The Rise And Rise Of Miss Kedike
Chidinma Ekile is a songwriter, recording artiste and stage performer. She rose to stardom, in 2010, after winning the third season of MTN Project Fame West Africa.
“Emerging winner was rewarding, very gratifying. That magic moment was the beginning of the big dream turned reality before my very eyes. It was, as if that was what I was born to be, and created to do. Right from that moment, I knew that something big awaited me. Ever since, it has been a lot of work, but I love it,” she says.
The petite lady says, “Music stole my heart at a tender age, and at six I was already singing. I joined the church choir, when I was 10 years old.”
The sixth of seven children, Chidinma was born in Ketu, Lagos State. She had her primary and secondary education in Ketu, before the family relocated to Ikorodu.
She says, “I grew up in the hands of a disciplinarian father, and worked as a business promoter in Lagos before auditioning for the third season of MTN’s Project Fame West Africa.”
Following the release of the music video for her Emi Ni Baller, she became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart. In 2011, she released her first solo single, Jankoliko, featuring Sound Sultan. Her self-titled debut studio album, which featured singles such as, Jankoliko, Carry You Go, Kedike and Run Dia Mouth, received rave review. Released under the music platform of Spinlet, it was supported by guest appearances from Sound Sultan, Tha Suspect, Olamide and Muna.
Since she started in 2010, she’s not rested on her oars.
“It has been very challenging yet, interesting,” she says.
In May 2013, Chidinma signed an endorsement deal with MTN Nigeria. A whole lot of energy, creativity and hard work go into what she does. Worked with different producers and having to, as she is told, doesn’t always come easy. But the end always justifies the efforts put in. When it comes to working with the best hands, hers has been with a long list with people like, Cobhams Asuquo, Tee Y Mix, WazBeat and Oscar Heman Ackah.
Has music been a lucrative career?
“Did you say lucrative? Well, it’s like selling, trading. Just name it. It comes with different feelings. Sometimes, it looks like you’re the only one in the market and at other times, life just gives you a natural break,” she says, smiling.
Though, mass communication was her first love, she ended up studying sociology. She had to forego the admission due to her selection as a contestant in the MTN Project Fame West Africa show.
“School was great fun. I have always taken school seriously and my decision to go to UNILAG was to get me empowered for the future. I decided to give it a try after winning the MTN Project Fame competition.”
Her budding career
She is evolving and growing as a musician and wouldn’t allow any distractions.
She says, “People, sometimes, judge others, even before hearing them out or giving them a chance.”
A case in point was after she dyed her hair red and getting a Mohawk look, people started perceiving her as a good girl, gone bad. But regardless of her looks, Chidinma says, “I am still the same. I am the your darling girl, next door. I am real, cool, calm and collected. I am ready to take on the world.”
Like every celebrity, she has had her fair share of rumoured-scandals, love and relationships. In 2013, a sex tape of Chidinma’s look-alike went viral on the Internet. That incident grew her fan base. In fact, she has since moved on, gallantly, putting her critics behind, while forging ahead with her career.
She has also been rumoured to be in relationships with different guys at different times. But, she is unperturbed, saying, ‘People will always say what they want. They will say things to hurt others, if they know that they are gaining attention. So, it depends on you, the subject, to take them seriously or not. As for me, what matters most is what God thinks of me. He created and made me who I am. And I am working very hard to achieve his purpose for me. People must be able to know the real Chidimma. Those things are distractions. What matters is that I am living out my dream and succeeding at it. That is all that matters.”
She says, “What makes a person is not a matter of cosmetics, money, race or social status, but more about being yourself. Global trends make us look and behave the same way, but we are all beautiful, because we are different.”
On how she emerged tops at Project Fame West Africa, she explained that prior to auditioning, she actually dreamt of being part of the reality TV show that was started in 2008. Interestingly, with the help and support of friends, this young talent left home in Ikorodu for the Ultima Studios, venue of the Lagos auditions. She was among the 8,000 wannabes, who showed up that year.
Subsequently, Chidinma advanced to the Fame Academy round alongside 17 other contestants. For 10 weeks, music professionals coached Chidinma and the other contestants on voice, inspirational speaking, music business, choreography and several other drills.
On September 26, 2010, Chidinma’s story changed. She became the winner of the competition. She won several prizes, including N2.5 million, a 2011 Toyota RAV4, and an album production deal.
She considers herself truly blessed to have enjoyed so much love, care, support and solidarity from her fans since Project Fame. She is happy about the positive response from friends, family and fans, especially, her fans, whom she feels highly indebted to.
According to Chidinma, “My fans have been wonderful. Without my fans, there won’t be me. I thank them so very much for all their love and support. I thank them for believing in me. I won’t let you down. I love you all.”
Talking about memorable moments, she has had a fair share of happy and exciting ones working with lots of reputable celebrities, co-artists and friends. For instance, in 2012, her Emi Ni Baller, featuring her fellow label mates, was one of the hottest songs for the year.
“I was equally privileged to perform with Dr. Sid at the MTN Power of 10 Concerts, a 10-city tour that celebrated MTN Nigeria’s 10th anniversary; the tour kicked off in Makurdi. I was one of the supporting acts on the 2013 Hennessy Artistry Club Tour headlined by D’banj,” she says, with a smile.
“I performed at the Guinness World of More Concert, alongside P-Square, D’banj, Wizkid, Ice Prince, Burna Boy, Olamide, Phyno, Waje, Davido and Tiwa Savage. It was a very exciting moment for us. February 14, 2014, I also performed at the MTN Valentine Rave Party alongside Tiwa Savage, Mario and Sound Sultan. I have had the privilege of performing in several countries across Africa, including The Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Niger and Ghana. And I must say that it’s a lot of work and magic moments.”
She has to her credit several awards and recognition for her unique brand of music, hard work and for distinguishing herself. Chidinma won the Best Female West African Act category at 2012 Kora Awards, which was presented, to her by Didier Drogba. She beat Omawumi and five others to the honour.
After winning the award, Chidinma said: “It was a huge honour to me. Winning KORA is a big achievement for me and I know it is the beginning of better things to come.”
The artiste, who has achieved so much in her young musical career, says, “I’m grateful to God, my fans and people, who have been part of my success story.”
She is grateful that her part has crossed musical icons that have impacted her life and career. They are her biggest musical influences such as, Omawumi, Onyeka Onwenu, Lagbaja and Darey Art Alade. The music of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey has equally influenced her and she is happy for that.