In an exclusive chat with OYA MAGAZINE, fast-rising, actress/singer talks about her ambition, career, and more.
Who is Nanya?
Nanya is a Nigerian recording artiste cum actor. She is from Anambra State and a graduate of English Language and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
How and when did music and Acting start for you?
Music for me has always been inborn. It has always been there. I started going to recording studios at a very young age where I did backups for artists back in Owerri. I was once with a music group called “Red Eyes”. I then started my singing career as J’lar before working with Cadilly Entertainment for 3 years. I took a little time to work on my crafts and genre and brand, from changing my stage name to a different realization of who Nanya is and what she sings! I call my sound “the new indigy sound”. I always encompass my local language (igbo) into my music, a blend of locality and new school.
About acting, I sometimes envisaged it coming but not as soon as it did. “Industreet ” happens to be my first and it is sole because it is music oriented. It is a very captivating TV drama and I am blessed to be a part of it. So let’s say it is safe to put “Actor” on my resume.
Does your background have anything to do with your career?
My background does have an impact in my career. It does have everything to do with it in the sense that my family realized my love for music at a very early stage and they helped me get to where I am today. And also being an Ex beauty queen gave me a certain exposure that has helped my music career. I might not have had the opportunity of doing music and going into pageantry if I were to be from certain parts of Nigeria because of our cultural and religious differences.
Asides Music/Acting what else do you do?
Aside from music and acting, I design. In other words, I am a fashion designer.
How do you manage to combine them?
Combining Music and fashion is not a challenge at all. These two have always been a duo. They go hand in hand. I can easily come up with a design to wear or to perform with in a music show, and make it myself. It is fun when you can just wake up and make a costume. In as much as I try to make out time to do all these, it is a passion. A part of my music career.
What challenges have you faced so far in your career?
I mostly do not like to talk about challenges. I love to fill my head and thoughts with achievements and positive feedbacks, but then I can’t run away from the fact that these challenges do exist and they form a part of my success story. Basically, one of the challenges I and a lot of others have faced in the music industry is having to prove yourself to a critiquing audience.The truth is, in Nigeria, Popularity rules supreme over Talent. The latter is not just enough. You need more. You need to be popular in order to be called an Artist in Nigeria, if not the cliché word “upcoming ” would be attached to you, regardless of how much music you have created or how long you have been in the game. People want to hear what’s it “popular” and trending not what is good, not what is timeless, they do not care about that anymore. So one is pressured mostly to fall into the moving wagon of “kpakpatikpa”. I am not saying that kpakpatikpa is not music. It is music. I am humbly urging us all to appreciate good music when we hear one.
And how did you overcome them?
I do not overcome challenges because I do not like to see them. I focus on doing what I know how to do and working my bones weak to do it right. Challenges might come, yes. But the most important thing is letting your potentials outshine them.
Who/What inspires the most?
Everything and everyone inspire me. In every sense of the sentence, they do.
Who do you look up to in the industry?
In don’t particularly look up to one person in the industry. I look up to a lot of people and I learn from them.
Industreet, how has it been, auditioning for it, preparations, shooting and since its release?
Being a part of “Industreet” has been amazing. From meeting and rehearsing with the most creative musicians and actors in the industry to actually acting and being in front of the camera with the best director and producer in the music and movie industry. I had so much fun going to locations and getting use to some of the terms used in the acting world. I got an opportunity to do what I have never done before (apart from playing different characters in from of my mirror). I have always thought of one day taking a role or two ( as a Wonder Woman with magical powers in Hollywood) hahaha. The best part of it is that “Industreet ” blends with my music career as I played “TT” who happens to be a recording artist, meaning that there were a lot of studio sessions, recordings, music writing and creativity behind the scenes. Perfect!
What’s your next project, what should your fans look out for?
I am set to drop my next single with the visuals this month, but before then, I have a project I am working on with my team, it is called 60secseries. A series of 1-minute songs and visuals for Instagram and other social media platforms. You can check my Instagram handle @nanya_music for more details.
My flawless(permit me to flatter myself a little with the word) use of Igbo and local English is a plus for me. In fact, just know that if I sing for you, you will dash me your car. Hahahaha.
Advice to those looking up to you already…
There are 5 keys to success.
1. Do not give up.
2. Never ever think about giving up.
3. Nwanne, no dey think am.
4. Repeat after me “I no go give up”.
5. Be you. Stay true to your uniqueness, be abnormal, work hard and let God do the rest and do not forget, Never give up “makananwanyonwanyobuijeeluuwa! Udo!
Interview by Soledayo Adegbite