Although Nigeria’s foremost female talking drummer, Ara, is known to walk around beaming with smiles, not many people know the pain behind the smile she wears. After 25 years in the Nigerian entertainment industry, the mother of one has yet to have an album to her name.
When asked why she does not have an album despite the fact that she has spent over two decades in the industry and often travels worldwide for shows, she finally opened up. The singer revealed that her former record label boss was out to destroy her career.
Although she refused to reveal the identity of the former boss, she told Saturday Beats that she went through hell during the seven years she was with the management of the record label.
In an emotion-laden voice she said, “When I met my former record label boss, I thought he was the best thing to ever happen to me. He gave me a platform that I would forever be grateful for but I was blocked out of the entire world. For instance, I did not know what Facebook was until 2008. I did not know anything about social media. When people say nasty things about Michael Jackson, I laugh because I experienced some of what he went through for seven years while he experienced it all through his lifetime. I was not allowed to make friends, my family could not reach me, I was brainwashed and had no idea what was going on in the world. By the time I realised what was happening to me and fled, my life was threatened. I was advised by some senior colleagues in the industry to stay put till my contract expired before moving on with my life. My contract expired in 2007.”
The talking drummer, who is now at the concluding stage of her album, which she hopes to release later this year, revealed more about her ordeal in the hands of her former boss.
According to her, every effort she made to move her music career forward was frustrated.
She said, “When I visited the Ooni of Ife, someone called me aside and asked me about my former boss. I was told that after I was invited to meet with the Ooni of Ife, my former record label boss said that they should not allow me to see the monarch. That is not the first time that I have been told that. There are times when I would go to some places and they would tell me that they would not attend to me because they had been threatened by this same person. I have come out of that and I thank God for my life. It only shows that God exists and no one can truncate my destiny. As one man is trying to bring me down, God has sent someone else to put me back on top because he believes in my talent.
“I have recorded songs in Paris, US, Ghana but none was released. I have been recording but none came out because of the battle I have been fighting. The battle has been both physical and spiritual but I thank God that today I am alive. There were serious threats to my life. I refused to open up to the press because of what I stand for and what I represent but I thank God that at last, my album is going to be released. No one can stop my glory because I have got the backing of God. I have been patient and I have been praying. I am very thankful to my new record label; the Prince is Here Records, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye, for supporting me and telling me that everything is well. I believe that once God says it is your time, no man can stop you. No matter what, delay is not denial. This is the right time for my album to be out and I am releasing it before the end of the second quarter of this year.”