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KonkNaija Media | May 2, 2016

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My world revolves around music – Ebisan Damola

My world revolves around music – Ebisan Damola

| On 22, Sep 2013

Ebisan Bukola Damola is an up and coming soul singer and songwriter. She started out her music career as a gospel singer in the UK. In Nigeria, she is better known for having released three songs, Suru, Jowo, and Dance with Me, for the award winning soundtrack of the 2010 Mammodu Ali-Balogun’s movie, Tango With Me. Her debut single was titled Love Story. She is half Yoruba and half Delta parentage and decided as a tribute to her Itsekiri roots to go by her Itsekiri name Ebisan. In this interview with Showtime Celebrity, she talks about her music, her aspirations and plans for future.
What’s your connection with Lagos?
I was born in the UK, but I’m an Isale’Eko girl. I hail from down-town Lagos, I also like to claim that I hail from Delta because I feel very connected to my mother’s roots. My father is from Lagos that’s why I bear the names Olubukolami and Damola while my mother is from Delta State, hence the name Ebisan which also happens to be her middle name.
What was it like growing up?
I grew up in three different countries; Nigeria, England and Saudi Arabia. My parents lived in Saudi Arabia. In fact, my mum still lives there. At thirteen years, I moved to England to study. But Nigeria remains a country I will always call my home.

Tell us more about yourself, educational background and other things?
I have always been interested in music and it’s been something from a very young age. I studied Accounting and Finance at the university of Kent, in England and then went on to obtain a Master’s Degree in International Business Management.
Why did you decide to do music?
To me, it’s something like a calling, it’s my passion; something I have always wanted to do; something I’m so passionate about. For me, somehow I knew that whatever I did in school I would always end up on the stage some day. I have always been interested in entertainment. Even my siblings and I, have always been writing songs, play and drama when we were very young. So, it just feels right and has always felt right to me. Music is my life.
At what age did you discover that you would be doing music professionally?
My first intense experience was at the age of eight when I mounted the stage. I was in primary school then. I was asked to do a solo piece; way back in the University of Lagos after school and I will never forget the experience. I was in primary four and I remember the feeling I heard then while I was on stage. I was nervous and at same time, excited. But you know that the whole experience made me realise this is something I want to do for a long time. This is a life time career; music will always be part of my life.
What happens to your certificate?
I believe no knowledge is lost and it has helped me in many ways. If at the end of the day, I end up floating a music label or company or something, it would still be tied to music. I see my future tied to music.
Have you done any album yet or working on any one?
Yes, I have released a couple of songs in the last few years. I did the soundtrack of the movie titled ‘Tangle with Me” which starred the likes Genevieve Nnaji, and Joseph Benjamin. I have done two songs, “Dance with Me and Jowo” and the feedback has been very good. I also release a single called Love Story and after that Jowo and now my most recent single is titled, “Time of our Lives” and it featured a lady called Chee.
What inspires you the most during song writing?
Love, People say I write about love a lot. I think it’s because it’s the centre of my world. I’m inspired by things that happened around me or happened to me; everything I write has a personal experience attached to it. Even if it’s just that my friend was going through something and she relates it to, I always have a way of expressing that pain that the person feels or felt in my songs. So, I’m inspired by people’s experiences.
What genre of music do you do?
I always feel that my voice is soulful one, so I am a versatile singer. I can fit into reggae, jazz, hip hop or soul R&B track. But at the end of the day, what makes everything tied together is my voice and its always soulful. I like to experiment with different sounds like Love Story is a romantic type of song and then Jowo was up-beat but with some jazzy influences and the Time of our Lives is a dance hall track. So, what people would notice generally is that no matter the song I do, my voice is always soulful.
Who produces your work?
Actually, I use different producers for each of my work and will continue to do so because I like to experience varieties. My most recent single was produced by DJ Cleff and he’s worked with quite a lot of artistes in the industry and it was fun working with him. The other two singles I released (Jowo & Love Story) were both produced by a guy called TK and myself.
Have you done any collaboration yet?
Yes, my latest single was done with a lady called Chee and when I was in South Africa I worked with a lady called Monewa and that went very well. The song was well received over there, some radio stations have been playing it and its in her album. I do intend to work with more artistes, especially here in Nigeria.
Have you won any award so far for your works?
Apart from the movie which did very well, the sound track was nominated as well. Also, my single Jowo and Suru were nominated for an award last year, at the Nigerian Music Video awards. I was in the best alternative category with some of the best artistes like Lagbaja and other artistes and I won, so that was very encouraging.
What’s your opinion about the Nigerian music industry ?
I’m excited by what is happening and so far, we have come of age. I could remember those days when I would go out with my family, and the only songs that were played in any hangout, beer parlours, joints were foreign music. But today, the story has changed. Nigerian music is being played in most low and high places. Some DJs have said that they could go for like three –four hours non-stop playing new Nigerian songs back to back. So, I like the fact that there’s a lot of emerging artistes in the country. The jazz music is also thriving, the Afro-beat genre is dominating the space and I’m glad to be part of this revolution. I’m really happy to be back home and be part of it.
Do you think you have what it takes not only to survive but to make it big in the Nigerian music industry?
I believe I do and mainly because I see this as a long term career and so it takes a lot of persistence, perseverance and patience. This is because I don’t expect everything and anything to happen overnight, so I believe I have the right attitude to succeed. It’s a career and it demands patience, diligence and discipline.
Who is your mentor and biggest influence locally and internationally?
I grew up listening to a lot of stuff that my father and mother were listening to. So, I was really influenced by a lot of Nigerian artistes as well as western artistes. The likes of Fela, Sade Adu, Ebenizer Obey and Dr. Victor Olaiya influenced me. But on the international scene, artistes like late Whitney Huston and Rita Frankline did.
What stands you out among other rising artistes?
I can say my versatility, because if you listen to my three singles that I have released, completely different from other songs. My fans have wondered how I was able to do it. It’s because I can change my voice and experiment with other sounds.
Are you a singer, songwriter or an entertainer?
I started learning the piano at a tender age but I can’t say I will stand to play on stage but it has really helped me in composing my songs in the sense that I can express what I’m feeling, it’s really like I go into the song like most times when I write it something I feel deeply about.
I interact with the crowd, I like performing with a life band. So, I can say that I am a songwriter and a performer.