In an exclusive Interview granted to a Kenya radio station, 91.6 FM – Kubamba Radio, gospel music star, Ada Ehi, chronicled her journey from life, being the only girl among four children and the challenges often faced by upcoming gospel musician in the country.
Life as a kid
Being the only girl among three brothers, I was what you can call a TOM BOY. It shows even in my mode of dressing so much people find it hard whether to place me as boy or girl. My father was an engineer and was only ordained a minister about 10 years ago when I was still in the university. He loves to study and teach The Word. To have a further understanding of the scripture, he enrolled into a Theology school where he learned Greek and Hebrew. So when people refer to me as a pastor’s kid, I never really experienced nor saw it from their perspective. I have always referred to him as an engineer.
For someone with science background, I studied Chemical and Polymer Engineering at the Lagos State University (LASU). But I have always known that it was not a career I could consider for the future. My parents were not really disappointed that I refused to practise it because three out of their four kids studied same engineering course and only one is actually practising it. One veered into banking and is today a chartered accountant. On my own part, I had always known that I was going to sing. The signs were there. The obsession was so intense that even my parents had to keep praying and fasting to God to help their ‘only girl’ to, at least, finish school before doing the ‘nonsense’ she wanted to take as career. Although I did not come out with a 1st Class but my result was quite good.
Modelling as an option to singing
The idea of modelling even as a teenager in school never crossed my mind. I was more interested in climbing trees, riding bike, rolling on the floor and running around with my brothers with plastic guns. With the kind of brothers I have and hanged around with, mooting such idea would make them mock and troll me. I am sure they would have slapped the idea out of her mind.
Journey into music
I think I started music professionally in 2009/2010. But one thing I am going to say is this: Having a good voice and knowing how to sing is fantastic but it should not replace the need for you to be well educated. You know there are certain people out there who often think one merely stumbled and became successful in music because one couldn’t gain admission into school. But when they realize that you are learned, such impression changes. They usually have no choice other than to conclude that it is your calling.
Let me take myself as an example. When I finished schooling as I told you, my grades were good despite not making a 1st Class. I was among the lucky few that was shortlisted to work in an oil company with a mouth-watering offer of about $3,000 a month. That did not really move me and I opted out of it. It was then that it finally dawn on my parents that I had made up my mind.
First studio experience with Frank Edward
The first opportunity I had to be in a studio, I enjoyed watching people doing their stuff. Still, it was overwhelming. My first music producer was Frank Edward. That was why I keep telling people that I have known him for many years. I remember the first time we were in the studio together. When I told him I wanted to start recording songs, he looked at me and sniggered. He thought I was joking. I was in the choir as at the time and I have sang some songs I personally wrote. Frank was aware of it too but he never thought the idea of going professional would cross my mind. He looked at me and asked ‘For real?’ I nodded affirmatively. That was how I started. But as I mentioned earlier, it was quite overwhelming. The stress of having to stand before the microphone in a particular manner, running freestyle and others. You know there were things you can do easily by yourself off mic and then you stand before the mic and your mind suddenly go blank. The experience is quite amazing though.
Advice on how to combine work with family life
Combining all these with being a wife and a mother demands determination and hard work. Out of 24 hours, you cannot afford to sleep 12 hours even as a mother. You just have to leave the comfort of your bed to work, avoid engaging in side talks and move away from places you see as your comfort zone. The more responsibilities you have, the less time you have for frivolities and trivialities especially on television, soaps and social media. You know there are people whose lives revolve around social media. They want to tweet about their lives every minute and answer every comment or criticism thrown at them. No, you cannot afford to be a regular person and want to also be somebody who is extraordinary.
Gospel Song that marked turning point in her life
I have three songs that acted as my turning point: The first was ‘The Answer Is Yes.’ The others were ‘I Testify’ and ‘Only You Jesus.’ They all came out together.
Lessons learned as a Gospel artiste
As a Gospel artiste, the first lesson I learnt is that I need to know Jesus. In my own case, I did not just know Him, I work for Him. This is a lesson I think every Pastor and Gospel artiste must know and imbibe. The Bible talks about the presence of the Holy Ghost. He it was Who makes the presence of Jesus tangible because He is everywhere. As the chief architect, He makes and mould us into whatever shapes He wants. The truth is that one can be successfully in life and still have no fulfilment. There is always going to be that emptiness within one. When you see people that know God, they are always more compassionate and willing to help in all circumstances because they have come into a different mindset. It makes all the difference.