Segun Odegbami’s Daughter On Why She Moved To Nigeria From London & Why Parents Separated
Oct 19, 2014 – Segun Odegbami’s Daughter On Why She Moved To Nigeria From London & How Parents Separation Affected Her
The daughter of Nigerian footballer Segun Odegbami, Yemisi popularly called May7Ven left the shores of Nigeria to London at a very young age. However, she is back in the country to actually give back to the society where she really belongs.
In this recent interview, Yemisi narrated her life story, her career and how her parents marriage problem has affected her.
Read interview excerpt below:
Are you resident in Nigeria now?
I have just moved back two months ago. I have been based in the UK all my life. I left here when I was about six, so yes, most of my life.
So, why did you decide to come back?
I decided to come now that I feel I have done what I could in the UK as a Nigerian entertainer. I left here at a time when there was no film or artist, but now there are a lot of us, a lot of female artistes, big name artistes in the air. And our music is being looked out for all over the world.
I try to keep myself attached because it’s kind of out of sight is out of mind, no matter what kind of music you play. So, I need to be in the system to be able to continue to enhance or develop a bit more. The infrastructure still need work, the management infrastructure are bad. The PR, everything still needs work. And now that the world is looking at what we are doing, it is very important that we get it right. So, apart from being a singer or an artiste, I am also a business person. I have a platform in the UK, I want to bring what I have learnt out there to Nigeria to help entertainers. I have booked a lot of artistes from Nigeria to perform in the UK, a lot of them, with at least 12 shows in a year. I will bring some of my expertise to Nigeria to further develop the entertainment industry as much as I could.
Odegbami and new wife
You have been in London all your life. The few moments you have been here, how can you compare the two?
It is a whole different ball game. I was here in 2007, I established into the whole sound-city and my videos were all over the place. It was on radio, I was signed with Globacom, I did an 18-city tour with Globacom. So, I knew how it was then, but then things were moving so quickly. This time round, I am just lying firmly on the ground to see what is happening around. But then UK is more organised, there is way of doing things; there is a way of getting on radio and TV. Let’s say in the UK, you have a song, you get consistent air play for like four weeks, that person is going to chart or become a brand and then stages after that. It is all-party of it, at least you know there is a plan and success story. In Nigeria, No one knows.
How much of your father’s support do you get?
Now I am getting a full support, he just left when I was about 16. I wanted to do this, he said go and study, then he kind of abandoned me to go and study. So, I tried studying but I was always performing in the night, then running off, sneaking to the studio. He wasn’t really supportive of that, not until I shot my first video. I worked on about two, three jobs they paid for because it is very expensive and I was a student, so he saw the video. I think he was with a friend and he called me from Nigeria and said: “Yemisi! Is that you on TV?”. I said yes dad. He said wow, that is my daughter. So, he took it seriously and he has been pushing me to fans, he has been supportive. He does not know more about the industry, so there is very little he can do. Now I am quite stubborn because I am artiste, I am not a famous person. I am a proper musician. I play instruments, I have been singing, so I do not ride upon my father’s name, only now I am telling people all about the name. He left a great legacy, I should be proud of him. For many years I did not want to tell anyone that my name is Yemisi Odegbami, I am a daughter of this because the first thing they will do is oh!! She is Yemisi Odegbami, that is her dad.
Where is your mum now?
She is based in London. She does desire to come back to Nigeria, she has been there for over 35 years. They did not divorce, they were separated for a while, then we struggled, she raised three of us by herself. It was really hard in London but she has come out of it and she is the most beautiful. She is so strong, you will not even see any history of the past in her face. I get emotional when I talk about my mother because she has gone through a lot and now she has come out very strong so she is my big role model.
What has life taught you?
A lot, when I think about my mother and the stuff that she has gone through in life, you know, her hardship, her struggle. Some people put themselves first, ok I want to be a doctor, they are going to focus on the career. They have children but they are still very career-oriented, that is how I am. But someone meant to leave everything they believe in marriage, she took a gamble, she just flew us to the UK, no money, nothing because she wanted a better life for us. She wanted us to have best education, best surroundings. She wanted everything to be different and she did not want to be surrounded by the whole football razzmatazz, women, all that type of things. She took a risk, that risk just ended up causing heartache and pain and parting ways with her husband. Finding us food, with not having anywhere to live, no money, coming out of school, so many bad things, racial abuse beyond the league, assault. She has gone through it all, and you see her, you cannot tell anything in her face, she is still the nicest, the most pleasant person you will meet. It is weird to meet people like that in this life.
[Interview by Vivian Onyebukwa, Sunday Sun]