
As a woman, what do you think is the most attractive part of your anatomy?
My height and great figure. But then, I believe every part of me is beautiful.
How many times do guys hit on you daily?
Many times. In fact, I can’t count (laughter).
Are you in a relationship?
I’m dating my career for now, until I see my ideal man – a man who will be a supporter of my career, a God fearing man. I am talking about a man who will understand the life of a singer; a mature and understanding man.
How would you describe your music?
I think it’s Afro-centric. You see, there’s a lot of African melody in my sound. I will describe my kind of music as ‘African melody blended with hip hop’. It’s a sound that motivate and inspires.
We understand you dropped a video on January 10. Could you tell us about it?
Yes, I have just dropped the official video for my latest single, ‘Iyawe’. It came with a nice and different concept. I have many unreleased singles, so my fans should watch out! The ‘Iyawe’ video is currently trending on YouTube.
What was the craziest thing a male fan did to you?
That was the day a fan tried to kiss me in public, I was so embarrassed!
Tell us about your acting career?
It has not been easy but we are moving up. I started acting with a movie entitled, LASU Babe. I started acting free of charge, but later, I started getting paid for jobs. Some of my movies are screened on Iroko TV and Africa Magic. They include ‘Devil in Red Sea’, ‘Osofia The Silent Teacher 4’, ‘Sharon’, ‘Perfect Wife’ and many more.
What are your dreams?
I want to be an international super star, representing Africa with my kind of music. I also want to inspire young people and impact lives.