Olawale Ojo: ASUU Made Me Take Part InProject Fame

Olawale Ayodele Ojo, winner of the MTN
Project Fame (Season 6), tells BAYO ADETU
about his experience in the competition and
other issues
Q: Shortly after you were announced winner of
the MTN project Fame, you said your mind was
still blank to express how you felt. It is about
48 hours now, so how are you feeling?
I feel blessed. I feel that everything around just
worked for me this season because I didn’t really
expect to come out as the winner this season.
It’s about God because I don’t believe there is
something I did that others didn’t do. It was
the grace of God and the people that voted for
me. I’m really grateful to all the people that
believed in me and voted. I wouldn’t have won
without them. Basically, I feel this is God’s grace
because at a point in the competition, I was
almost evicted, so when you look at everything
from beginning to the end, you will realise that
it is God’s grace.
If you didn’t envisage winning the competition,
what was your plan when you registered to
participate at the auditions?
I came up to register when ASUU was on strike,
and this was my first time to participate in a
music competition. I didn’t really come with too
much determination, but anywhere I find myself,
I always try to give my best in all I do. So, when
I got into the academy, I didn’t have a choice
than to give my best for everything.
So ASUU strike actually pushed you to Project
Fame?
Yes, but I believe that is how God wants it to
be. The strike is a blessing in disguise for me.
Who is Olawale?
I am a normal guy and like I said, I am into
sales and repairs of phones and laptops, and I
do that in school just to make some money. But
I love music so much. I play the piano, drums
and I sing in my church choir. I was the music
director of my church choir for two years before I
left for school. Basically, that’s just me. My life
has just been music and business. I just try to
add value to myself.
Tell us more about your experience as a phone
and laptop repairer?
I started as a lover of gadgets because I know
much about gadgets. Like some people will call
me pimp. I use to pimp their phones. It was
expensive then to put some media applications
like Bible on phones. It was a luxury then, and
that was what I was actually doing. I later
graduated into selling phones. I started knowing
the problems that are peculiar with some
phones and how to fix them. I didn’t really go
for any special training though. I am not saying
that I am very good at repairs, I do it basically
based on the experience I have with phones.
How lucrative was the business, and did you
sponsor yourself to school with it?
I didn’t sponsor myself to school, my parents did
that. But there are some extra money needed in
school that you can’t ask your parents; that was
the type of money I was making. At times, I feel
like taking some responsibilities myself, so I
need to get extra cash.
As a millionaire now, how do you intend to
cope with your colleagues in school when the
ASUU strike is over? Will there be any pressure
on you?
I think the only change is that I meet a lot of
people and people know me now. I wasn’t this
popular, but now I am popular. I think that is
just the difference. I am still Olawale. The only
thing different is just that I am now popular and
I have to be more conscious of my career now
because I have to work more on my songs. I have
to make sure I don’t disappoint my fans out
there. The work has changed.
Project Fame had produced five previous
winners before you. What are your plans to
rank among the most successful ones?
Basically, I am sure that those that have won it
before didn’t achieve that because of what they
did, but that is God’s plan for them, and I
believe that God’s time is the best; if you come
out at the wrong time, then you might just
crash. I am putting everything to God and I will
just play my part, work hard and make sure I
write good songs. But everything depends on
God. He knows when He needs me to come out,
when people needs to know me. My music will
not be a do-or-die affair. I didn’t bring myself to
the Project Fame academy, God did, and He is
able to sustain me.
You sound very religious…
I won’t say that I’m too religious, but at the
same time, I believe so much in God. Looking at
my journey from the beginning of the
competition to the end, it has been God. I was
almost evicted at a point.
You started from the church as a choir
coordinator, and now you are a winner of the
project fame. Are you going to play gospel or
secular music?
I’m not doing gospel music, and my personal
composition at the Project Fame finals wasn’t
gospel music. I believe that God created love
and dance, which is not bad for us. I don’t
believe that everything should be gospel; music
should be either positive or negative. Even if a
secular song has a message of love, it is good,
but there are some music that don’t deliver love,
and I wouldn’t go into such music.
Before the Project Fame competition, how well
did you study the Nigerian music industry?
I am very observant and listen a lot. I don’t
really listen to Nigerian music, but at a point, I
realised that my culture is important, so I
started listening to it. I actually wanted to know
what they do that make people scream and
shout their names, understand their kind of
music and know the type that sells. For a song
to sell, it has to have African trade mark on it,
either you put Yoruba language or you put
pidgin English. WizKid, 2Face, P-Square and
others put something of these languages into
their music; that is one major thing I have
discovered. With that, their music flows in a way
that even a roadside mechanic can get your
message and enjoy it. That is music that both
the rich and poor can listen to.
Are there any Nigerian artistes that you draw
inspiration from?
I don’t draw it from one person. I draw
experience from different sources, so I will say
they all have their own peculiarity. I am a very
flexible person, and have decided to throw
myself open so I can learn a lot. They are all
great, so I will try picking one or two things from
each of them and add them to my own and pray
better things will come out of it by God’s grace.
Despite having a good music background
before coming to the Project Fame, what have
you learnt in the academy?
I have learnt to have confidence in myself. I sing
in church but have not been in this kind of
platform before. Project Fame is my very first
experience, the first time I will appear on TV. At
a point, I became nervous. The first time I came
on stage, it was written all over me that this guy
is scared, but the Faculty members worked on
me. I really appreciate them. They helped me
manage those weaknesses and now, I’m more
confident on stage and believe in myself, despite
the fact that I have a small stature.
What was the most challenging thing you
encountered in the academy?
Like I said, I do business, so am used to it. I
don’t have problem with my co-contestants,
don’t quarrel, and I don’t get angry easily, so
everything was just fun for me.
While the competition lasted, was there any
other contestant you had feelings for?
None.
You were never close to any of them?
One thing is that throughout the competition, I
made sure I wasn’t too close to one person.
Samuel was my birthday mate; Roland’s bed was
beside my bed. As for Immaculate, I learnt from
her. But I didn’t really have a favourite.
Was there any contestant’s eviction that really
hit you?
Everybody. During the first eviction in the show,
people were weeping, but I wasn’t crying. At a
point, some of them were like ‘come on, are you
not human?’ and I told them that this is a
competition and it is normal for people to be
evicted. Besides, your crying won’t bring the
person back. I was determined that even if I was
evicted, I won’t cry, but I focussed on my task.
Each time anyone gets evicted, I always feel for
them, but that is how it is meant to be.
Since you emerged winner, have you spoken to
your girlfriend on phone?
I don’t have a girl friend.
Why?
Nothing, I’m still young.
How old are you?
I’m just 25.
That is not too young to have a girlfriend
I see myself as a young boy. Look at me, do I
look like someone that can maintain a girlfriend?
But you’re now a millionaire. Your level has
changed?
It’s not about the level, I’m still Olawale and I
don’t look like someone that can maintain a
girlfriend.
Where do you see Olawale in the next few
years?
Majorly, I see myself as a very different person,
coming into the music industry with my own
originality, and I don’t want to lose it for any
reason.
Who is likely to be the first artiste you will
work with?
I don’t know. I can’t really predict. Let’s keep
our fingers crossed.
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