Nigerian Men Are Emotionally Shy - Ashionye Ugboh
Ashionye Ugboh is a songwriter, singer, actress and also a businesswoman. The Orangootan artiste is presently among the few Nigerian artistes that are brand ambassadors. She first came to the limelight as a member of defunct female group, Emete and when the group broke up, she decided to go solo. The R&B crooner in this interview with SANDRA OKAFOR speaks about her career, perfumery and her first relationship.
You were the brand ambassador of Pepsi Light; can you tell us what the brand saw in you, before making you their ambassador?
I had a one-year contract with Pepsi Light as the brand ambassador. That one-year has expired and we are hopefully looking at the possibility of renewing the contract. As Pepsi Light Ambassador, my job entailed promoting and speaking about the brand. I think the reason why the company chose me was because of the sophistication of my style and my personality. They saw it in me and I got the deal.
How did you venture into the music industry?
My first outing was with the group, Emete. We were three girls; we did Afro Pop with a fusion of Rock and Funk. Our first single was called Save Your Love. We were supposed to release a 12-tracker album but unfortunately, we didn't because the group broke up before we could even release that album, we did released an (EP) Extended play of four tracks. After the break up of the group, I went solo in 2005 and released my first solo album titled A Piece of Me in 2006.
Any hope of the reunion of Emete?
I can't say. There might be a possibility of the group coming together.
Tell us about your Perfume?
My perfume was released into the market in August 2007; it took the company and me to manufacture it for nine months. We actually started the process in November 2006. The perfume is a soft-smooth scent. It's got a whole lot of fragrance in there and it is basically for women. We are currently working on another perfume.
How will Romance Perfume compete with the known labels?
When I released my perfume into the market, my perfume was the first to be released into the market by an entertainment person in Nigeria. That is actually, a first and it is a plus. So far, the perfume has been doing wonders in Nigeria and Liberia because we also have a company that is distributing it in Liberia. To be honest, I am making money from that side.
Romance perfume is basically a very affordable product for both elite and non-elite. The second perfume we are working on will be extremely good, because we are hoping to take it abroad.
Do you have plans of getting into the movie industry?
Yes I do!! I have two producers who have approached me to feature in their movies, which they intend to start shooting very soon; I am looking forward to it. I featured in a drama serial called Doctors Quarters that was aired on MNET it was watched in 43 countries in Africa.
How do you handle male admirers?
Anyway they come, give out a smile.
What was your experience in your first relationship like?
I was a teenager then. I actually thought I was in love, but looking back now, I probably wanted to be a part of what was happening then. Looking at my friends who had boyfriends, I believed I wanted to be a part of that. Right now, I know I am really in love with the person I am dating.
Right now, whom are you dating?
I don't talk about the men, that my heart belongs to, I don't talk about my relationship, I have been in an amazing relationship hopefully, we are trusting God to lead us to the altar
Have you ever experienced heartbreaks?
How do you see Nigerian men?
I see Nigerian men as fashionable, lovable but they are emotionally shy; not all of them though, but about 40percent of them. Maybe it is a man's thing. I see them as men who actually respect their women and family.
What is the craziest thing a fan has ever told you?
I had a guy that I've never met; he sent me a text message that God has ordained us to be married as husband and wife. I also had a guy who worked up to me and asked me to kiss his white T-shirt because he wanted to put it on the wall of his bedroom.”
What was your reaction?
I just laughed, because I am fast becoming the cynosure of all eyes.
Do you think you have an edge over other artistes?
Yes, because my style and my personality stand me out.
Any hope of doing a duet with a foreign act?
Definitely, it is in my plan at the moment, my record label owner and the label owner of the other artistes have almost completed the arrangement. It is a male artiste that I am going to duet with very soon. Just be on the look out, I am not going to mention his name now, until you hear the song.