For Olubunmi, there’s ability in disability
Watching Olubunmi Dada perform on stage, you would hardly know she is blind; totally blind. The young inspirational singer has not allowed her handicap to take the better side of her, as she shows off her stagecraft, thrilling guests with songs that would make them ask for more.
Started singing as a child in her primary school days in the Paceli School for the Blind, Surulere, Lagos, Olubunmi carried her hobby to her secondary school, where she sang in the school’s choir and from there moved to the Federal College of Education Special, Oyo State, where she studied theatre arts.
“Music is an in-built thing in me, I can’t run away from it, yet I can’t explain why I am so much involved in it. I started singing in my primary school days, where I was a member of my school choir. In the College of Education, I was the lead vocalist of the Redeemed Campus choir and was always invited to minister in different campus fellowships,” she revealed.
Apart from performing, Olubunmi writes her songs with the help of her Braille and other gadgets, including the computer.Since you are visually impaired, who writes your songs? “I write all my songs. I get inspiration from things around me and through the study of the Holy Bible. I got the inspiration of Gbemisola from the Bible, the song talks about how God made man, how He pronounced some blessings on man and how man is a carrier of those blessings, which are like honey,” she said.
Olubunmi, who became blind at the age of three as a result of the attack of measles, recently released her second album, Alive, which is produced by Coham Asuquo and Tolucci.
“It is a five-track album. I wrote four of the songs with the help of my Braille, computer and ipad. My ipad has an in-built software that enables me to do all things.
“ The fifth track Domo Domo is an Edo language praise song, I did not write it. I picked it while I was at a show in Edo State. Oda Oyin Si Ola Mi is my first album, I wrote all the songs in it, but Alive is my second album,” she said.
Many a time, mangers/produce rip off artistes under their control, but Olubunmi said with her situation, she has never suffered such and does not see it coming her way.
“It has never happened to me, it is one of the reasons I record with big names in the industry. These big music companies are interested in their names and would not tarnish their reputation for money. Though, they are expensive, they will surely protect your works,” she noted.
From the classroom to the stage, how did your parents see the transition? The Ogun State-born artiste, said, “I am the first child and the only physically challenged person in my family. I have all the support and encouragement of my family; they are even my number one fans.
Olubunmi was recently in the United Kingdom to thrill her fans. Commenting on the trip, she said, “my first trip to United Kingdom was for a concert while the second was for the London Worship Experience organised by my Facebook friend, Mr. Bolaji Mogaji. When Mr. Mogaji posted that his organisation is doing a concert and I registered, people thought he was fake, so I got his number and confirmed the genuineness of the concert.
“Another thing that struck me was that they included my picture and name in their flier. He, even, put my picture on his group’s Facebook. In the UK, I was well accepted and the people wanted me to come back, “ she noted
Did it not occur to you to stay in the UK and never come back to Nigeria? “I won’t lie, it did, but let me tell you one thing; anytime, any day, I like Nigeria. It’s just our environment that is not friendly; Nigeria cannot be compared to what I experienced while in the UK. Imagine, I went to shopping myself, took the bus and moved around without help. Things were really easy for people like me.
“ Despite all that I just have to come back to Nigeria because I am not a UK citizen. Secondly, I do not have a residential permit, so I would not want anybody to be chasing me up and down. Besides, I am a Nigeria and God knows why He made me a Nigerian.
Commenting on her music she said, “gospel music is my calling and I can do it in any form — reggae, rap, R‘n’B and others. And I can listen to Mololorun in the Alive album over and over. I also like Oda Oyin Si Ola Mi, it is a local Oyo track.”
Regardless of her physical challenges, the songwriter and singer looks forward to getting to the pinnacle of her music career.“I see myself soaring high like the eagle in the next 10 years, that is the reason I used eagle as my logo. Though, the environment is discouraging, I would not allow the challenges that are associated with it to pull me down. I also want youths suffering from one form of physical challenge never to give up on hope; they should think positive and remain focused.”