From an impactful music profession to being a humanitarian of worldwide reputation, Nikki Laoye has quietly conquered the world together with her Angel4Life Basis that gives succour to individuals residing with disabilities, migrants and Internally Displaced Individuals. Born Oyenike Laoye, she was not too long ago within the information celebrating the life and occasions of the late musician, Sound Sultan and the way he had contributed in no small measure to her basis and humanity at massive. Laoye reunited with music artists corresponding to Bizarre MC and MODE 9 within the UK for a night of tributes to Sound Sultan. On this interview with Yinka Olatunbosun, she revealed what she had achieved professionally for 15 years and the way she handled the grief of dropping her father ten years in the past.
Nikki Laoye’s music journey began when she was an undergraduate on the College of Ibadan. She was part of a woman group named Soul Sistas which included Aboyowa and Debola. They carried out at concert events, toured Southwest Nigeria and have been aglow with very promising profession prospects. Laoye kicked off her solo profession in 2006 together with her debut single “By no means Felt This Method Earlier than” produced by the exceptional artist, Cobhams Asuquo beneath the watch of Wahala Media Leisure.
With a video shot and directed by Clarence Peters, the tune grew to become a world hit. It was nominated for a lot of awards and received at many together with The Headies, Kora Awards, SoundCity Music Video Awards, Metropolis Individuals Awards, Nigeria Music Video Awards, NEA Awards (USA) and many others. In 2009, she was one of many first Nigerian artists to be featured on BET alongside Rooftop MCs, Timi Dakolo and Lara George, serving as a visitor Choose for the primary BET Sunday Greatest Auditions in Nigeria.
“MTVBase got here subsequent as I used to be referred to as to take part within the rockumentary actuality present, “Advance Warning” alongside M.I and Waje,” she recounted. “For weeks, MTV adopted us and recorded our households, our each day actions at house, studio and so they additionally captured the launch for my debut album, “Angel 4 Life”.
On the 2009 mega live performance, The Expertise Lagos, she had the privilege of performing alongside nice worldwide acts like Cece Winans, Kirk Franklin with an viewers of about 500,000 individuals. She had additionally shared stage with legendary R&B stars corresponding to Mary J Blige and Brian McKnight. In that very same 12 months, she was nominated in two classes on the Headies for “Greatest Feminine Vocal Efficiency” and ‘Hip Hop World Revelation of the Yr’ (Greatest New Artist) the place she was the one feminine contender alongside Banky W, M.I and Naeto C.
She rose from fame to fame until the evening of August 3 when tragedy struck.
“I nonetheless can’t imagine that it’ll really be 10 years this 12 months since I misplaced my dad. He handed away in 2011 and it completely broke my coronary heart. Being the one daughter, I used to be his favorite (my brothers received’t even argue with you on this one) and it hit me fairly exhausting as a result of he took his final breath in my automobile as I raced to the hospital that fateful evening of August 3, simply quarter-hour to his sixtieth birthday, which was August 4,” she recounted.
This traumatic expertise took a devastating toll on Laoye. She couldn’t discover pleasure within the actions that used to make her pleased.
“I used to be indignant with God, my religion in Him was threatened and I simply wanted to get away from the general public area so I may take care of the ache, the despair and the anger. For 2 years, I stayed away from the music trade and I do thank God – our ever loving Father- for by no means leaving my facet, he helped me by means of all of it and likewise gave me a comeback tune, “Solely You” by means of my shut buddy and guitarist, Nelson Jason who had written the primary verse and refrain and instructed me “God mentioned I ought to offer you this tune”. I completed up the tune and referred to as on one other shut buddy of mine/producer, RotimiKeys who produced it and I shot the video with one other buddy of mine, Shabach in the UK,” she revealed.
The tune grew to become a smash stumble on its launch in 2013, clinching a number of awards together with The Headies for Greatest Vocal Efficiency (Feminine); AFRIMMA ( Greatest Feminine Artist in African Inspirational Music); Greatest Gentle Rock/Different Video Nigerian Music Video Awards (NMVA); African Feminine Artist of the Yr – Africa Gospel Music Awards (AGMA, LONDON, UK) and plenty of extra.
“The tune healed my coronary heart and until date, it’s nonetheless blessing and therapeutic hearts throughout the globe. Within the midst of all of it, I simply thank God for the whole lot and I do know my Dadda, as I fondly name him, is resting peacefully in his arms,” she mentioned.
Her sojourn into humanitarian course was not mere accident. Having labored as an intern with the UNICEF in Lagos, her need to look after others grew to become heightened. Therefore, she arrange Angel 4 Life Basis on her birthday December 19, 2010. With over a decade of serving humanity by offering assist and empowerment for Individuals with Disabilities, youngsters with most cancers, Internally Displaced Individuals (IDPs) and migrants, Laoye had sourced partnerships from people and organisations together with DJ Cuppy, Yemi Alade, Sammie Okposo, Nathaniel Bassey, Toke Makinwa, Dangote Group, Sahara Group and plenty of extra.
From 2014 to 2018, she served as a celeb voice for the Lagos Chapter of the Nationwide Fee for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Individuals and in November 2017, she started to create consciousness concerning the return and plight of Nigerian Migrants in Libya.
Video reviews on her humanitarian efforts went viral. She labored alongside others in serving to many households to search out their lengthy misplaced relations. All these didn’t escape the eye of the worldwide media.
“CNN, BBC, Reuters and different information media reached out to me for interviews and likewise shared my movies on their networks.
It completely gladdens my coronary heart every time my humanitarian companies deliver households again collectively; or after we get the grants and assets to assist pay for most cancers therapy for youngsters; to purchase information canes for the blind and visually impaired; to supply scholarships for the training of College students with Disabilities.
That is my job for a lifetime and I’d proceed to make use of my platform to create additional consciousness and collect extra assist for individuals who want the assist in our society,’’ she gushed.
She was a kind of Nigerians caught overseas throughout the international lockdown that compelled many international locations to close down worldwide travels. For seven months, she couldn’t return to Nigeria. Nonetheless, she maintained a optimistic angle regardless of the cancel tradition that affected dwell occasions like concert events. Laoye remarked that Covid-19 has made artists to reinvent themselves, make smart use of our social media platforms or recorded concert events. With 15 years within the music scene, she is targeted on inspiring and motivating individuals by means of her religion in God, while teaching youthful ones on life, love and relationships.
Her type of gospel or inspirational music has such cross-over enchantment as a result of she enlivens her artwork with dance. One more reason is that she collaborates with secular singers corresponding to Banky W and Seyi Shay to succeed in a broader spectrum of viewers. With inspiration from music greats corresponding to Brandy, Kirk Franklin, Mary J Blige, Cece Winans, Beyonce, DC Discuss, Jars of Clay, Anointed, Deitrick Haddon, Laoye simply needs to be the voice of affection and hope.
Laoye just isn’t resistant to the challenges that are likely to restrict feminine artists within the music trade. She revealed that some efficiency lists don’t embrace feminine artists in any respect or just some. Along with this, most radio stations don’t play gospel music as a lot as secular music.
“However thank God for social media, on-line radio platforms, YouTube and all new digital expressions that has taken again that energy and now our music is being seen and heard with only a click on of a cell phone or a pc,’’ she mentioned.
When requested how she likes to unwind, Laoye mentioned she loves comedy reveals, films in addition to video video games like Mortal Kombat and Avenue Fighter. And wish we add her favorite pastime-music? In the meanwhile, she is capturing extra movies and recording new singles.
“Lately I launched the movies for considered one of my jazzy soulful classics, “None + You = Me”, which was shot and directed by Snatcha (of the favored Rooftop MCs) and one other collaboration video, “Nothing With out You” with Tolu of Undertaking Fame.
Though industrial achieve just isn’t the most important motive behind what many gospel artists pursue, in addition they wish to make gross sales to cowl prices of music manufacturing in audio and video codecs, excursions and pay their band members.
Away from her transient stint in performing in films in addition to stage performs, Laoye can also be magnificence entrepreneur. In 2018, she kicked off her natural pores and skin and haircare line, Fantastic Lady by Nikki Laoye. She shared a few of her magnificence suggestions.
“Day by day, I exploit my espresso scrub, and turmeric scrub twice per week. I hold my pores and skin effectively cleansed with my selfmade black cleaning soap whereas my evening routine consists of my selfmade rose water cleanser and my physique oils to maintain my pores and skin delicate and moisturised like a child’s personal. Nice Magnificence comes from inside out so I drink plenty of water, eat plenty of vegatables and fruits and I don’t play with my multivitamins,’’ she mentioned, with a smiley.