In a new interview with Vanguard, veteran singer Onyeka Onwenu opens up about her career, – how she started, working with King Sunny Ade, her influences, family and more.
The legendary Amazon also touched on the recent trend in the music industry, and admits she’s worried that only the women shake it, though she applauds their efforts.
See the excerpt:
On still gracing the stage, performing her old songs:
“As God gives me strength. I never really left the stage. I am still on. I use my voice to give God glory. When He knows where you are coming from, He will give you strength and He will also keep giving you ideas.
On performing classics with King Sunny Ade:
That guy (Sunny Ade) has not really changed. We did the song when it wasn’t the usual thing for artistes to come together and collaborate. We had three songs altogether (two of them were on social issues) and we took time to promote them. It’s still on, unbelievable. And it’s a great thing to see young artistes who are flying the nation’s flag all over the world and they are still growing strong.
On when she started collaborating with King Sunny Ade:
“We did the song in the late 80s. We started with “Madalówun” which was in my album “ Dancing in the Sun” and then we were approached by the John Parkson University in the United States to promote family planning in Africa, so that African families would know how to space their children and also to encourage young girls to hold onto their virginity; to wait till that time when they are matured enough to deal with their sexual lives. The song made a huge impact because I remember that we toured the country. I went to schools where I was speaking to the young girls. Some of them walked up to me to thank me for helping them retain their virginity. The song did affect lives and I am very happy about that.
On recent musicians and the impact of their songs:
“Let’s give the young ones a break. I also sang a lot of love songs, love songs are good. But the only thing I’m worried about is this shaking..shaking ..shaking of a thing. It’s getting too much and I’m always wondering why it’s only the women who are ‘shaking’. let the men also go and shake their own so that we can see. But it’s a process and I’m happy, they are enjoying their young years.
On when she started singing:
“I may have started singing from the womb because my mother was a singer and I was born singing. My mother taught me how to sing while I was three. She would take me around the town to raise money for orphanage homes. She also taught me some songs and would do duets with me. Surprisingly, my mother wrote, “Ochie dike Nne.” She was a fantastic singer and a fantastic actress. That was how I grew up. I inherited singing and I also inherited the work ethics and the commitments to use my talent to help the society that has made me what I am today. So, it has always been with me.
On her remarkable moments:
“I am putting together a book that I will be launching at the end of the year. People will know that it has been a long, fruitful and interesting career. I give God all the glory for making me to stay on top of my game.”