My man can be ugly but not poor -Maheeda, Nigerian singer

Source: KATE HALIM -
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Wave-making singer Caroline Sam, aka Maheeda is not ready to slow down. Orphaned at 14, pregnant at 16, later became a house help to fend for herself and her baby, Maheeda rose above her challenges and mistakes to become one of Nigeria's sought after musician.

The single mother and 'Oko Yan Pia' singer signed under Classic Tunes record label revealed her plans to support Nigerian orphans and be their mouth piece. Excerpts:

What are you up to lately?
I have been busy going for shows, building my musical career and putting my album together. It has been quite hectic but I am happy I am making progress.

How would you describe this year in your life and career?
This year is one of my best year and for my career, is my lucky year.

What informs your dress sense?
The way I dress sometimes is the way I feel, but most times, I just want to stand out with my dresses.

How did you come up with the stage name Maheeda?
I decided to use Maheeda as my stage name after being told stories about it and what it means.It means blessing, and in some stories, it means treasure like a diamond. I see myself as a diamond because I went through a lot before my shine just like diamond.

How did you get into music?
I have loved music and performing since I was in primary school. I waited till I could pay for studio sections before I went into it professionally. That was six years ago.

If you were to do something differently, what would it be?
If I were to do some else apart from music, I will go for acting, or fashion.

What makes you different from other young musicians?
What makes me different from other young musicians is my experience in life. I went through a lot that girls and guys of my age have not gone through. I have a story to tell about what I went through and how I overcame them all. I can even teach a young mother how to take care of a baby because I have one.

How long have you been in the music industry and what have you learnt in the cause of your journey?
I am six years now in the music industry, and I have learnt that music is spiritual, so you need to be prayerful. I also learnt that exclusive focusing, hard work, giving honour to who deserves it and working with the right people, is the key to a successful musical career.

What inspires your songs?
I get my inspiration from God and life. Things that have happened and that are happening around me.

You are rising fast in the industry, what would you attribute this growth to?
Hard work and dedication, working with the right people, and most importantly, involving God almighty.

How do you describe your musical style?
I do cocktail music or music buffet, a little bit of everything.I believe I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

Do you feel threatened by any female musician in Nigeria?
I don't feel threatened by any female singer in the industry, we all have our fans and spaces in the industry.

Ladies are bracing the odds in the Nigeria music industry no doubt, do you think our female singers have what it takes to take over from the men?
Women take over from the men? No, this is Africa, women must be under men. Let us not throw our culture away. Women will just have their space.

What future do you see for female musicians?
Well, if we marry understanding men, we won't end up only in the kitchen, we will take the African music talent to other parts of the world. It also depends on what female musicians want. I want to continue making music even after marriage and kids. There are a lot of females out there planing the same, so we will go international and we will also have Madonna of Africa soon, maybe me. I will be here for a long time by Gods grace.

What are some of the setbacks you have suffered in your career?
Money. Money drags back the project, we couldn't do video or take tapes from one place to another. Being an orphan was not easy, but I had a dream of being great, a dream of representing my country, so it kept me going. Yes, along the line I got pregnant, I was too young, but it didnt stop me. I did house help jobs, was a bar girl, to take care of me and baby. I never lost focus and kept believing God because He had great plans for me. Even when I was shot on my head, I didn't die. I lived for a purpose and so far so good, I am getting there.

How did you overcome the trials of being orphaned, and being a
single mom to get to where you are now?
I believe it was God who took care of me and took me through those trying moments.

If you were to go back in time, what would you have changed about your life?
Nothing, because everything I have been through has made me a better and stronger person

What advice would you give to young orphans who have no one to help?
My advice to young orphans is, if you are old enough to do any kind of job please do, make money and pay for your school even if it is part time. If you are not old enough, and you are living with a relative, respect that person and be very hard working.

I learnt cooking from my mother's friend.
Back then, I thought she was maltreating me, I cook, I clean and sell in her shop. I did a lot then but now, I am enjoying it. I worked as a house help and made money for my school. If you are under someone, please respect the person because you will learn a lot. I know it's hard but try. Orphans please do not steal or beg in the street because you can do better. Above all, the Bible says God is the father of the fatherless and mother of the motherless.

Do you intend doing a charitable work aimed at orphans having gone
through that ordeal?
Yes, I will love to talk to them and share with them my experiences. I pray to be very successful because of them, so that they can have hope. If I become very rich, I will raise the bars for them. I must support as many orphans as I can, this is my wish. I wish to represent orphans in Nigeria, to be their mouth piece so that government that come to their aid. I have a dream, it is a big one, God help me.

What are the challenges you face as a musician?
Money, lack of professionalism , and piracy.

Who are your role models and musical influences?
Tuface and Beyonce

What achievements have you recorded as an artiste?
Being nominated for Nigerian Music Video Award, City Peoples awards. I was thrilled performing on stage with Tiwa Savage, Goldie, Kaffy and also working with the top producers in the industry like Sossick, Kas, ID Cabbasa, and Tee-Y Mix. Working with them has helped me become a better person.

What was your first day on stage like?
My first day on stage was super. I felt like I was where I was meant to be. I rocked it like it was suppose to be and the crowd was great.

Do you have any regrets about your life and career?
No, I have no regrets on my life and career. Everything that happened to me was for the best. God used these experiences to teach me strength and endurance so that I can handle what lies ahead.

What kind of man will you marry?
I will like to marry a God-fearing, kind, humble, caring, honest, romantic, strong and understanding man. He can be ugly, I don't mind but not poor. He should be ready to take care of a family. My future husband must have a steady job that can take care of me and the family.

Can you tell us about yourself?
I am Caroline Sam, aka Maheeda. I was born in the North and hail from Edo state. I do cocktail music and a little bit of everything, Hip Hop, RnB, Dancehall and others. I am currently signed on Classic Tunes record label, owned by Sossick, the producer of the late Dagrin's album. I have 4 singles with their videos out on air now.