NIKKI LAOYE OTURU How I stepped out of the ashes

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NIKKI LAOYE  OTURU How I stepped  out of the ashes


Nikki Laoye Oturu is a singer, songwriter and dancer. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she talks about happy moments in life and her career, passion for people with disabilities, working with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), motivation from her parents and more.

What is new at the moment?

This year has been one filled with lots of new music and happenings in Nikki Laoye’s world.

After the release of my second album, “The 123 Project”, last year, I recently released two new singles; the love hit “Onyeuwaoma”, featuring Banky W and produced by Okey Sokay  a beautiful wedding themed love song which is fast becoming a favourite amongst newlyweds and lovebirds across the globe.

The video is a dedication to the love my parents shared, and this was depicted in the video with a cameo appearance by my mum, Mrs Yetunde Laoye.

Next is the captivating “Only You Remix”, featuring Seyi Shay, produced by Wilson Joel & guitars by Kay Strings  aReggae remix to my award-winning song, “Only You”, which had earlier won Headies 2013 and AFRIMA 2014 awards at its release.

Both singles were released this year and are receiving massive recognition and airplay across Africa, Europe and America.

Asides from my music, I was also recently nominated and recognised as a UK finalist for “International Humanitarian of the Year” category at the Women 4 Africa Awards which I attended a few weeks ago in London.

What inspires your messages and captivating stage performance?

Music is a major form of communication for me  a tool to inspire, educate, motivate and entertain people around me.

 I simply arrange my thoughts and experiences in my eclectic musical expressions across different genres as I push forth my faith-based expressions on God, love/relationships and life issues.

I am also a trained dancer and I love to create spectacular stage performances with dance as an art of entertainment as well.

And the end of it all, with my music and dance, it’s all about being an extension of God’s love right here on earth, that’s all that truly matters to me.

What are some of your memorable moments as a musician?

Winning the 2013 Headies for Best Female Vocal Performance for my ballad hit, “Only You”, was definitely a day I wouldn’t forget as it gave me the chance to publicly dedicate the award in honour & memory of my dad, Prince Olusola Laoye.

And I had the chance to do it over and over again with the 2014 AFRIMA Award for Best Inspirational Female Artist in Africa; also in London with the 2014 AGMA Awards for Best Female Artist Africa and more  all for the same song dedicated to my father  ONLY YOU.

It’s really been a very pivotal point in my career and my life as I stepped out of the ashes – refined and stronger – to honour the man who gave and nurtured the gift I share with the world today and that’s why I count them as my most memorable moments.

In year 2012, you had the first ever international White Cane Day for the blind in Lagos. What was the experience like?

This was the first major project organised by my foundation, Angel 4 Life Foundation, and it was quite an unforgettable experience.

I was approached by the Nigerian Association for the Blind (Lagos Chapter), to help organise an awareness project towards providing mobility aids for visually-impaired youths in Lagos in commemoration of the 2012 International White Cane Day celebrated across the world.

And with the help of kind-hearted Nigerians and my fellow colleagues in the entertainment industry who donated their resources and time, the event was a huge success with an awareness walk in the morning and a lunch reception for about 200 visually-impaired participants.

These personalities include Sammie Okposo, Funke Kuti, Yaw, Nedu of Wazobia FM, Kiki Omeili, MC Abbey and many more.

The Buy-A-Cane project was also officially launched, and this runs yearly for the continuous purchase of white canes.

What motivated the founding of Angel 4 Life Foundation?

Nikki Laoye’s Angel 4 Life Foundation is a registered incorporated charity organisation committed to supporting the education, development and empowerment of people with disabilities and people of national concern (Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees).

It was borne out of my concern for people with disabilities and their ability to survive and interact in a stiff environment like ours which is yet to properly implement the workings of an inclusive society.

The foundation was officially launched in 2010 and has also grown to include providing support and relief aid for refugees & internally displaced families after I was made a “Voice for Refugees & IDPs” in 2014 by the federal government agency  NCFRMI (National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons), South west zone.

What are some of the achievements of the foundation?

For six years, Angel 4 Life Foundation has been working hard to build an inclusive society for people with disabilities by providing opportunities for their social development, education and integration into the society. Some of the projects actively carried out by the foundation include: #BUY A CANE PROJECT.This is a fundraising and empowerment project aimed at providing free white guide canes (mobility aids) for blind and visually-impaired people in Lagos State as well as other regions in Nigeria.

Last year, Sweet Kiwi Company in Lekki helped purchase over a 100 canes by donating their sale proceeds.

The second project is The Isaac Educational Project for students with disabilities. This is an educational empowerment project to support the education of visually-impaired and physically-challenged youths via scholarships and educational trust funds by the foundation.

We are currently supporting the education of some of our beneficiaries in secondary schools and tertiary institutions across Nigeria.

We also have the Angel Relief Fund and also our TARFproject. Here, we have been able toraise funds and provide relief aid materials (food, clothing, medical supplies) and other amenities for onward distribution to IDP camps and refugee shelters in Nigeria to support families who have been affected by the Boko Haram terror attacks.

Through this, we visited a couple of IDP camps in Kuchingoro and Abuja, and recently, singer Yemi Alade also made a huge donation of food and provisions as she joined us on one of our visits.

Clips of her trip can be seen in her music video  NA GODE.

Also, Mr Tonye Cole, via his Sahara Group, supported our Christmas Food Drive for IDPS living in Lagos by providing over a hundred bags of rice and provisions for the displaced families as we ensured they had a good Christmas celebration at the end of last year.

We work round the clock as needs are being catered for daily and these achievements are made possible by kind-hearted Nigerians and celebrities who partner with us to make it all happen.

In year 2014, you became the celebrity voice of refugee and internally displaced persons. What was the experience like?

It has been a humbling experience for me since I was made the VOICE OF REFUGEES & IDPS (NCFRMI SOUTH WEST) by the federal government establishment – NCFRMI (National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons).

This was done in honour of my humanitarian efforts via my foundation, and also gave me the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the commission.

One of our major projects, The Angel Relief Fund, kicked off instantly as I swung into action immediately to develop an initiative that would help address the needs of these families.

I got my colleagues in the entertainment industry involved in our first media campaign, using their faces and their quotes, to speak out to the public about this initiative, and it was a great awareness drive.

The project is still an ongoing one and it’s quite an overwhelming experience because the IDPs are our fellow countrymen and it hurts deeply to see your own people struggling to rebuild their lives once again.

I would keep doing all I can to help and support my people, it’s my duty and I am glad for the opportunity given to me to do this daily by being their voice in these trying times.

How has life on the radio show, “Girls Rock with Nikki Laoye”, influenced your views in life?

My Radio show, “Girls Rock with Nikki Laoye”, has given me a voice beyond my music as I speak to over a million listeners weekly from across the world on different topics and issues ranging from political, love and relationships, abuse, and more.

The show has been running for over two years now on the top award-winning Online gospel radio station in Africa, Praiseworld Radio, and with it, I have also been able to showcase female artists and entrepreneurs from Africa, America, Asia and Europe.

It has really been a life-changing platform for me, because, in my own little way, I am someone’s counsellor, friend or support system via the show and it really proves that we all need each other and we have to use every medium we have to be a blessing; a lifeline for as many people as we can.

And that is what I do with my radio show as well.

Is it easy juggling your career with family life?

Juggling career and family life is definitely not easy, and all it takes is sacrifice, understanding and some rescheduling here and there, making necessary adjustments to fit everything in and not leave anything to suffer,both at home and at work.

Who are some of your mentors and role models?

The first mentors & role models on my list are my parents  Prince Olusola and Yetunde Laoye. Their exemplary life, friendship and love has taught me so much and I thank God for giving me “REAL” parents  so down to earth, not afraid to make mistakes, stumble and get back up again.

I certainly still take a leaf or two, many leaves,from their vast wisdom and experiences which help to guide mine today.

I also look up to great men that I admire and respect dearly for their great minds and large hearts and this include my pastor- Pastor Paul Adefarasin (House on the Rock); Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo (COZA), Pastor Chris Oyakhilome (Christ Embassy) and more.

Musically, I learn a lot from musical icons that I love dearly, such as Brandy, Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Mary J Blige, Brian Mcknight and more.

Who or what do you consider as your greatest influence in life?

My greatest influence in life is God  the one who has given me every gift and creativity that I share today.

Daily, I learn to love like Him and to see people through His eyes; this makes me a better person and I have a better understanding of how to live, love and relate with everyone around me.

He is my overall CEO, and, truly, life is all about being an extension of His love right here on earth.

What does style mean to you? What are the items that you treasure in your wardrobe?

Style, for me, means comfort and looking great. As much as I want to look beautiful & sexy, I also need to be comfortable so that I can carry out my daily activities in my office, or on the red carpet, or on stage.

The items I treasure the most would be my Comfy Jeans, Tshirts, Tank tops. Can’t do without them; my daily uniforms.And, of course, my boots, trainers etc.

Let’s talk about your long natural hair. What is the secret?

I am totally blessed to have a mixed heritage running down my blood line which actually resulted in my long natural hair.

My mum is Yoruba from Osun State and she also had long hair, though she cut hers recently, while my dad had a mixed heritage of Dutch, Ghanaian, Deltan and Yoruba, all together from his parents.

Adding all of this together has given me the honour of being blessed with thick, long hair.

I just keep taking good care of it to maintain its length and body weight. The harsh weather conditions in Nigeria can be a little too much for it, but I go survive.

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