By Jibola Oyekunle

Sunday, July 19, 2009

For National Life 

She may be the next marvel the music world is waiting to experience. Her stage name is Irawo (Star) which connotes that she is indeed prepared to leave a mark in the industry.

With a blend of afro genres rendered in a remarkably inimitable style, Oluwakemi Famugbode-Adetula is quite certain that she will go far.

To pursue her dream, the gospel music hopeful, a graduate of accounting from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State recently bid goodbye to the tedious life of a corporate woman when she ditched her banking job for the mic. According to her, she was the head of the internal audit department of a micro finance bank before she decided to resign so as to face her music career squarely.

The thirty-one year old mother of two told National Life that she was in secondary school when she discovered the passion for music. “I used to be actively involved in entertainment and sport while I was a student of Lagos State Model College, Badore. I used to compose songs for our end-of-year parties and every other activity that required entertaining people with songs. I was also good in sport but I discovered that more of my talent lay in music. 

It was during my industrial attachment after completing my ordinary national diploma in accounting from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos that I developed an interest in the talking drum.

Currently, Irawo is working on two music singles titled, IJO OPE and NOW O’CLOCK. They are inspirational gospel songs. Which will soon be released on air. I am trying to do my things in my own style. I want to make a difference. I do not want to copy anybody. A lot of producers have approached me by asking me to do music the way others are doing it but Iwill not do anything that is going to make me lose focus.

She started music professionally three years ago after she got the full backing and endorsement of her husband. “I had to seek my husband’s permission first and I am happy that he is giving me his full support. He is even the one that bought my first talking drum for me. He is a Public Relations Officer at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). He has been very supportive financially. He also helped me to compose one of the songs.”

It was because of pressure from her father that made Oluwakemi to study accounting. She had always dreamt of studying music and theatre arts at the university. “It was my father that made me to study accounting. Otherwise, I would have settled for music. I still did well in accounting. I graduated with a 2:1.”

Even while she worked in banking and took care of the home front, she still found time to practice her music.

“I play the talking drum perfectly. I even studied music on scholarship at the Pencils Film and Television Institute (PEFTI). I majored on the talking drum and graduated with a distinction. I play jazz and can play all types of drums and the violin. It was difficult combining it with my work and taking care of my husband and children. When the stress was too much, I had to resign from banking to concentrate on my music and family.”

One of the major challenges facing her at the moment is finance. “It is really a serious problem but I do not want it to affect my dream. I believe that by the time my songs go on air I will draw the attention of a lot of managers and record labels who will appreciate my style. I have no record label for now and I have not been invited to any major show but churched invite me to come and sing for them. I also get invites from friends especially my classmates. I believe that by the time I start my promotions, it will be a different story.”

She also spoke about how she met and married her husband.

“We met at a family friend’s house in 1995 and we became friends. We were friends for a long time and he became close to my family. We did not start dating until 2001and we got married in 2002. He is a graduate of communication and language arts from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. Before he joined FAAN, he used to be a master of ceremony and a comedian. Somehow, we both have a knack for entertainment. That is why he easily supports me.”