Petite and pretty singer, Modupe Oreoluwa-Ola, popularly known as Mo’Cheddah, debuted in 2010 with only two singles and established herself on the Nigerian music scene. By the end of that same year, she had won awards from MTV and Channel O. Thus becoming unstoppable. However, since 2012, she’s been lying low, only to resurface recently with a smashing new single entitled ‘Destinambari’, which features eccentric rapper, Phyno. The song which has been enjoying massive air play and reviews can be aptly tagged ‘The Return of Mo’Cheddah’. In a chat with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, the pop act opened up on why she took a two-year break and her new plans…
You’ve been off the scene for a while now, where have you been?
I took time away to relax and work on myself as a woman and as an individual because really, when you think about it, I’ve been doing music since I was 12 years old; I’ve been working non-stop and I’ve won several awards. I won the MTV award when I was 18; I’ve won the Channel O award, Dynamix award, Fab award and more. I travelled all over the country for different performances and I was mixing all these with school as well, reading in between flights for exams and all. So, it just got to a point where I needed to relax and take time out to observe and relax because I started losing my sanity and I just wanted to get it back, and believe me, I was fortunate enough to take it.
There are rumours that you went away to have a baby?
Noooo! I didn’t go away to have a baby and I don’t have any babies yet.
If you had one, would you be proud of the child?
Of course, I’ll be proud of my baby. I have nieces and nephews I love so much; so I can’t hide a gift from God. I would never do that.
Now that you are back, what are your plans?
In the period of my break, I learnt a lot about myself and I made some certain decisions to only produce the kind of music I love, going forward. I took time to remind myself why I do what I do, why I love to do music and how it makes me feel, because music is supposed to be natural; it’s supposed to come from the soul, and when the time is right, it just happens without stress. So, it was time when I had to reflect and now that I’m back, I know the time is right, and I only want to make music that I love and music that I’m proud of. I want to make timeless music, because music is like art; it’s timeless, it’s not supposed to have a season or time, it’s supposed to appreciate with time, and now I’m clearer about the artiste I want to be and what I want to do with my own life.
Does that mean you’ve not been making music you love?
I have, but then I was very young. And at a very young age, you are influenced by the changes in the industry. I was influenced by the changes I was going through as a teenager, and as an artiste, I’m very diverse – I can rap, I can sing, I could do soul. So, at a point in time, I was doing everything and I couldn’t distinguish between what I really wanted to do and what I was influenced to do. But now I’ve grown, I know what I want, I know what I feel. So, now, it’s just a matter of taking that decision to do what you love.
At the time you left, you were with Knighthouse Music, are you still with them or under a new management?
No, I’m on my own now. I’m running my own record label now called Cheddah Music and it’s just me and my board of directors and the vision is to stay true and not to compromise who I am as a person and as an artiste.
What really went wrong between you and Knighthouse Music?
Nothing really happened. My contract expired and they had taught me everything I needed to know, and at the time I left the record label, I made a decision to be on my own. Which also influenced the decision of me taking a break at that point.
What do you really want to achieve with music?
I don’t know how to do anything else apart from music; I’ve been doing music for a very long time. That’s all I know how to do. I just want to make music, because for me, it’s a passion, it comes from my soul, from a deep place within me and the beautiful thing about music is that you have the power to create and influence people. So, for me, the joy of music is creating good music and blessing people with the God-given talent, because it’s a gift, and being able to share that gift with the world is priceless. So, it’s not really about the money, it’s about achievement, making an impact and leaving a legacy.
Are you done with schooling now?
Yeah, I’m done with school. I even did my NYSC during my 2 years absence from music; I studied Creative and Theatre Arts at the University of Lagos.
At the moment, do you do anything aside music?
Not at all. Everything in my life has prepared me and has led me up to this moment to do music and that’s all I know how to do. Obviously, I have other interests, but they’ll all unravel with time.
Do you feel threatened with the number of successful female artistes in the industry now?
Not at all. You know at the end of the day, it’s not a competition, it’s an expression. We are all expressing ourselves and really, I love them all, I’m proud of what they’ve achieved. But what separates me really is the God-given talent in me, my style of music, my sound, my drive and how far I’m willing to go with what I’m feeling. At the end of the day, I just want to make good music and I think there’s space for everybody to achieve whatever they want to achieve in life.
NB: First published April 2014