Hip hop artiste turned gospel singer, Caroline Sam, aka Maheeda, is a delight to interview. The controversial singer spoke with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine recently on her life as a prostitute, a born-again Christian, how she lost her virginity at the age of 16, gave birth to her daughter at the age of 18 and more. Much more.
You used to be an artiste known for secular music. What made you veer into gospel music?
The change in my genre of music is basically due to my being born-again. I am presently a living sacrifice and when you are such, it is expected that people hear the Word of God in my songs. If they don’t find that in the kind of music you do, then it means there is something wrong. People have to hear Jesus in my lyrics; they need to see Him reflect in my dressing and if I say Jesus is Lord, they need to be able to believe me.
Since you became born-again, what has been happening to you?
I have been working on my spiritual life. I have been studying the Bible, listening to different men and women of God from several countries and reading books written by these people too.
What has reading books by some authors got to do with your being a gospel musician?
The more you read, the more you get informed. There are books which educate you while others like biographies tell you how some leaders became better people. Some others tell you about how other people overcame their shortcomings. So, I am just reading to learn how other people made it so that I can learn from their mistakes and achievements.
How many tracks have you done since you started doing gospel music?
I have released about three singles, namely Halleluyah, I Just Want To Dance and The Way Of The Lord. My kind of gospel music has hip hop flair, some street slangs and the infusion of dance beats in it. Some people call it club beats.
Is that not in contrast with the doctrines of the Bible?
I have not yet read that part of the Bible which said I should not do hip hop gospel music. So, anything that is not in the Holy Book is something I don’t consider a wrong doing. Need I tell you that I am currently married to the Bible, and I love reading it?
Most people are insinuating that you decided to become born-again after you had had your fair share of fun. How do you feel about this?
To start with, I am still having fun. Everybody who knows me will agree that I am also looking real young and hot. I have my style going for me, so when someone says I have had my fun and I am now saying I am born-again, I simply don’t get what the person is talking about.
Those who are talking might just have some points then?
I am just being myself. Most people still say how can a born-again still look beautiful; how can I say I am now a Christian and I still look sexy? But the truth of the matter is that it is the Holy Spirit in me that makes me beautiful and sexy. A lot of people confuse being born- again with the outward looks, but it is not about that. I might dress like a pastor and the next minute I am going to kill somebody.
You once said you could get married to an ugly man, but not to a poor man. Are you that materialistic?
Those were the days when I was still in the world. I am a new person now and my friends know I am not a materialistic person. I don’t make friends with rich people because I don’t feel comfortable with them. I relate with people in the other class better because I know where I am coming from. Some of my friends don’t have cars and when I go to their houses and I park my car, people are always wondering who brought this car. But I am happy to make that friend happy. That is how I have been; even before I was born- again.
Have you cut down on the long list of boyfriends you used to have?
Of course, there are no boyfriends any more. I am now married. But in those days, I had a lot of them. I was just too judgmental. If one of my guys misbehaved, I just moved on to another one.
Was it about the guys just misbehaving or you changed guys when you found out they were not good in bed?
No, it wasn’t about that. The reasons I changed guys then was because they misbehaved. For instance, if I am talking with my man and he picks a call and forgets me, I will simply dump him and move on to another one. Simply put, I was a very jealous lover.
Is it not funny that while you were dumping guys for misbehaving, you were also flirting around with other men?
I was only doing it to spite the men in my life then. Don’t get me wrong; I have never dated two men at the same time. What I did was to date one and when I leave him, I will move on to another person. I never double dated. I might be with one person and if I am not happy with him, I just relax and search for another lover and when I have found him, I move on. It might look like double dating to some people, but it is not.
What attracts you to men?
I am attracted to young men. I like men who are my size or who I am even bigger than.
You became a prostitute at a very young age; then you walked out of it. Was that when you had your daughter?
I had my daughter before I became a prostitute.
At what age did you have her?
I was 18 years old then.
Just out of curiosity, at what age did you lose your virginity?
I was 16 years old when I lost it.
What was the experience like?
It was just there. I am not a sex person and I don’t really like it. Even before losing my virginity, I had some friends who had tried it and were always talking about the experience, but I was just too scared to try it.
So, how did you eventually lose your virginity?
I lost it to a guy I really loved. Although he forced me, I wouldn’t want to call it rape because he was someone I liked. He had been my close friend and I had told him about how I normally run from my lovers when it’s time for sex. So, when we got close and it was time for sex with him, he just did not allow me to escape. He locked the door and forced himself on me. I was angry with him for sometime before I realised that I had got pregnant.
Do you know the father of your child or was it just from another romp?
Of course, I know who he is. I started prostitution after my relationship with my daughter’s father. It was the new friends that I made that led me into prostitution.
How did prostitution really begin for you?
It was all about the need to survive. I had a child and I had to survive with her. I had to start going to clubs and hangouts. It wasn’t normal because it was more like a curse. There was this spirit that just kept calling me. I even tried to work as a house help, but I just could not settle down to do something positive. It was so bad that I felt like I was hearing a voice calling me to go clubbing for business. I eventually tried it once and it took over me. I enjoyed the experience of being in the club; I could sit in the club for hours without going home with any man and still consider the day fun-filled.
When did sex-for-money set in?
Enjoying the club and the real prostitution went together because at a point in time, I realized that I could make money out of my being in the club. Especially when some of the big guys came to the club and wanted company.
How did you meet your husband?
I met him at a bar. I went out on a Sunday and I saw him sitting on his own because he just came into town; did not know anywhere and was looking for someone to show him around. A friend pointed me to him and said I could take him around. That was those days in Port Harcourt, when I was fearless. I was sleeping in the day and working in the night.
How did the marriage happen, especially when he knew the kind of job you did?
First, it started as a job. I was to take him around and get paid, but being the street girl that I was, I also saw him as another opportunity. So, I made the move to get him.
Did you ask him out?
I told him about myself and we became friends. But as you know, a lot of things can happen when a man and a woman are together. Anyway, from being friends, we started dating, one thing led to another, and we got married.
Was he the first white guy you slept with?
No, he was not.
For how long have you two been married?
We have been together for about two years now. Since we met in Port Harcourt, we have stayed together.
Nothing is known about him. Why is it so?
Because that is the way he wants it. He is not a media and publicity kind of person. When I started my music, he said I would have to keep him out of the media. It was cool for me because I didn’t have to tell anybody I was married.
You have been married for two years; what is stopping you from having babies or are you not ready?
I am ready, but I don’t know what is holding it.
Could it be because of the abortions you did?
I don’t know, but I don’t think so. Only God knows and if it is because of something I had done in the past, then I guess some other girls will learn from my experience. But I have been waiting for long.
NB: First published December 2013