Nigerian singer and songwriter, Eniola Akinbo better known as Niyola has opened up on why she left Banky W’s record label, EME.
The 35-year-old started her professional music career in 2005 and in 2012 signed a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment, but later she quietly exited the label.
In 2005, she became affiliated with Trybe Records before signing a deal with Freestyle’s Make Sum Noise Entertainment, where she released her first set of singles.
The talented singer has been away from the scene for quite a while, and in a recent interview on Pulse Nigeria’s Loose Talk Podcast released on Monday, August 13, she explained why.
”It was a lot of things, I was in a different space mentally and I feel like every artist, every creative has to take time away, and uncover new discoveries about themselves, you have to evolve.
I was in that phase where i just felt like I don’t think I am really portraying what I wanted to portray as an artist. If you went to listen to my songs, will you catch the slightest glimpse of who I am as Niyola? that has always bothered me.”
I was always recording and some songs were released, but I didn’t have control over a lot of things that were put out there and I was also trying to figure out who I was.
Incidentally, a lot happened to me last year, I lost a very close friend of mine in April and then my mum passed a couple of months after, it was like everything I have been trying to work out for the past two years suddenly came to me, and I was like I need to get the hell out, I need to take a break, there was a lot of pressure.” she said.
On why she does music and her direction as an artist
”I think that music is one of the things that was given to me… because i actually do have something to say, I have something to do, , because I feel like a lot of the problems we face as a society stems from the fact that a lot of people don’t know what their identity is.
It is to help people, to empower people, and to make the world a bit more bearable, that is the reason why I was given the gift… I want to be the person that people look up and say, ”because of you I didn’t give up.”
She further answered the question on why it took a long time for her to realise herself.
”I think you have to go through a process, and you have to learn what you have to learn.” she added.
Speaking on how she got into music
Niyola had taken to music at a very early age, and she shared the story of how her journey began.
”By accident, I was just a girl obsessed with music, I never really liked TV, my sister told me about some competition called ‘Circle of Stars’…
My dad had noticed that I liked to sing and he called me one day, gave me a higher grade notebook and told me to compose choruses for the morning devotion and he will make me lead the chorus at devotions.
That is how I started writing. I did a convention at my church and I was prepped for this performance, we had a lot of people from all over the world.
It was at the Tradefair and as I was singing, people were crying, I was about 8 or 9, that is when I knew that I could sing and it started from there.
I did the Circle of Stars where I wound up the first runner-up… From there, and I were super close, I met him at the competition, Amen Starlets in 2001.
That is how I started backing up for and , so Faze was like, they wanted me to do a song on the album, so I started going to the studio in Festac, with Nelson Brown, and I did the song with Faze, a year after the Plantashun Boiz split, ‘All of my days’.
That is where found me, he was a judge on the Starlet competition, through Faze, I met , he also used to come to Sultan’s house, I used to perform at the shrine as a back up to Sultan.
On becoming a member of Da Trybe
Da Trybe was a collective of rappers created by ElDee’s Trybesmen, with their 2001 single, ‘Oya’ becoming a mainstream success.
Niyola was to become a latter part of the family and she discussed how she met eLDee.
”2Shotz introduced me to eLDee, I went for the ‘Oya’ shoot, that is the first time I met Freestyle, eLDee and I started talking about joining Da Trybe, he wanted me to be the only singer, so I joined Da Trybe for a very short time, and I did ‘Rock The Mic’ and a couple of songs.
I left the Trybe because of the controversy, they were about to break up then.”
The Trybesmen comprising of eLDee, Freestyle and KB, later got separated and Niyola said it happened because of egos clashing among the group members.
”It was definitely egos clashing, everybody was young and trying to figure things out, so a lot of egos clashed, it was a whole lot of things.
Trybesmen is being called to perform a show and it became instead of Trybesmen, why don’t we get Da Trybe.”
The singer got signed to Banky W’s Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) in 2012, with the song, ‘Toh Bad’ released the following year becoming a hit single, that opened a new page in her music career.