LadybrilleNigeria StyleStar is a fun feature on Nigerian celebrity designers, actors, artists and other personalities, worldwide, who from our research, have a strong style sense. We track these stars down and in a really relaxed, fun and straightforward way, learn all we can about their style sense and of course get tips on how to look and stay “fly” just like them! For a possible feature or to suggest a Style Star, send an e-mail to (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Omawumi Megbele is one of those emerging artists whose powerful vocals and flexible range reminds you of American Pop Star Christina Aguilera. Indeed, it will be no surprise if, in future, her name is inscribed in Nigeria’s music history books as an outstanding female vocalist. The very talented artist is also one of the few Nigerian/African artists with the ability to successfully and confidently deliver varied genres of music ranging from R &B, Pop, Kwaito to Reggae.Her flexibility is indeed what helped her secure a spot as first runner up in the 2007 West Africa Idols reality series; a licensed reality music series from Simon Fuller’s American idols.
Omawumi’s powerful singing ability is, however, not the only thing that grabs your attention. Equally captivating is her style sense. Whether she is on the red carpet or out and about, the style forward singer turns heads with young, fun, fresh, modern hair styles and colorful dresses that balance her curvy all over the body shape. If you have also been paying attention, you will notice her signature style of incorporating elements of Nigerian local fabrics in almost anything she wears. It is indeed why she is one of our featured LadybrilleNigeria Style Star. Enjoy.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Je vous ai entendu parler français. Comment vas-tu? Comment est la vie? (I heard you speak French. How are you? How is life?)
Omawumi: Oui, je vais bien merci.(Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria: I understand you are from Warri, Delta State. Your last name implies that but curious about the first name. It seems like a Yoruba name. Are you Delta Yoruba?
Omawumi: I don’t think there’s any such language as Delta Yoruba, I’m Itsekiri from Warri and our language is similar to Yoruba but we have different cultures.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Got it.) Alright let’s “get into the music” before we really get into the fashion. You signed a recording contract with Sony BMG Africa coming off the heels of Idols West Africa and huge media recognition, continent wide. Why has it taken this long for your first album, which is forthcoming soon?
Omawumi: I was signed to SONY BMG Africa through Pan African Entertainment (they ran the Idols show). I think they had complications as to the piracy issues in Nigeria or something and this slowed down the process. When the contract terminated, I decided to follow through on my own, with investors(of course). As for why it took this long, I wanted to come with something that will make my fan say ‘wow! She didn’t disappoint us.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Quite subtle but you no say we at LadybrilleNigeria dey pay attention to the little details! I noticed on your (soon to be released) album cover the Wonder Woman/OMA Records tag. Is Omawumi Wonder Woman/OMA Records label owned by you?
Omawumi: Hmmmn una sabi notice o! . . . Yes it is owned by me and some stakeholders who prefer to be anonymous.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Congratulations! I guess the first woman owned Nigerian record label?) I have listened to “Chocolata,” among many on your upcoming album. FIERCE! I can’t wait for the video for that. Tell us briefly what inspired “Chocolata?”
Omawumi: ‘Chocolata’ was a name I call my dark skinned friends and I was called tomato(Lol!). It was the first song Dr Frabz (Nigerian famous producer) produced, and getting the right words was a bit of a difficulty for me. So I just thought to put a story around it.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: You have a law degree, you do music and I hear dabble in fashion. Do you also design?
Omawumi: A little, mostly for myself and my friends.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Whether it is a halter dress, a strapless off the shoulder gown with cinched waist, or a full skirt, it doesn’t matter, you always manage to incorporate Nigerian local fabrics in the designs you wear. Is this a conscious effort to promote Nigerian local fabrics or do you just wear and go?
Omawumi: Yes. It is an effort to promote Nigerian local fabrics,a way of being identified plus its way cheaper. (chuckles)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: How would you describe your fashion style and what do you think it says about you?
Omawumi: I like short stylish dresses because I like feeling sexy and comfortable. I like short bouncy hair styles because I love accentuating my neck and shoulder. I don’t really know what it says, I just go with the flow.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Please don’t tell me you also go to Bobby’s Signature for your hair (Lol!)! If so, it’s a wrap. I am moving to Naija (so Bobby can do my hair). (Lol!) Who does your hair?
Omawumi: Yes I go to Bobby’s sometimes. That man is a genius plus he has some bad hair stylist there, Abbey etc. I also have two great hair stylists called Destiny and Henry.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: You’ve rocked braids, curls, perms, afros. You no tire? (Lol!) What’s your favorite look so far?
Omawumi: It’ll have to be the afro and short straight bob with fringes but people say I look great with braids.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: So far so good, we have “In the Music” and “Today Na Today” videos. Which of those two do you think truly captures the essence of your style on and off stage?
Omawumi: Both of them in different ways.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: If you were not doing music or still doing music and had the chance to be a designer, what would you be designing?
Omawumi: It’ll be between clothes and crafts.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Who are your favorite Nigerian designers so far?
Omawumi: Ohh I have a lot of them, from known designers . . . Data Okorodudu, St Genevieve, Zizi Cardow, Bawo Akinwande of Scissors,Deola Sagoe, Ituen Bassey,Lisa Folawiyo (and so forth).
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: What shops in Naija do you go shoe shopping?
Omawumi: I buy shoes anywhere as long as I love (them).
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: What is your highly recommended hot spot as Nigerians worldwide prepare to descend on Naija, in terms of ambience and customer service, for a great time?
Omawumi: Well I hang out in places where I feel at home and I can let my hair down. Where I can meet with friends and enjoy good food sometimes and Swe Bar in City Mall comes 1st. Atlantic Bar on Adeola Hopewell, Prest Boat Club for Jazz.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Give us your three tips for maintaining a healthy skin?
Omawumi: Bath regularly, stay out of the sun or use sunscreen if you must, use a good moisturizer.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: You say “e dey do me chocolata when you smile at me.” What kind of smile do you consider a “Chocolata” smile? (smiles)
Omawumi: The key to a great smile is to smile from your eyes…there’s a saying that a smile goes a mile. That’s a chocolata smile.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: When it comes to stage presence, (I happen to think) you are one of the few Naija artists I have noticed so far with a compelling and commanding stage presence. For any of our readers who finds themselves in the limelight (giving a speech, performing etc.), what is your number one tip on how to make sure they look well put together so they project confidence?
Omawumi: You have to boost your confidence level. For me, I give myself a brief pep talk and I pray. I maintain eye contact and I always try to have fun being and loving myself.
~Interview by Uduak Oduok
~Photos courtesy of Omawumi Megbele/Akpor Gbemer/Swe Bar/Yomi Black
Visit Omawumi’s Official Facebook page to listen to Reggae inspired songs like “Brighter Day,” “Miss My Baby,” and more off her Freshman album, Wonder Woman/OMA Records.
Today na Today