WRT: How did you get into music?
ASHIONYE: I started singing at an early age. I remember that I started singing at the age of four. My mum was in the choir, so I guess I picked up from her. I wrote my first song at the age of 9, it wasn’t like a full song; just four lines. The song was titled time and tide.
I wrote my first full song at the age of 16 and the rest they say is, well… not history yet, but it’s what we are seeing today.
WRT: How has it been for you as a single act, on your own?
ASHIONYE: My dear. It’s been awesome. I have learnt a lot, made my mistakes and learnt from them. I make my own decisions without anyone opposing them.
WRT: You started the Girl Power initiative. Tell us what it’s all about.
ASHIONYE: I will say I initiated Girl Power. It was a concept I came up with and sold to my record label. Basically, if you check out the entertainment industry and the different industries in Nigeria, women are always pushed to the back.
The idea came up after I wrote a song titled “I’m a woman”. The song was billed to feature the late South African singer Lebo Matosa; but she passed away before we could finalize plans. I invited the other seven ladies (Amaka, Amina, Neyola, Zeal, Sasha, Kemistry and Blaze); we got together and did the song. The song is to ginger women, empower them mentally; you know, like women: get up you can do it.
WRT: What would you call your style of music?
ASHIONYE: I’ll call it R&B, Afro pop. Yeah, that’s what I do.
WRT: How many albums do you have?
ASHIONYE: Just one album, “A piece of me”. I’m currently on my second album, which should be out (by the grace of God) in July. I don’t have a date yet, but hopefully July.
WRT: Which artistes and producers are you working with?
ASHIONYE: So far, I have worked with two male artistes. I featured Nomoreloss on my first single, which is titled “Take a piece of me” and it’s currently being played on radio. I featured Banky W on another song, I’m looking at featuring some other people, like M1 and Kel. The producers I am working with are Alex Yank, Karl Racer (the MD and CEO of Orangootan) and another producer in Europe.
WRT: Any title for the album yet?
ASHIONYE: Not yet, That will come, when the songs are done and we put them together. It will come.
WRT: You know a lot of people compare you to Beyonce or is it the other way around. Tell us about it…
ASHIONYE: Do we look alike? No, do we dress alike? No. I really don’t know because it was the pres that started this comparison, I like Beyonce; I love her for her energy, her passion and focus. She knows what she wants and goes for it, may be that’s where the comparison comes from because I know what I want, I’m focused, I’m determined and I know where I’m going to and where I’m coming from.
WRT: Lately there were some awards and your name has never been mentioned; for instance Hip Hop Awards, Sound City and NMA. What s going on?
ASHIONYE: I don’t know. I think the question should be directed to organizers of these awards, honestly I think they are the ones who know why?
WRT: Let’s talk about your acting skills; we’ve seen you in Doctors Quarters. Do you have anything you are working on because I read somewhere that you are producing a movie or something?
ASHIONYE: No o. Producing keh, no way.
WRT: Are you thinking of a role?
ASHIONYE: Yeah, I’ve been offered a role two roles in two movies. I’ve been given a lead role in a movie and I’m very excited about it. I’ve read the script and I liked the character, so I’m actually waiting, we were supposed to start shooting last month but there are some issues that have to be ironed out; Apart from Doctors Quarters I have also featured on stage. I was in the Vagina Monologues; it was a stage thing where we were talking about female empowerment, genital mutilation, physical, mental and sexual abuse and the rest of them.
WRT: You are Igbo, so where did you get your accent?
ASHIONYE: Why do people ask that question? I’m not the only person who talks funny. (laughs) there are a lot of people who talk funnier than I do (laughs), okay I don’ t know how to answer that question. It’s really embarrassing. I said I will not answer that question again, people should let me be on how I speak.
WRT: Lets talk about the Nigerian music industry, do you think we are there yet?
ASHIONYE: We are getting there; we are not exactly there. The Nigerian music industry is not understood, the music industry unfortunately has been flooded with a lot of, should I say not talented singers. People want to hear singing not chanting. I hope you understand what I’m talking about. Nigeria should start appreciating the real singers, instead the people who are not that talented are stealing the show while the awesome voices are sitting there and not being appreciated financially or in any other way you can think of.
WRT: What is your favorite Nigeria movie?
ASHIONYE: I don’t know (laughs together with the WRT crew) don’t ask me that because I haven’t watched home videos in ages.
WRT: Favorite Nigeria song?
ASHIONYE: Ah its my own, all my songs (laughs) I love myself to death.
WRT: Tell us about your single?
ASHIONYE: My first single from my upcoming album is titled “take a piece of me” it features Nomoreloss, its basically a love song.
WRT: A word to your fans?
ASHIONYE: Thank you for loving me, for being there for me , God bless, you keep buying my CD, its not that expensive (laughs), without you the fans, we the artistes are no there and look out for my album sometime in July.