My four years’ contract ended when I decided to get married — Naomi Mac

The Voice Nigeria contestants, Dapo Zacchaeus, Naomi Mac, and Kitay Okiemetue recently sat with the host of #WithChude, Chude Jideonwo, to discuss their music careers and the hustle it takes to make music in Nigeria.

On the show, Naomi Mac, shared how her contract with a record label was terminated because she got married. “I have been doing music officially for like 20 years, and I had a record label. I remember when I decided to get married in 2017. In February, when I had my introduction, I got a message, and they were like, ‘babe, you need to pause this wedding’. I didn’t want to call off the wedding, not because of me, but the wedding is about my partner and I. We both agreed to go on and that was when my four years contract stopped. The funny thing is that I didn’t even know until after four years. I couldn’t sign with anybody else, but I couldn’t work. So, it was really crazy.” She also spoke about her choice to go for The Voice Nigeria after being a part of Nigerian Idol Season 1, in 2011. ‘It was a tough one for me, making a decision to even come out at all after about ten years. I didn’t even think that people would accept me the way they did. And I am always super grateful for that acceptance, it really gave me a lot of encouragement and confidence.”

Kitay Okiemute, after being a finalist in the MTN Project Fame season 9 and other reality shows, also participated in The Voice Nigeria 2021. On his getting into the show, he shared, “My reaction at that last point of my blind audition got a lot of people talking”, ‘This boy is so rude’, ‘he is so proud’, but the thing about me is that I like to look like (I have no emotions) when I am very scared. And when I was on stage, and they hit the button, in my head, I was like ‘Omo, na so I for take go house’, but a lot of people thought I was giving a reaction to Yemi Alade, like ‘i no want you’, and that got me a lot of insults.”

The interview also had Dapo Zaccheaus sharing about getting on the show and the struggles he had before then. “My Bolt app was on, just in case nobody turned. Then I looked at my dad, and I was like, ‘why did I bring this man out of the house to come and watch this’. My dad and I have been having that argument over the years, I am a mechanical engineering graduate, and as the only son, it took my dad a long time to accept that I am a musician. I told him, ‘Daddy, I am going for The Voice Nigeria’, and showed him videos of the past, and he was like ‘Okay’. That day came; I had been rehearsing, but there was a part of the song that required backup vocals, and I was like, how am I going to do this part, ‘like 30% of everything I did, came on that stage’.

On navigating the music industry in Nigeria, Dapo shared, “the part of the industry that I have been in is behind the curtains; there is a limit to what we can have access to in terms of information and structure. However, it is a sad story that the talented ones are usually behind. But I am also happy to state that that narrative is changing.”

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