Nambam Claire-Ann Shitery, fondly called ‘Nanbie’ is a Jos-born Nigerian afro-pop singer/songwriter and keyboardist who started writing songs at the tender age of seven. At the age of thirteen, she had honed her singing skills to a point that she knew she was fully ready for the music making craft. In this exclusive interview with newsmen, she reveals why she took on music ahead pursuing career in Biological Engineering , which she studied at Near East University.
If you studied Biological Engineering,why music then?
I have always loved music as a child. Deep inside me I knew that was what I would end up doing. I think my parents knew that also but just wanted me to have something else to back me up in the future. They were not cool with it when I told them that this was what I wanted to do, but they later succumbed and accepted what I wanted.
How were you able to balance schooling and music?
It was very hard. At a point, I just had to leave music and face my studies because engineering is a very strenuous course. So, I left music for about a year and picked it up again after graduation.
Is there anything that can make you leave music again in the nearest future?
No, I don’t think so. I don’t see myself doing anything else apart from music.
Is that to say that you are incapable of doing anything else?
No, that is not my point. I can do other things but I enjoy doing music. It’s better to do something you enjoy than working 9-5 and not being fulfilled. I can do other things, I can play the keyboard for example, and I can get a job or do business but music is my food and my drink. I love doing music.
How many singles do you currently have?
I just have one. It is titled ‘Tell Him’.
What’s the inspiration behind the song?
Well, the story is about a boy I haven’t met yet, my dream guy. It’s about my true love; It’s about me going through heart break and a point where I’m tired. So, that’s it!
How ready are you for the challenges of the Nigerian music industry?
I think I have something new to introduce into the industry that’s why I feel I’m ready for the challenges and pressure that comes with it. I have raw talent! There are a lot of people out there with talents but what makes me different is that apart from the raw talent, I have a very unique personality and that in itself, is one thing that will stand me out. When you have talent and good management, you wouldn’t have a problems and you’re surely on the path to success and these I have.
Which record label are you signed on to?
I’m signed on to 202 Entertainment.
You’re a budding female artiste in a male dominated industry. Aren’t you scared of being lost among them?
No, I’m not threatened. Many feel because the entertainment industry is male dominated, there is no way women will have any relevance at all. There is so much to women than being shaped in a particular way. I’m not even worried at all because I’m out to keep the flag flying for all women. I’m not scared, but a shy person. I’m small but mighty.
Do you think you can pull the kind of clout the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa, others command?
Yes, I can. They have good management and they also have talent. I have a good management and talent so I don’t see any difference. What a man can do, a woman can do better. So, I’m not scared.
What’s your strategy to break into the music industry?
People start from Lagos because Lagos is the entertainment capital and Nigeria is the entertainment capital of Africa. Most artistes that have made it in the industry started from Lagos. Even P-Square had to move to Lagos, but that is not to say everyone has to understand Yoruba in order to make it. Bringing in tribalism is not healthy for the industry.
Lagos is a place that is open, you just need to have what it takes and I have what it takes. It is not until I start speaking a certain language. The only language Lagos understands is the language of music which I speak very well. I will in future infuse a lot of other things because I’m Nigerian even though I’m not from Lagos. I can decide to infuse Pidgin, English, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa or any other language. The core thing is talent and I have it.
Do you have a video for your song?
Yes I do and I didn’t pay a dime to get the video on air.
Have you ever been tempted to quit music?
Yes, I have one time. Doing music when I was in school seemed too hard for me and it got to a point that I was about quitting music for my studies. Then I realized that music is part of me and what I love doing and would want to do for the rest of my life. If I don’t do music I may regret not doing it no matter what I find myself doing. So I see pictures of that night-life continuously.
What’s your take on the lyrical content and message of the music we have today?
At the end of the day, the music and the sound people listen to is a reflection of the society. It is the reflection of the direction, the frame of mind, the way people are at that point in time. Think about what was going on during Bob Marley’s period, Fela and the rest of them. Aside from the reflection of the happenings, it is also the reflection of the African man’s experiences.
So, sometimes when you listen to what artistes sing about and the lyrical content, it will give you an idea of the person’s frame of mind, the reflection of the society and just anything going on at that point in time. So, I think lyrical content is just a dissection of the society, what they see or experience. African China and Olamide for example, sing about what is going on. If it’s a love song, it will either reflect what the person is going through at that point in time or what they think it should be.
Would you say same for the music videos?
Like I said earlier, videos also reflect the society. It’s what people want to be, it is what it is. That’s why the trend is to objectify women in a particular way which is also a reflection of the society.