“If you ask me, na who I go ask? The matter wey we see so, e tey wey e start, no be me go talk am, e heavy for mouth; if you ask me, the matter for ground, na who I go ask…”
The opening lyrics and chorus of Omawunmi Boma Megbele’s hit song are easily recognisable in and around Africa. Its use of the vernacular, its message and of course it’s ‘grooveability’ has ensured Omawumi’s place in the West African Musical Hall of Fame. Trust me though, this is not unwarranted praise based on a one-hit wonder; Omawumi keeps hitting it again and again and again!
Born on 13th April 1982, Omawumi hails from Delta State of Nigeria; [she is always quick to add that her mother hails from Rivers State]. The 12th child of 14 siblings, Omawumi is a graduate of Law from the Ambrose Alli University in Edo State, Nigeria. Subsequent to her graduation, Omawumi relocated to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State where she worked with her family’s law firm, O.S Megbele & Associates while studying French concurrently. Omawumi hit the big time after she auditioned for and competed in the musical reality Show ‘Idols West Africa’, fashioned after the ‘American Idols’ in 2007. Her decision to participate in the reality show cum competition was influenced by friends and family who were confident that she could deliver the goods, and they were right! Emerging as the first runner-up to national acclaim, Omawumi hit the ground running and has remained one of the most unique and entertaining artistes on the music scene with a score of intelligent, superbly produced songs and videos. She is behind the lyrics and vocals of theme songs for various corporations including MTN, Zain and the Malta Guinness ‘Top of The World Goodness’ campaign.
Describing her genre of music as ‘AfroPop’, Omawumi frequently infuses vernacular AKA pidgin English in her lyrics. Perhaps it is a spinoff of growing up in the pidgin capital of the world; Warri, Delta State. Omawumi has graced many-a-stage with top local and international acts including D’Banj, Tuface, P-Square, M.I, Banky W, Sasha, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Carl Thomas, Angie Stone and Donnel Jones.
Her videography includes the albums ‘Wonder Woman’ which contained the hit tracks, ‘Today na Today’ and ‘In the Music.’ ‘Super Woman’ had the chartbuster song which formed my intro into this feature and ‘Bottom Belle.’ The ‘Violence Against Women’ album which featured Eldee and M.I amongst others, and her most recent album ‘Lasso of Truth.’ Various singles complete the talented singer’s videography.
Awards? Omawumi won the most coveted prize of the Hiphop World Awards (HHWA), the NextRated Award which comes with a car, and the Best Vocal Performance (Female) in 2009. She was conferred with the Best R’n’b/Pop Artiste Award and Best Female Music Video in 2010 at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards. She was also awarded ‘Best New Artiste’ by the Women in Entertainment and Arts. Vivacity PR. London.
The award-winning, multiple-nominated damsel has contracted some huge endorsement/brand Ambassador deals in recent times. In addition to her representation of Mortein-an insecticide that promises an end to mosquitoes and hence malaria-, she has also joined the league of extraordinary gentlemen and women who are brand ambassadors for telecom giant, Globacom. The good times keep rolling in as she has also bagged the ambassadorial position for online shopping giant; Konga.com.
Omawumi’s talents are multi-faceted as she has starred in theatre performances, musicals and movies. She was cast in the 2009 edition of the V-Monologues (a highly reputed play that reflects the negative issues affecting women in Nigeria), and the musical play ‘OLUROMBI’ amongst other plays. Her first musical movie was ‘Inale’-a Hollywood/Nollywood Bongos Ikwe production, which starred some acting heavyweights Hakeem kae Kazeem, Dede mabiaku, Ini Edo and was directed by ace Director, Jeta Amata. Most recently, she starred in Funke Akindele’s ‘Jenifa’ series; ‘Return of Jenifa’ [May I at this time protest the smearing of my beautiful name by this movie?!].
Moving on; Via her Facebook page, the ‘Today na Today’ crooner is a thorough-bred philanthropist, dedicated to giving aid in and making a difference. She is committed to ‘PROJECT ALERT’; an organization that is committed to advocating for Zero Tolerance for all forms of violence against Women and Young Girls. Her largesse also extends to Pink Pearl Foundation; A Breast and Cervical Cancer Awareness and Treatment Foundation.
“Whether you fat oh, whether you thin, afrobeat or dancehall, you can do as you like oh, just they move oooo, and get in the music, in the music…!!!” Yeah, I like her songs, what can I say?