Call her an all-rounder and you won’t be far from the truth. Uwaye Annette Eigbedion, whose stage name is WAYE, is a fast rising Nigerian music artist, model and stylist.
In this interview with Sunday Ehigiator, she speaks on her childhood, love for fashion, her soon to be released single, ‘Your Love’ and of course how hard the music industry is for female artists. Excerpts:
Who is WAYE?
I am a recording and performing artiste, my stage name is Waye from Edo-State. I also really like fashion. I love art and I also love to take pictures. So I think I am really just a random person; not so random though.
How did you come about your stage name “WAYE”?
My real name is Uwaye and the “U” is almost silent. So I just took out the “U” and here we are now.
How was it like growing up?
Growing up was the best thing. I am grateful for my parents, the teachings and the things they exposed me to really shaped who I am today. My dad; Mr Sylvester Eigbedion is a lawyer and my mum; Mrs Latifat, is a business development manager in a developmental NGO.
I have two sisters, an elder one and a younger one but no brother. We all grew up in Kano. Because of the way I was brought up I have great knowledge of myself and how to relate with people and how I see things.
My parents never let me lack a single thing I needed but we were always taught to be content and not to be greedy. And because of this I believe I have been able to go through some life issues smoothly.
Funny enough my parents disciplined us but not with cane or shouting. They literally scold you with words. As a child, I was the one always getting in trouble in secondary school; smiles. Now that I think about it. My sisters were peaceful.
Give insight on your educational background?
I went to Air Force Primary School and St. Louis Secondary School in Kano.
I was an art student and I definitely hated mathematics. Ironically, I liked science subjects. Then I went to university of Benin, where I obtained a BA in Mass Communication, which was really an eye opener for me.
How did it all start, how did you find yourself doing music?
I started writing in secondary school at Kano. And started officially at UNIBEN.
What inspired you into music?
As a child I’ve always been able to sing. Even before I started rapping. I was the choir mistress in secondary school. Don’t say it’s just secondary school, because it was a Catholic all girls school and music was actually quite serious.
But yeah, I’ve always been doing music even before I started recorded. I have been on about two tracks before I went to university which is where I started officially.
But I think the people that really made me fall in love with music were my elder sister and my mum. My mum listened to so much of good music and my elder sister always pushed on and bombarded us with good and trending music too.
But generally, I pick my inspiration from everything that happens to me and around me.
You are likewise a stylist, what is the Style WAYE brand about ?
I really love fashion a lot. I like to put things together to create looks and it makes me really happy to do that.
Waye as a stylist is called “Style WAYE”. The initial idea was to focus on my own style as much as I can. But then, I collaborate with brands that pay me to wear and style their designs and clothes they sell. I have a website called stylewaye.com .
Its currently down due to work upgrading and rebranding, but would be back up soon enough. Then along the line, I started getting requests to style people and it was a really good pay and from there I kept on getting jobs and getting paid for styling other people.
It is one of the most favourite things I do daily as a craft.
What is the unique features of Style WAYE?
I will say its my ability to express either the mood of my clients, theme of an intended occasion or myself through the dresses I styled.
Again, I can’t actually put it all in a box. But when you see elements of it you would know. My style just speaks for itself and people that knows me recognizes its mine whenever they see it. You can follow my style page on IG @stylewaye to see more of my styles.
What motivated you into styling?
Actually, my friend. He just asked why I don’t take styling serious since I have a great sense of fashion. Then boom, I just started, and its been great.
Lets go back to music; How has been your experience so far in the music industry?
Eye opening I must say. I’ve gotten the opportunity to see and learnt a lot. It’s been really tough. Considering the fact that I am a female artiste in Nigeria.
By saying, it has been really though in the industry, with regards to you being a female artist; how do you mean?
I think the industry is harder for females because a lot of label owners and mangers have told me that it’s harder to work with women. That is a lot of stress and also money! At this beginning stage, money will go out more than it will come in and it makes a lot of things really hard.
Are you under any record label?
No I’m not. Well, not at the moment. Some other things are going on the background though. You will know soon. But I have been approached by some and I didn’t like the deal or the contract so I just passed, of cause I have a lawyer as a father.
I have approached so many labels as well. Sometimes I end up not liking the offer or I get curved! But that’s okay because it gave me time to work more on myself by myself.
What has being your greatest lessons so far in your musical career pursuit?
Just do you. Everyone else will conform.
What has been your greatest challenge as an artist?
Money. Like I said earlier, at the beginning stage of music you spend more than you earn. And would need a lot of financiers.
Tell me about your next big move?
Now it wouldn’t be so big if I’d let you know. Allow yourself to be surprised.
You have on several occasions been sighted with top Nigerian artists, is there anything cooking that your fans should know?
I’ll just say, watch out! Trust me.
What’s the level of support from family and friends towards your career advancement?
Wow! I am so blessed! My parents, siblings, aunties and uncles, friends all support me 100 per cent. They have never for a day doubted or misunderstood it. They have been by my side. Supporting every way that they can. And it’s a beautiful thing. I love them all.
What has been your greatest heights so far in your career pursuits?
I don’t think I know that right now. I just know I am still a work in progress. And when I really know my greatest heights would be a time that everyone would know and wouldn’t need to ask because you will see it.
I have performed at some popular events like Star Trek, Headies and Industry nights. For Star Trek it was really a great and wonderful experience. It was almost really deep for me. Because I never knew I’d be allowed to perform on that stage. At the time I was interning at a media company as a camera girl.
I learnt how to shoot really fast though. So we used to cover the Star Trek and I would have to shoot! Set up and cover the mic checks and all, then at night I would change to my performance clothes.
Oh! I didn’t even mention that my fellow camera crew members got me that slot! Anyways so I performed my songs and I was perplexed with the love I got! I almost didn’t know anyone in the crowd and they cheered me up like I was their sister or a big name brand. After I performed, I will wear my camera girl shirt and get back to work. I feel like I had a lot of learning and adjusting to do and I did it.
How can people get to listen to your songs, which platforms are they on?
I have a few songs online like Stronger, Pull-up, Oji Oji, wonderful, Jowumi among others. You can get them all on Notjustok.com and also Apple Music.
For my new song “Your Love”; you can get it on all digital platforms from July 30.
Tell me more about “Your Love” what inspired you and what message does it conveys?
I think the song speaks for itself. I was inspired by love. All-round love. And the message is simple, “Regardless, love is a beautiful thing”. That’s the message.
It doesn’t matter what you have suffered, who had treated you wrongly, or who doesn’t appreciate you enough, love is still a very beautiful thing that all must embrace. If there is love, there would be peace and progress in any community. We all must just keep loving each other irrespective of our differences.
How do you unwind and what are your social media handles addresses?
I usually lie on my bed to watch cartoons (mostly adult cartoons), use my phone and then eat food! I also love to take pictures. I’m on Instagram, Twitter, snapchat as @waa_yay and on Facebook as Waye.