Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Families and friends of Lagos big boy, Fred Omame are yet to come to terms with death of their son, brother, colleague and loved one who died a couple of weeks back at 42. Fred was a big boy in all ramifications, and was also successful in his career. He was the Managing Partner/COO, QED Technologies Ltd, Lagos.
For him, it was a one year battle before he finally gave up the ghost a couple of weeks back and was also buried almost immediately. Before the death, Fred was hospitalized for almost a year. The genesis of his health problem actually started last year Easter, when he was involved in a ghastly power bike accident on Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos. This is because apart from his business acumen, another part of his life that Fred enjoyed is riding on power bikes. He was critically and seriously injured from the accident. And for him, his healing process was slow and steady. Fred had a chest infection whilst at St Nicholas hospital in Lagos where he was rushed to after the accident which became a serious battle for him.
Fred was flown to South Africa 10 months ago and an operation was carried out on him. He was then placed on antibiotics and the doctors were hoping that he would be able to recuperate but when that did not happened, they had to assist in clearing the chest so he can breath a lot better. His neck bones were healing nicely but the physio could not commence until he is in full health. There were daily CT scans to monitor the progress. He was taken out of intensive care and put in the normal ward. But at the time when family and friends taught he was getting better, he developed some complications and had to be returned back to the intensive unit where he was for weeks.
At this point, the bill keeps increasing, because for each day he spends in intensive care, the bill then was 24,000 Rand(approx 1,800 pounds). Obviously, the sooner he left the ICU, the better financially. At this point, a lot of his families, friends, colleagues, bikers association all rallied around him and was able to raise some funds for his hospital bill and treatment. Most of the money was paid into Fred’s sister bank account, to keep their friend alive and everybody was waiting for a positive news about his health improvement.
His health also improved, and towards the end of last year, he was brought back into the country, and transferred to a Lagos hospital recuperating, though he was not100% physically fit, the family just had to bring him home as the hospital bill kept increasing and everyone’s generally believe was that since his healing had started, it would get better by the time he got back to Nigeria. A lot of his friends were so happy to have him back home as his recovery process had also commenced, and had been recuperating ever since. So it was a deep shock to a lot of people when the news of his death broke 3 weeks ago. This was because, a lot of people had actually thought he had survived the crisis and his health was stable. According to information, Fred fell into coma and died and that was it. It was painful to everyone reason been that after fighting the battle for a year and went through so much pains, he still gave up the ghost. He was finally laid to rest on February 5th, 2011. Procession actually started from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos to the Victoria Cementry, Lekki. It was a very sad and gloomy day for everyone present at the event. This is because he was loved by all, he was a very nice and easy going felow who desired to live.
And Fred is not the only Power Biker that had died in recent times. Recalled that a Lagos big boy, Tamunotonye Boma Claude- Wilcox also died on 21st of January, 2011 from power bike accident too. It was also a shocking experience, as in his own case, he waved goodbye few hours earlier to his friends in Lagos, and while his friends were still waiting for him in Porthacourt, they were hit with the sudden and devastating news of his death. He was said to have set off for Port-Harcourt from Lagos to attend the traditional wedding of Tonye Graham-Douglas and had called ahead to let them know. To usher his friend out of Bacherlorhood, he chose to make the trip from Lagos to Port-Harcourt on his bike! City People learnt that it was a smooth ride until just after Warri around Patani, just about an hour to Port-Harcourt. Along the Uvwreni junction, he was said to have collided with a vehicle and died instantly. Just like Fred, Tonye too was a big boy and well known within the Downstream Oil sector, he used to work with Sahara Energy before he left to co-start Petroleum Brokers Ltd who are Energy Trailers.
The interesting thing is that Fred and Tonye are both members of one of the most popular bikers club in the country, Easy Rider.
Penultimate week, the Chief Executive Officer of Hyra Motors, Seyi Oyinlola hosted stake holders, friends, colleagues, celebrities and high prominent personalities to a classy event as the company launches a new set of Geely Cars, called Panda into the Nigeria market. It was indeed a night of glitz, fun, fashion and entertainment. The event which took place at Get Arena, Lekki, Lagos was planned and coordinated by one of the best hands in the event industry, Ndidi Obioha of Enthyst Event who ensured that everything went so smoothly and successful. The event kicked off with a cocktail session which lasted for hours before the guests were been ushered into the main activity of day. To thrilled the guests, there was a fashion show by 2 Island wave making designers, Nanci Nwadire(Iconic Designs) and Ose Amusa-Eke (Remay Fashion) who unveiled their latest collection which was mind blowing. While a fantastic performance was done by the latest rave of the moment, Ice Prince who sang his popular sang ‘Oleku’ as the new Panda cars were officially launched alongside with his performance. The all new Panda, a 1.3 litre small car comes in a design concept and appearance that looks like the Chinese Mascot that was used during the last Beijing Olympic.
The design style, both interior and exterior is certainly interesting and show a brave new world for Geely cars. The design of Panda from Geely is based on the standard of C-NCAP four-star assessment that meets the requirements of U-NCAP safety regulations. The body adopts the design of fully-cage structure and can effectively absorb the bump different directions, thus providing more protections for the drivers and drivers.
The steering wheel is soft in texture and has a comfortable sense of holding and besides, it can be adjusted into a customized position, thus proving favorable operating comfort for different customers.
Externally, the headlight with black frames adds certain similarities between the car fascia head and looks just the same as the black eye socket of the animal called Panda.
Entertainment is one package which has been taken to the next level. CD player comes with USB which makes it convenient to listen to new songs through USB flash disc. The interface adds lots more choices for the customer. Finally, the good news is that the Panda will be offered to small car freaks especially the young at heart at a price lesser than its competitors.
Notable among those who graced this official launch of the sleek car include the likes of Erelu Mojisola Omisore, Lai Mohammed, Jay Chukwueke, Adebola Williams, Gbolahan Osinowo, Yomi Jemibewon, Ifeoma Igwilo, Bisi Ibidapo Obe, Blacky amongst others.
Monday, February 21, 2011
The new collection from Nigerian fashion brand, Tiffany Amber has been christened “Raw Glamour“. Tiffany Amber is renowned for their silk and chiffon pieces and they certainly deliver that here – silk done in deliciously luxe tones; a new addition to the Tiffany Amber palette is exquisite Austrian lace which we see crafted into standout pieces including a purple motorcycle jacket and finally, we spotted the graphic print – all pieces are exquisitely cut. The power of this collection is in the precise cut that enables the fabric to drape just right. The silhouette is fluid and all about flow. We love the slouchy wide legged trousers and our favourite piece is “Scarlett” – the floor length one-armed dress with the asymmetrical dipped back .
Here is the official collection statement from Tiffany Amber:
Prepare to be seduced by the sensual style of our Spring/Summer 2011 collection tagged “Raw Glamour”. Chic contrasts; from 70’s glamour and dazzling bright colours, to our lacy affair and our iconic airy silks come together to create a vibrant collection.
Think breakfast in Capri, lunch in St Tropez and dance the night away in the heydays of Studio 54 and you have Raw Glamour, a collection inspired by the allure of the 70’s style icons who’s elegance has been present in many of the Tiffany Amber collections.
‘This season, I had an image of a glamorous and exotic Tiffany Amber woman who loves to provoke and seduce with cheeky opulence- I used aqua, spring green, daffodil, white, and iris for a sophisticated and confident elegance’.
Suiting softened with a long and oversized boyfriend Jacket, fluid trousers, silk shirts and our classic flowy dresses come together to help you navigate the summer fashion landscape.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Ndidi Obioha is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Enthyst Event Management. Five years in the business, her event management outfit has hosted countless events which include A-list fashion shows, corporate events, top celebrity weddings and birthdays. She is not just a planner, she conceptualizes, organizes, defines, packages, plans, manages and co-ordinates events. Before she ventured into event planning, she had a stint in the banking industry. And like a seasoned professional, she handles all requests for attention with saintly calm, dealing with each situation and tackling each request in an orderly manner. And one commendable thing about this industrious woman is the fact that she has been able to juggle between her different lines of businesses without batting an eyelash. She is the owner of a beauty salon, Haircraft Beauty Zone; CEO of Enthyst Event Management; a stylist; and fashion editor of TW magazine.
And recently, she shocked everyone as she floats a multi-million naira one-stop- bridal house, also called the Enthyst Bridal House that specializes in all bridal dresses and accessories from head to toe. The outfit which took her 4 months to turn into a reality with the help of her husband was launched in a classy way on January 23, 2011 at the store outfit located at Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos. The event attracted a lot of her friends and clients, the likes of Ifeoma Williams, Kate Henshaw, Ifeoma Nwachukwu, Genevieve Nnaji, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Ose Amusa- Eke, Susan Eyo-Honesty and a host of others. She also unveiled some of her latest collections ranging from the bride’s outfit, groom’s outfit, maids of honour outfit and red carpet outfits to thrill the guests, and the styles were indeed mind-blowing. City People Fashion Editor, BOLA AKINBOADE met with her and in this interview, she opens up on why she is floating a one-stop-bridal outfit.
What is Enthyst Bridal House all about? What does it entail?
It’s a one-stop- centre. What I have realized in the industry having planned a lot of weddings is that a lot of brides don’t put themselves together correctly. And for me, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. So one of the things we do here is to also offer consultation services, where we help you look right. So the idea here is that we have a one-stop-centre whereby everything you need, from top-to-bottom, you can get it as a bride, from the dresses which are stunning. We try not to pick the usual dresses, when we are picking our dresses, we are after quality of fabric and style; those are the determining factors for what we are looking for when we are picking our dresses. So the idea is pick up your dress, everything thing you need you can get from here, the Tiaras, the Veil, the hair accessories, the jewelries, the shoes, your guest register book, everything that you can imagine that you will need, you can get from here
So what let to the idea of you floating a bridal house since you are doing so well as an Event Planner?
For me, it was to help brides look right, it’s very important, because I have seen a lot of brides don’t look right on their wedding day, that is one thing that kind of inspired this. So it’s to help them get together and to create confidence, which is the whole idea of a one-stop-centre. Even for red carpet clothes, you can come here, pick up your red carpet outfit, go straight to the salon and have your hair done, and enter your car and go to your events, that’s the whole idea of what we tried to do.
I heard that it took you only 4 months to pull all these together. You are in money o, and its just a confirmation that you have been cleaning out big time as an Event Planner
(Laughs). It is God oh, but trust me, not a dime was borrowed. The truth is this, the idea came during one of my trips back to Nigeria, I traveled, and on the flight, because I’m always thinking, I’m always trying to do something new and all that. I’m a very restless person, and something said to me, open up a one-stop- bridal centre and I’m like, okay. So initially I was going to do it in my Yaba outfit. But I said to myself again, no, if you want to do this, do it well, have the location right. So I knew what I wanted, and then, just like that, it just kept happening. My husband totally designs all of this for me. So with his help and all that, I have approached an interior decorator and they gave me some scary bill, and I believe so much in what my husband does. He has this natural gift for been able to turn a place around. So I just told him to equally do this, and he came and did it and that is what we have today. So between the 2 of us, it took us four months to put our heads together. We got the place in September and started working in October, by December, the place was already near completion
What about the choice of color, you played with a lot of purple?
Purple is my favorite color, I have always been a purple person. It’s my brand color. And my birthstone is Amethyst which is purple. It’s brought me so much luck and I believe in the color. I’m a sucker for purple, any day anytime.
What I also find interesting about the whole thing is that, over the years, you didn’t really portray yourself as a wedding planner. You are more of a fashion show planner. How did you now infuse all these together?
Wedding has always been there but you know because I have done a lot of fashion shows, because, a lot of my colleagues were not into the fashion shows. We were like one of the few companies; everybody just automatically assumes that is what we are into. But we’ve done a lot of wedding. So for me, I also wanted to bring out that aspect of the company and that is one of the things that made me put this together. And I have realized that in this industry that when you talk about event planning, it was more my name than the company name. This to help put the company name, Enthyst out there. That is also one of the things that inspired this whole thing.
Talking about your collection, where do you get there from?
I travel out of the country to get all my collections. Like I mentioned earlier that I was particular about what I want, I didn’t just want anything. We went to Lebanon, Turkey; we went to the United States of America, so it’s from all over. We went to South Africa
So when you were shopping for those dresses, what was going through your mind?
I was after quality of fabric first; I see the kind of quality that people carry around. I was disturbed by quality of fabric, because, you know, it is for bride. There should be this angelic look about the bride and the fabric helps to bring that out. So it was first the fabric for me, then the style. Those were the things I was actually looking for and not about the 2010 or 2011 look. And also taking into consideration the way a Nigerian woman will like to portray, that also helps me in selecting the style.There are a lot of style I pick here that have to do with totally identifying the Nigerian woman’s look, I try to help enhance their curves and all that. I also help a lot of bride to have a double look, at some point during the reception; you will change to a stunning outfit. So we have that collection where you have outfit that you can change to.
What are your price ranges like?
The prices range from as low as $700 dollars to as much as $2000 dollars. It’s not a lot compared to the quality of what you are getting and that is the truth. Because these are the same dresses you will see for thrice abroad, but we are dealing with suppliers and manufacturers directly, that is why we have them at rock bottom prices.
What are the extra efforts you will be doing to push this new line into a household name, because it’s different from your event planning business?
We will do a lot of shows, but the truth is, each outfit will speak for itself. The moment you see one of our outfits, it’s enough to bring you here to come and see what we have, that is the whole idea.
So how do you want to juggle between your line of businesses, because your event planning outfit is already a hectic one with a busy schedule?
Everything is fun for me; I enjoy every single thing I do, so I never get tired, that is the truth. I have fun when I do what I do. So that is what is most important. I must enjoy what I do for me to do this, if I don’t enjoy, I will not touch it, because that is what will tire me and wear me out. So I’m not scared, because anything I tried to touch or get involve with, it’s because I have a passion for it. So passion totally drives me, and from the passion, I get a lot of fun for what I do. There is nothing else that I will rather be doing than what I’m doing.
It is no longer news that Doyinsola, one of the daughters of late M.K.O Abiola is getting married in a matter of weeks.
For several months now, the news has been in the air that the look alike daughter of Dr.(Mrs) Hamidat Doyinsola Abiola was about to tie the nuptial knots and was planning a really big wedding.
City People was the first to break the story last year, after which other celebrity magazines feasted on the news.
We can authoritatively reveal that the Engagement will hold on 12th March, 2011 in Lagos. We can also exclusively give you details of the wedding, plus an insight into the one page letter Dr. Abiola sent out to friends and family members.
In her moving letter, Dr Abiola, a seasoned journalist wrote: “My prayer for my wonderful, only child was to be blessed with a partner that will not only be her lover but her friend and soul mate. I know this is a natural, simple hope of a mother knowing full well that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. After making my supplications, I got on with daily routines of life fully reliant on God to perform my desired miracle. He did not disappoint and has, once again intervened to give me my heart desire.
Doyinsola’s upcoming engagement to Oluwabamise is a reminder that in the middle modern, self centered life, love can still give us a fairy tale.
I watched them as they go through their journey of love and I am convinced that Oluwabamise has indeed found the key to Doyinsola’s heart which is beautiful to watch in its effortless simplicity. To God be all the glory! Oluwabamise popped the question and Doyinsola said Yes!
There is a sparkle in her eyes and her finger too and she wants to share her excitement with you. So we are having an Engagement party, will you be our guests? It has literally taken a village to raise Doyinsola and I wish you, as one of the villagers to be there for her on her special day. But as much as we desire your presence, we ask more for your prayers and well wishes to send them forth on a blissful marital journey. Emboldened by Maya Angelou, the great American poet’s words, I dare say I gave birth to one child, a daughter; but I now have a daughter and a son who, like yours by God’s grace, will multiply. So join with us with your best wishes and dancing shoes to boogie as they take their rite of passage into marriage.”
The details of the engagement party are as follows:
The venue: Expo Hall, Eko Hotel and Suites, Plot 1415, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Date: March 12, 2011
The Aso Ebi is an Orange and Silver gele and ipele
City People can also tell you for free that Dr Doyin Abiola plans to make her daughter’s wedding The Wedding of the Year being her only daughter.
Penultimate week, London big girl, Omobola Adepero Fadina floated a fashion and make up studio called Blush, located on Victoria Island, Lagos. The beautiful lady who is a graduate of Business Administration from Brunel University of London specializes in sales of skin care; make up, fragrance and performance, hair and beauty products and also operates a professional beauty hair unsex salon. Blush was created to fill a void in the market of simple, flattering and wearable makeup that is readily available. Blush’s unique approach to beauty has been a long awaited gift for both women and men. The product in her store are products from popular labels which include Frederic Fekkai, Opl, Jane Carter, Mizani, Ojon Hair products, Denman Brushes, Lippmann, Nail Collection, Moroccan Oil and Sensual Collection by Mink Hair and Blush’s own private label.
Chalya Shagaya, the daughter of Brigadier General John Shagaya is the former model turned fashion stylist who has helped many celebrities put their wardrobe together.
But for sometime now, Chalya Shagaya has been off the scene. This is because she moved back to her former base in United States of America a few years back, and since then, Chalya has kept herself busy with her work. The International Fashion Stylist, Consultant and PR manager is presently cleaning out in America as she is invading the Western Market with African fashion.
She was able to achieve this because of the strong clientele of African designers, socialites and fashionistas she had while in Nigeria, and now based in Washington D.C, she is helping these same personalities break into the U.S market. She has also held several positions in the fashion industry, producing fashion shows and music videos. To date, her largest success has been with African designer Deola Sagoe who now shows during New York Fashion week and whose garments have been featured in several publications.
With her ever increasing profile, Shagaya has now expanded her consultancy on press; marketing and branding strategies to U.S based designers like Korto Momolu of Project Runway, as well as a number of African recording artists.
MOVIE SYNOPSIS:When a success engineer, Jack was awarded a
Power Plant Contract by the Government, that would be the beginning of a nightmare for him and his family.
Susan who ought to have had the Contract, takes a blind revenge but
one of Jack's friends Col.Ben who is obsessed with been a general
holds forth for self benefits, but for honor Jack's family would be preserved.
it all played out on the 90NinthDay as Directed by Paul Apel.
Chec out movie synopsis on http://www.youtube.com
Professional Certified Makeup Artists of Nigeria (PCMAN) is Nigeria's first makeup artist association for certified professional makeup artists. The association was established in 2008 by top make up artist, Eni Balogun , the CEO of Lise Makeover Studio and Lise Beauty range.
The association was established to bring creative like minds in the industry together to pave way and set standards for current pros, the up and coming and also aspiring beauty pros. And ever since it was launched, Eni Balogun, the award winning makeup artiste has been working effortlessly to make sure that the goals of the association are achieved. Though the association started with a couple of makeup artists who are members, now, more and more makeup artists have joined this association. The Roll call of the PCMAN members are Eni Balogun(Lise Pro Beauty), Oluchi Kanu(Joilie Makeovers), Omontese Akhetuamen(Beauty Cook), Biola Ariyo(Imagines), Lola Jimoh Davies(Evolve), Dorothy Allison, Aramide Santos(Pretty Tall Order), Yemisi Dada(Insure Beauty), Nkiru Patricia Onusulu(Soft Touch Makeovers), Kunbi Fashakin(Sit Pretty), Fatima Amoda(Clique), Precious Ogbuigwe(Kizito Store), Ayoola Etiko(Ayo’s Place), Aderonke Adeoye(Canvas Beauty) and Juliana Ozovelie.
The P.C.M.A.N members are set to attend the Famous annual MAKEUP SHOW NYC this May 2011 as they are cordially invited again this year by the founder of THE POWDER GROUP .
Renowned and award winning photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi is coming up with something new and fresh. Kelechi who has carved a niche for himself as a celebrity photographer and has captured the world of beauty queens, models, fashion designers, celebrity brides amongst others is set to hit the news-stand with a magazine called Mania, a fashion and lifestyle magazine. He is floating the magazine with his business, Dimeji Alara, a Lagos based fashion stylist. They have been working on this project since last year, and is set for the launch of this magazine. The magazine which is a 200- paged all gloss magazine poses to be Nigeria’s first fashion magazine with true Nigerian content and context.
Alhaja Amisu was one of the biggest Cosmetics dealers at Tejuosho market in Lagos before the fire incident that razed the market. Her shop, Alhaja Cosmetic Gallery, attracted high profile celebrities, makeup artists, undergraduates and a hosts of others. Alhaja has obviously moved on as she now owns 2 big and upscale cosmetics shop in Ilupeju and Akoka, Lagos where she stocks top quality beauty products. There is hardly anything you can’t get from her shop which is one of the things that gives her edge over others. She also sells at rock bottom prices since she get her products directly from the manufacturers in Europe. Owing to the huge success her outfit has recorded in Lagos, Alhaja has commenced plans to expand her business.
She recently opened a big outlet in Wuse Market, Abuja, and it’s going to be an A-class beauty shop. She will be shuttling between Lagos and Abuja because of her new business deal.
The search for the Allure Style Icon 2011 has kicked off. Allure is a special style pull-out from the stable of Vanguard Newspaper. The search is for the most stylish male and female in the country. And the aim is not only to celebrate them because they are powerful dresser, but also in recognition of their contribution to the glamour industry. The person that will emerge the winner would also be a role model to the younger generation.
The winners will be selected not because they are Allure favorites but through voting, after a list of outstanding and stylish women and men has been published by the fashion magazine.
Last year, the duo of Barrister Grace Egbagbe and Pastor Paul Adefarasin emerged as the Allure Style Icon at the maiden edition, and they were hosted to a classy event at the Atlantic Beach Center, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Tiwa Ukeje is one of the beautiful daughters of the late Chief Theophilus Benson and his wife, Esther. She used to be the toast of all on the fashion and social radar not only for her good looks and laudable pedigree, but also because of her enterprising skills that fetched her much fame. She used to be rank as one of the top and creative milliners in town as she has a long list of celebrities who, all too often, adorned pieces from her hat lounge. Her award winning outfit is noted for creating exotic and unique pieces of hats and hair pieces. She used to command a lot of attention with her jaw dropping hats. But the question on the lips of many is where is this talented milliner, because ever since she walked down the aisle with her boyfriend of years back, little or nothing has been heard about her or her outfit. She has been keeping a low profile.
Gogo Majin, the daughter of Folake Majin, one of Lagos finest designer who came on the fashion scene in 2004. aside from stepping into her mother’s shoes as a fashion designer, which actually runs in the family as her older sister is into fashion too,, she also decided to follow her passion which is music, after completing her study in vocal technology in London where she took voice lessons with the legendary Seth Riggs who is the voice coach to music icons Michael Jackson, Steve wonder etc. She recently made a huge debut on the Nigerian scene and has 2 albums to her credit. She is also a voice coach and runs a radio programme, Vocalize Radio Show on Inspiration FM 92.3. She is currently the latest sensation on the scene right now. In this interview with City People Fashion Editor BOLA AKINBOADE, she opened up on her life and passion for music.
Your mum is one of the most celebrated fashion designers in Nigeria and since you share a very strong bond with her, why didn’t you consider fashion?
Well I have been involved to some extent in the fashion industry, I have a clothing line that I have designed that’s coming out soon I have a mom who is a designer and older sister who is a designer too and I think that by association, their talent has rubbed off on me and because I have learned a lot about fashion from them. Because of my mom I have come to love the process of designing and all that comes with it. But I always considered music as my top priority.
At what point was it very clear to you that you were going to become a singer?
From a very young age I was very passionate about singing. I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed learning new songs and singing them to myself at home, I sang at school and I also sang in the children’s choir at my church. I would say from the age of 8, I was sure that I wanted to be a singer. I kept it to myself though and I just continued singing and learning all that I could.
Why then did you choose Gospel considering the fact that you have a fantastic voice and would have made it easily in the secular music?
Well, I don’t necessarily subscribe to labeling music that way. I think that the lyrics of songs definitely point to what we believe and because I am a Christian, I believe that whatever kind of music I do should not contradict my belief. So long as am doing that, I am satisfied.
Who were the singers that you listened to while growing up that made you want to become a singer?
My dad had all kinds of music and we listened to all of them but my earliest musical influences were people like Michael Jackson, Jackson five, Whitney Houston and many others. Even as a child, Michael Jackson’s voice moved me so much and I could always connect with him and I learned so much from him. I adored Whitney Houston’s singing ability and hoped that one day I would be able to have the kind of control, power and dynamics that she had.
Have you always had a natural ability to sing or it came with of practice?
I have always had the natural ability to sing and instinctively know what to do song wise. I know it’s a gift from God. Of course you get better with practice (and practice you must, your voice diminishes if you don’t) and as the years went by, my technique continued to improve and become more refined as I continued to learn. But from a very young age, I had the natural innate ability to sing.
What kind of vocal training have you had in the past?
I studied vocal technology in London and I also took voice lessons with the legendary Seth Riggs who is the voice coach to Michael Jackson, Steve wonder etc.
Let’s talk about your voice training, how did you also come up with that?
For a long time I was looking for a contemporary voice coach in Nigeria. I had been singing for years and some bad vocal habits I had acquired out of ignorance was giving me vocal trouble, I also wanted to learn more about how to use my voice. I searched all over but didn’t find one, so I went and studied abroad and I tried to find the best in the game to train with them. Almost five years ago I decided to become the contemporary voice coach that I searched for years ago but didn’t find.
Who are you targets as regards your voice training school?
My target really is all professional voice users. By that, I mean anyone who uses their voice for extended periods on their job. Also, if your source of income depends on your vocal ability, then you also fall into the professional voice user category.
Can you share your experience at the MTN Project fame and how influential has it been in the growth of your musical career?
It was an interesting experience; but it entailed a lot of hard work. Being the voice coach to 15 different contestants is challenging mentally, it also requires a lot of patience. I was solely responsible for teaching them proper vocal technique, vocal hygiene and also how to emote and improvise the songs in such a way that their own vocal uniqueness was able to shine through. I really love my job so I am able to enjoy the process and of course, everyone could see the massive improvement that followed with each week that went by and that made me very happy.
When are you releasing your new album and what should we expect?
I am currently recording music for my third album which I hope will be out later this year. It’s a different from the old music that i’ve released in the past and I don’t want to reveal too much yet, but it will be a very lovable album.
When you are writing a song, what inspires you?
Several things, the bible, experiences, nature amongst others.
Has your music career been financially lucrative?
(LAUGHS)I was asked once if I was smiling to the bank and I told the interviewer that I wanted to laugh all the way to the bank. That’s my answer.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects and any performances coming up?
I just started the VOCALIZE radio show on Inspiration fm 92.3. It airs every Saturday at 9am. It’s a vocal tip show where I reveal practical yet revolutionary vocal tips that will take your voice to the next level. It’s really nice because in the past, I have written voice training articles in the newspaper and I have done shows on television, but this particular show is compressed for people on the go. So for example, while you are driving ,you can listen in and get the vocal tips. Also in a few months ,I will be unveiling my clothing line. It will be a ready to wear line for young women and the young at heart; it’s called GOGO MAJIN for Schon Afrique.
Soraya Adji is the brain behind the fast rising fashion label, Younass Creations making waves on the Island. Her outfit situated in Victoria Island used to be the convergence of most of the Island celebs and fashion icon before she went off the scene for 3 years. Soraya is back in a big way with new and fresh ideas that will be taking her fashion business to another. No doubt, her period of stay in Paris has also changed her creativity and style. Her new collection even though is still African, has a touch of French cut. In this interview, she opens up to City People Fashion Editor BOLA AKINBOADE on why she has been off the scene and what to expect from her, now that she is back.
You have been off the scene for sometime now, what have you been up to and what led to your disappearance from the scene?
I was off the scene because of a personal reason. My mother had to battle with cancer for 3 years and she died last year. I had to leave my work and be with her.
During those periods, what then happened to your fashion business, did you have someone running it for you or it was also put on hold?
I put it aside because my mother was my Number 1 priority. That was why I left everything aside to concentrate on her. And I learnt a lot when I was away in Paris. I learnt about my industry, about where I was going, how I could get better, and at the end of the day, I became a much better person. Wherever there is a disappointment, there is a blessing, because at the end of the day, I stopped my career for 3 years, and I learnt so much in 3 years. My ideas and inspiration has gone more matured, with age, and now I have more knowledge than I have years ago in the fashion industry.
You must really share a very strong bond with your mum, for you to put your business down. What is the connection, Are you the first child?
No, I am not the first born, I am one of the closest person to her, she was my best friend and other half. She was my priority. In this life, there is nothing like your mother, you have to cherish her, because she is the most important part of your life. She gave you life through God, so you owe everything thing to her. I wouldn’t be a designer that I am if it wasn’t for her, because she inspired me when we were little and living in Paris, she was the one dressing us all the time in different ways, having her own ideas, having tailors. So I learnt all I am doing today because of my mother. So I have no choice than leaving everything aside and concentrate on her.
When she finally left, how did you take it?
It’s a painful thing because she is the most important part of my life, but I decided she is still with me and she is still going to be my strength and lead me towards a brighter and a stronger vision in my career. So I took it upon myself, its more of a challenge, to prove it to her wherever she is that her daughter is going to do well. That she has teach her daughter something that her daughter is using for her life and hopefully, I will teach my own children about fashion and how to take this industry to another level
When you came back from your break, you were able to pick up immediately. How were you able to achieve that? For some people, when they go off the scene and come back, it’s very difficult for them to pick up almost immediately.
I should say that I thank God and the fact that people are enjoying my vision of things, they are enjoying the style I have because it’s unique. And you know people are always looking for unique things, you don’t want to dress and see a thousand people wearing the same thing. You want something unique so that when you go out, people will say, wow, this is different. I think, to stay in this industry, you have to make your statement, you have to make people always feel that you are different , and people love the fact that I am been different and am I here to bring that to them. So I guess am lucky too.
Now that you are back, what should we expect?
It’s a rebirth of Younass, its French touch to the story because now for the past 3 years, I have been all over France, have been going to the Middle East a lot. And I learnt a lot from them. I have always been inspired by Asian anyway, by the Oriental look, that was my own thing, which is an African fabric cut into French cut. So now that I am back, there is a lot to come definitely
Does that means that you will be deviating from what you used to do before?
Actually, I have 2 things in mind .The first is my old couture line, that people know me for, that is, dresses for event, gala, parties and all that. Then I will be launching a cheaper line soon. This is a more affordable line, which will be for somebody who want to wear a nice dress, and does not know where to get it from, instead of going for an European designer, they can get a local designer that will give them what an European designer can give them, for a cheaper price. So I am targeting the high street fashion. Because from my stay abroad, have noticed women from all spheres of life would rather prefer to go to GAP, Zahra and others to buy something which is affordable. And I realized that we don’t have that in Nigeria, if you don’t spend a N50,000, N100,000 N200,000 on a dress , you are not something. Why? I want to change that, I want people to know that dressing is not about how much money you spend, but about the style, about what you can bring. This is something that staying abroad made to realize. You can dress well, with N5,000 or N10,000. So it’s just about your own personal touch on the dress.
But how do you want to achieve that because most of the clients you even cater for are class conscious. Most believe that if you are coming to Younass, you must really have the money
That is what I am trying to change now. Because have learnt in life that fingers are not equal, we are all human being and we have all got the same right, of dressing, of eating, of enjoying life, because life from what I learnt this past few years, life is too short . So that is why I want to enjoy it. And that is why I say to myself, even if you are in Ibadan, Kano, Adamawa, Abuja, anywhere, I want anybody to wear Younass and say, you know what, I have got a Younass dress, I got it at an affordable price and I am enjoying it. I want to show more compassion because have learnt that people are very important in life, and you have to cherish people that you have because you don’t know when they are going to go. So we have to learn how to share,our knowledge. I want to share my knowledge of fashion with the common person. Fashion should not only be affordable to the rich people alone. It’s not fair, because fashion is the state of the mind. Not a state of how much money you have in your bank account.
Talking about your fabric, they are quite unique, where do you get them from?
I get some from Nigeria, some from Ghana, some from France and Dubai. Because I have got the opportunity to travel a lot, I mix all those world together to become one in my vision.
But when you are creating your designs, what are those things that run through your mind. What inspires most of your designs?
Honestly, it depends on my mood. Sometimes when I travel to the Middle East, and I see the way the women are covered and still look elegant, this inspired the caftan and long tunics. Then sometimes I see a traditional cut in wedding dresses in places like Dubai and all that, I say to myself, this is really beautiful, I want to have that tradition inside one of my clothes. Then I go to France too, and am shopping and see somebody and I say wow, this person is stylish and I like the cut. It’s simple and European. So am trying, this 3 continents, am trying to mix a lot, my own heritage which is Africa and my exposure to Europe and Asia. I think I am connected to these 3 places one way or the other.
What are the recent activities that have been happening at Younass ever since you came back?
I have been doing fashion shows; have been doing weddings, a lot of bride maids dresses. Then people that are going to events, and they want something fabulous. But have been having a lot of bridesmaid dresses, which is a good market for me. Before I used to do it but it wasn’t that regular, but now, every month, I am doing brides maid clothes because you realize that every month, there is a wedding and everybody want to dress and want something unique. So instead of them going to America, they would rather make a dress locally saving them from the stress. This is something I have been doing. Since have been back, I’m also trying to get the other market through the internet. I want to start getting more customers from abroad Already, customers from Europe, America and even Canada have started are ordering for my dress. So I am quite happy with the new Younass, now it’s more global.
Your other new line that you are starting very soon, are you also planning to launch it in a very grand way?
Yes, am planning for that maybe before the year runs out because, I want to plan it well. It’s going to be called the “Street of Africa” by Younass. Because the street of Africa has so much style and potentials, and it’s hungry about knowledge, dressing, enjoying life, so I want to give them that cherry on the cake. Something for them to enjoy. When I travel abroad, I shop more from Zahra and Gap, than in Channel and Gucci. So that is what a designer should never forget. My father once told me, that the mass is where the head is supposed to be. You have to target the mass to get where you are supposed to be. Because the mass does things from the bottom of their heart. So Younass is here and Younass is going to make everything possible for everybody to be happy.
Have you been able to get your old clients back when you got back and how did you get them back?
I have some clients that are back, and some that are new, and it’s really satisfying. In a way, am happy about some clients that are not back, because that means they are simply not mine. The new clients that I get really appreciate my work, and this is important as a designer for people to appreciate your work. And not to take you as a tailor, which is completely different. A tailor reproduces whatever you tell them, a designer creates having their own vision.
Amidst tears from relations, friends and colleagues, the remains of Jeye Okorodudu, husband of top Lagos designer, Data Okorodudu was laid to rest in Lagos. Data runs one of Nigeria’s most sought after fashion label, JD7, known for her avant garde and exotic pieces. The burial ceremony was preceded by a Service of Songs which took place on Monday January 10, 2010 at the St Georges Primary School, Falomo,Ikoyi, Lagos. This was followed by a Funeral Mass which took place on Tuesday January 12, 2010 at the Church of Assumption, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos and interment followed immediately at the Vault Private Cemetry, Ikoyi, Lagos. In this report, City People Fashion Editor, BOLA AKINBOADE brings to you the blow by blow details of the burial ceremony.
THE MAN CALLED JEYE OKORODUDU
Data Okorodudu husband, Jeye is the son of Late Ileola and Alfred Omaretseyionla Esimajuorono Okorodudu. He spent his early life in Benin and Warri where he had his early education. On completion of his secondary education, he proceeded to Federal Government College, Ilorin for his Advanced Level Certificate. A graduate of Economics from the University of Lagos (1981), Jeye continued to develop himself throughout his life. He was a member of the Nigerian Economic Society and a Phil Pugsley Patron of the JCI Foundation. An entrepreneur par excellence, Jeye was a philanthropist, a great mentor and an unrelenting tutor. His career started as a youth corper when he was Special Assistant to the then Economic Adviser to the President of Nigeria (1981- 1982). The Chairman of Adata Group of Companies, Jeye was always ready to embrace change and apply innovative ideas. His exceptional vision and creativity affected a phenomenal growth of the Adata Group. He was future oriented and created job opportunities for several people. He had business interest ranging from Oil and Gas, Telecommunication to Banking. He was one of the directors of NNB International Bank. Jeye was also actively committed to the Lagos Energy project before his demise at age 52.
WHY JEYE OKORODUDU IS LOVED BY ALL
From all indications, the death of Jeye Okorodudu came as a rude shock to a lot of people as most of his families, friends colleagues have not yet come to terms with the death of this great achiever. And to underline the respect the man commands among his peers, his burial ceremony drew in an appreciable crowd of well-wishers who came from far and near to pay their last respect to the departed. The magnitude of the attendees who made it to the event and some of the remarks and tributes that was made concerning him made it very it obvious that he was a man that was loved by all. Jeye lived an exceptional life. He was extremely generous, giving himself, his time, his resources, not only to his immediate and extended family but to anyone who crossed his path. His philosophy was, “When anyone walks into my space, I first ask God what He would like me to do for the person, and whatever He ministered to me, I did”. He did all of these with absolute humility and without fanfare. Even on his sickbed, Jeye continued to solve people’s problem as best as he could. The rich presence of people from different ethnic backgrounds proved quite a befitting honor for this great achiever.
HIS LAST DAYS
Jeye was a devoted and a dedicated Roman Catholic. He made Christ his cornerstone of his daily living and in his last year on earth; he would communicate with his creator ever so often. He was a strong willed man and had an unwavering faith even till death. Even though he had to battle with a terminal ailment, Leukemia (Cancer of the blood) and had been at the Hammersmith Hospital, London since last year March, 2010, he was unruffled. He was his good self all through, bubbling with life and determined to live. He had firm values and he often told his wife and children that he did not believe in mourning and the mulling that came with death. He always said that death was an end that had to come and all tears that accompany death was uncalled for, as death was inevitable. He continued to put everyone before himself in his struggle against cancer with utmost gratitude, appreciation and trust. Even as he bravely battled this disease, he never lost his outstanding sense of humor. His courage, spirit and will during this difficult time were indomitable .He was so optimistic that there would be a window of opportunity for him to be temporary discharge from the hospital sometimes in December, 2010 to come home for Christmas. He fought a great fight till the last, but he gave up the ghost on December 17, 2010.
HOW HE WAS BURIED
The funeral rite of Jeye Okorodudu commenced on Monday January 10, 2010 with a Service of Songs which took place at St Georges Primary School, Falomo, Lagos. It was well attended by families, friends, colleagues and other sympathizers. At the wake keeping, most of the guests were clad in black t-shirts which had a picture of Jeye on it and an inscription, “Gone too soon”. It was a mixture of strong emotion and grief. The funeral rite was followed by a Funeral Mass on Tueday January, 11, 2010 which took place at the Church Assumption, Falomo, Lagos. While internment followed immediately at the Vault Primate Cemetry, Ikoyi where his final remains was laid to rest. The Ebony Funeral Services, one of the leading Funeral outfit in the country was in charge of his casket and other funeral services. And another of his dying wishes was that the Pal bearer should not throw up his casket as they normally do. Indeed it was a solemn gathering and many could not hold back their tears as they wept profusely even the occasion demanded a song. For them, worlds alone could not express the sorrow they felt that day.
THE OKORODUDUS RALLIED ROUND DATA
Jeye is the 7th child of his parent and their family is a close knitted one. And over the years, he has been a strong tower to his brothers and sisters and very loved by all, as they all have one touching story to say about Jeye. He was a brother that any family member would be blessed with. This was reflected in the tribute they all wrote about him in the event brochure. They described him as one who has a large heart, an embodiment of generosity and kindness, always eager to please, always ready to add value in any situation and always there for everyone. And despite their grief and sorrow, and still in shock over his death, they all rallied round his wife, Data and Children as they stood by them and comfort them.
DATA OKORODUDU’S APPEARANCE DAMPENED THE MOOD
One of the things Data Okorodudu tried to achieve was to fulfill the dying wishes of her husband which he told them not to cry or mourn for him. She tried to be strong even though it wasn’t easy for her. Unknown to a lot of people, Jeye was her first love as they met during her undergraduate’s days at the University of Lagos and have shared a strong bond ever since then. Their union is blessed with 3 lovely children- Ileola, Omatseye and Omasan. Jeye also played a major role in contributing to the success of her fashion label and has been very supportive right from inception. But Data was off the scene as she spent most of her time in the London hospital where her husband was hospitalized. At the burial, her appearance further dampened the mood and made people’s spirits very low as a lot of people felt her pains and agony mere looking at her. She wore a look of someone who had been through a lot .People could not help shedding a tear or two for her as she carried on in a way in which her husband wanted her. Though she couldn’t contain it any longer by the time her husband’s body was finally laid to rest at the Vaults Private Cemetery, Ikoyi, as she also broke down into tears.
NDIDI OBIOHA, PLANNED THE EVENT
The responsibility to plan and coordinate the event was saddled on Lagos based event manager and Enthyst Boss, Ndidi Obioha by Data Okorodudu. She has been the official event planner to the family right from when their daughter, Ileola got married some years back to when Data also celebrated her 10th year anniversary of her fashion label, JD7. She planned this 2 day funeral ceremony as usual with all her best expertise and skill. She gave in her best to make sure that everything went on smoothly.
DEBBIE HORNECKER STAYED BEHIND TO COMFORT HER BUSINESS PARTNER
Debbie Hornecker is the Chief Executive of Elysee Modeling Agency, and the brain behind the Runway dreams modeling agency. Couple of years back, she partnered with Data Okorodudu on a business level which in-turn made the modeling competition to be very big. Ever since then, she had enjoyed a good relationship with this amiable woman and treats her more like a sister. Debbie relocated to Paris with her family 2 years ago, but she has kept a good relationship with Data and she always flies into the country to witness any of Data’s milestones. She was also one of those that stood by Data at the funeral ceremony. Debbie who came to Nigeria for Christmas celebration and was meant to return back couple of days after New Year had to stay back when the news of Data’s husband death filtered into the town. She stood by her and also comforted her. Debbie was with her all through the planning process of the burial and all through the 2 days funeral ceremony. It was a very gloomy period for her too.
TOP PUBLISHER IN THE HOUSE
Data Okorodudu and her husband Jeye are both media friendly, and this is because of how they have both excelled in their chosen career. Though Jeye is more in the background and allows his business to speak for him, Data is more in the news because of her fashion label. She is more of the most sought after fashion designers in the country and has been able to capture a lot of people with her avant garde and exotic fashion pieces. And because of this, top media practitioners also have a high respect for her. Some of the Nigerian top publishers also came to honor Data and her late husband. This include the likes of Betty Irabor(Genevieve Magazine Publisher), Kunle Bakare(Encomium Magazine Publisher), Adesuwa Onyenekwe(Today’s Woman Publisher) and Tewa Onasanya( Exquisite Magazine Publisher)
PASTOR ITUAH IGHODALO CALM DEMEANOR
Former Redeemed Pastor and the Founder of the Trinity House Church, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo was also at the funeral ceremony to honor the Okorodudus. Decked in a black suit, Pastor Ituah was very calm and sober
GENEVIEVE NNAJI AND RITA DOMINIC HONOUR THEIR DESIGNER
Two top Nollywood stars also came to support the Data Okorodudu. This is the duo of Rita Dominic and Genevieve Nnaji. They usually adorn the designs of JD7 by Data Okorodudu. Rita Dominic was one of the guests who graced the service of song which took place on Monday, while Genevieve was at the Funeral Mass on Tuesday. And for Genevieve, she couldn’t hold her tears back at the ceremony.
EME AKENZUA IN A SOBER MOOD
Eme Akenzua is one of the award winning and creative milliners in the country. She runs the award winning label, J3V3. Eme Akenzua who also graced the occasion to support Data was in a very sober mood at the burial ceremony.
JOAN OKORODUDU, A SISTER IN-LAW INDEED
Data and Joan are both sisters-in-law as Joan is married to AVM Terry Okorodudu who is Jeye elder brother. Interestingly, they both have a lot in common as they have been both in the limelight because of the similar business they do. They both have fashion labels and also a modeling competition. And because of the strong bond between the brothers, this had also rubbed off on their wives. Joan’s husband played a major role at the burial ceremony, while Joan his wife was also not left out as she also stood by her sister-in- law, Data, and gave her best support. Joan younger sister, Aju Elumelu, was also at the 2 day ceremony with her sister.
THE SUPER BIG BOYS WHO CAME TO HONOUR JEYE
The guest lists for this 2 days occasion cut across different people from different walks of life from the corporate world, to the fashion, modeling and nollywood. And because Jeye also belongs to the league of super big boys in the society, there were quite a number of prominent personalities who stormed this 2 days ceremony. This include the likes of the former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; to Jimi Agbaje, Larry Agose, Ali Baba(Ace Comedian), Soni Irabor, Mr Osibodu(CEO Viju), Dehinde Harrison amongst others. They came to give their last respect.
…………JEYE’S STAFF WERE ALSO NOT LEFT OUT
Jeye, no doubt was a successful business man. He was the CEO of Adata group. He had business interest ranging from Oil and Gas, telecommunications to banking. He was well loved by all his staff as he was more than a boss to them; he was a father, a mentor, a teacher, solution provider. They all had enormous respect for this man who had touched their lives in many ways. A lot of his staff also made it to the 2 day burial ceremony to pay him their last homage.