Sexy Afro-pop singer, Ifeoma Joy Omeh, alias Lady Fify, is one of the few female singers helping to enliven the Port Harcourt entertainment scene. Lady Fify, who is also a banker, tells Funsho Arogundade how she juggles music and banking as well as how she deals with men’s wandering eyes
What has been happening to your music career lately?
It has been well and good. I have been working and so far recorded six songs with Kori Kori as the latest. The song has been well accepted, both on the radio and on the internet. Those who have listened to the other songs that I am yet to release said they are potential hits. In fact, my producer, E-Tracks, who produced Kori Kori, has a particular track, Dr. Do Good, that he always plays in his studio. He told me Dr. Do Good is a masterpiece that will blow minds when eventually released. So, by the grace of God, things are gradually picking up.
So, you are contented with the stage you are in the industry?
I am not where I envisioned myself to be by now, but I believe I am on the right track. So far so good, I have been recognised and favoured to be part of the great shows, including Star Trek, Diplomatic Unplugged, both in Port Harcourt. I have been having club tours with radio and television interviews, while my promo is also ongoing. It is a gradual process and a bumpy one as well, but it’s worth the stress.
When will your album be ready?
We are working seriously on completing the album and at least, before the end of March, it will be ready.
Learnt you still work as a banker?
Yes. I am a singer and a banker.
How are you coping with music and banking at the same time?
To be honest, combining the two is the hardest and the most challenging task I have ever done. But I have come to realise that when you love what you are doing, you wouldn’t see challenges and obstacles. I have been coping well since the two are part of what I do almost on a daily basis.
It is obvious you will have to make a definite choice between the two. Which one will you settle for?
That is a very difficult choice to make now. But when we get to the river, we will cross it.
What informed your decision to take to music?
It was basically my love for music. Also, apart from entertaining people, I discovered that I have a lot to say and very important messages to put out there, and music seems the most appealing and acceptable way to do that.
Was there music in the family?
Not really. The much I knew about music was from friends while still in the secondary school. My friends and I would listen to songs then and jot down the lyrics. I remember when My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion came out, someone came with the lyrics and we all gathered trying to learn the song in the classroom. Then, if you didn’t know how to sing some certain songs, you were seen as not hip. So, I listened more to top female singers like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Madonna and Whitney Houston. Most of the time, I would borrow their CDs just to listen, memorise the lyrics and then return them.
When did you now decide to do music professionally?
Four years ago.
What were your parents’ initial reaction?
They didn’t know that I was romancing music until I had recorded my first single. I had earlier called and told them that I was working on a project and I needed their prayers. They asked me what the project was about, but I only told them that it is a very positive project and I will let them know when I am done.
Would they have discouraged you if you had told them?
Yes. Knowing them well, I was sure they would object if I had told them. One day, I went home, played the song while my parents were around. The first thing that my mum said was: “This person’s voice sounds like yours.” I told them I was the one singing. They were thrilled, though I felt that was because they were hearing their daughter’s voice on a radio. I now opened up to them and they realised that it was too late for them to stop me.
What are the challenges you have faced since you came into the industry?
It is said that nothing good comes easy. But the greatest challenge I have faced is getting people to believe in your dream as well as trust what you can do. But gradually, all those challenges are becoming rubbles.
How big are the odds female singers come up against?
Things are fast changing in the industry unlike before. More and more female singers are getting recognition. While I appreciate what the male folks have done to sustain the industry, I will still have to tell them not to feel so relaxed because their dominance won’t be for so long. The way the industry is, it will no longer be about being a male or a female. It will soon get to that point of what can you offer irrespective of your gender.
Are you not bothered that many are not feeling your music in Lagos, which is the hub of entertainment?
But one will have to start from somewhere. I am happy that I am getting the needed recognition from my base here in Port Harcourt. The music scene is growing here at a rapid rate. More and more artistes from Port Harcourt are breaking the barrier and rising to the top in the Nigerian music industry. So, leaving Port Harcourt now because I want to be part of the Lagos crowd will be like starting all over again. But I believe that when the right time comes and the need arises, more people will surely hear and see me in Lagos.
Who are your musical influences?
They cut across the old and new. I admire Onyeka Onwenu, Omawumi, M.I, Flavour and Tuface Idibia.
Who is that singer you would love to do a duet with and why?
The first on my radar is Omawumi. I love her style and she possesses this commanding voice. Then, I would love to record a song with M.I because each time I listen to the lyrics of his songs, they make so much sense to me and blow your mind. I will like to do a song in Igbo with Flavour. Tiwa Savage is another singer with a good voice and I like her swag.
What is style to you?
Style is a way of life. It is something we have to live with it as it defines who we are in some certain aspects.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes. I have loads of them.
What is your most treasured possession?
As a pretty woman in banking and music industry, how are you dealing with advances from men?
You know men admire women for different reasons. I apply diplomacy in the way I deal with them. I try to know what the person wants and by that, I would know how to relate with you. You can’t afford to be a snob or build too much air around your person as a musician and banker. But you need a lot of wisdom to handle those advances. In every way, I try to be nice to everybody. But to be honest, it is good to have admirers because I will be worried if I don’t get hit on by men.
But is Lady Fify seeing anyone now?
No, I am not.
Then, you are available.
Haa, don’t worry. I will tell you when there is an opening for a boyfriend.