‘IF I MUST HAVE SEX, THE MAN MUST BE WORTH IT’
Songtress Amarachi Florence Ndisi is certainly not a popular face in the Nigerian music scene but for the children of the Rochas Okorocha Foundation, her personality and songs have had positive impact on their lives. At a recent meeting at the Protea Hotel, Kuramo Waters on Victoria Island, Ndisi's passion for music and the less priviledged children.
Still in her early 20s, Amy as she is fondly called is full of life and exuberance as she discloded that her project with the Rochas Okorocha Foundation actually opened her to lots of temptations and goodwill.
Although, she intends to launch her album later this year, her video work with the title: Tomorrow's People is already hitting the airwaves on the Nigeria Television Authority and AIT. For Amy, her dream of seeing Tomorrow's People today is a major passion. Amarachi, hails from Ndiolumbe in Abia State and she began her musical career from the studios of NTA Aba via the children variety show. Music comes to her naturally. Hence she explains her creative life.
How did you come into music?
I actually got into music as a child when I used to attend the children's variety show at NTA, Aba. I received encouragement from my uncle, Mr. Whey, who was then a staffer of the NTA. My uncle, who had rich studio and stage experience always took me, as a little girl, along and that afforded me great opportunities to get exposed to music back in 1987.
However, there was a lacuna in my musical career as my parents felt that I was growing up and could no longer go for such adventures like music. They wanted me to concentrate on my education. The biggest opposition I had then came from my mum and I had to give music a break. One thing she said that stuck to me was that I needed education more than music because the talent of singing would always remain but higher education won't wait for me.
During that long break, I had to go to school and that was how I enlisted for a Diploma course in Linguistics at the University of Calabar and followed it up with an industrial attachment. But I was not satisfied with that as my desire had to do more with Social Sciences and so I went back to Unical to study Sociology. The reason was that I wanted to know why human beings do what they do and why.
Return to music
I had great fun studying and I loved the decision my parents made for me but as soon as I graduated from the university, I returned to music because my school was one year behind in terms of National Youth Service Corps at that time. I used the period to do a quick catch up and put my songs together.
My first work is entitled: Tomorrow's People. It is about the future and working with the children and. of course, I mixed it up with the feminine track which I called: I'm happy to be a woman. Some of the tracks in the album have been aired on NTA Morning Ride and AIT but it has not been released officially. It is like an evolving project work that I need to take my time to let out because education has thought me to do things properly and as such I don't want to rush out with the album.
You talked about the album being a sort of project work, how?
While I was still comtemplating on the children, Owelle Rochas Okorocha came on air and said something that really struck me about the condition of under privileged children. I followed up on his background and found out that his works of charity. I further conducted my investigations on the children and I felt sorry for their condition.
Then came a kid, Mike Peters, who was hospitalized and whose parents could not raise money for an operation of appendicitis but what saved the kid was that he was taken into the Rochas Okorocha Foundation, which now took care of his medical bills. Knowing that there are endowments in these kids I chose to work with the less privileged, especially those on the streets.
Working with children
Whenever, I went to TV and I had something to say, I always spoke about the national pledge and what it means for the Nigerian child. What gave me the courage was that I was thrown into a public school not because my mum could not afford a private one but because she wanted me to be exposed to life early and to know that life is not a bed of roses.
My school never had the opportunity of going to TV programmes like other big schools but I sneaked out to watch it. And my mum was proud of my courage to have done so because it was like telling others that despite the school I attended, I was as good as they were. I found out that there is something in these kids that make them under privileged but that what hinders them are the people around them.
How did you come about this album?
I do explore a lot. I produce jingles and I recall that there was one I did for ANPP when my school was on strike. As an adventurous person, I was able to get across to relevant people in order to get the job. I went as far as seeing the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and despite the fact that his aides didn't let me see him immediately, the jingle caught his attention when one of his aides played it in his car stereo. It was in the same manner that I made the move to see Chief Rochas Okorocha.
After the speech he made on television about people killing themselves he reminded me of the things I had said as a little girl and I felt we shared the same ideologies, so I made efforts to meet with him. But getting to see a man like Okorocha was like going through the eye of a needle and the bottleneck could just have killed the dream.
But, I was bent on seeing him to enable him see what I had to offer in terms of children and his foundation. It took me three days before Bob Enyi helped me to see him because he is always busy. I had to break his protocol to see him as it was getting rather difficult. I just dropped my bag and walked to him as he was stepping out of his office and since I had no bag on me, there was no need of anyone to suspect me.
To my surprise, he gave me attention even when his aides tried to stop me. I told him straight about the project I had in mind and that I would love to do it with the children of his foundation. He told me that he had something of that sort in mind and that he was hoping to bring in his friends from America to join him but that since I had mentioned it, he would go ahead with me.
I grew up among four brothers and I could recall that at the age of 16, boys were making advances at me. My mother would tell me that if a boy touched me, I would get pregnant and I would have a baby and that would disrupt my future. She created fear in me that made me jittery when men made passes at me. But, I must confess that I had the best of friends in men because they discussed issues and not what kind of make up I wear or dresses I put on. Being with my brothers and even having to play football with them made me feel relaxed among men.
I look at myself in the mirror, the most sensual part of me is my heart and this is because my sensuality is to touch lives and give those who are less privileged a sense of living. If I can touch their hearts, their way of thinking especially those in high places, so that as they take wine and exotic foods, they should also remember that there are people somewhere who have not had a meal for days or even still feed from the dust bin.
How I see sex
I see sex as a shrine. If I must go into a thing like that, I must look at it as a great sacrifice. I could give all my money but not my body because it is the greatest gift any woman can give to a man. So, if I must go into it, then the man must be worth it. It's sad that the economy of this nation has made many of our women lose their values but there is a need for us to remember that even God says that our body is His temple. I want to have sex with my husband only and I want it ordained properly.
Men in my life
I would say that the men in my life are people who have done great things in my life like my uncles, my brothers and Owelle Okorocha. In the context you are referring, I was once in love with a guy who is so reserved as against me who is an extravert. I could come in and hug all the men that I know with nothing at the back of my mind and he could not take it. He said I broke his heart but that is my person and he failed to understand me.
I felt bad about it but there's nothing I could do. But today as an older person, I see things differently now because I would love to settle down and have my own family. I want my husband to love and adore me because I cherish family life and as such, my relating to people now is on a matured basis. All those hugs are suspended because people read meanings to it.
Nigerian music industry
Nigerian music is unique and people go for it. It depends on what one likes because our artistes rank among the best in the world. The only snag is that many artistes today are accused of not knowing how to play instruments unlike the older musicians. For me, the kind of music I would want to be known for is R&B but with a touch of gospel. It all depends on whether God has a calling for me or not. My kind of music would be more like ministration because God is the maker of everything good.
Between my faith and my job
People often times are not usually themselves. I love adventures because I'm a very inquisitive person but then by my experience and the religion I'm born into, my mother has a great influence on me and she is the type that would say, go and ask God first before you do any thing. This has made me become completely dependent on God because there is nothing I can do without Him. I admire Onyeka Onwenu so much that I see her as an inspiration in my music career. She has jumped over many hurdles and yet she stood her ground. In all, I just want to be myself and create my own identity.