Idols gave me the platform I needed to soar —Temitayo George
She may not have made it as the first West African Idol but she sure has made a statement why she made it to the top three in the popular Reality TV show that makes dreams come true. With her second Singles out, Temitayo George has no doubt shown that she is one celebrity that is using her talents to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged children. In this chat with AHAOMA KANU, she gives an insight to what keeps her moving, her dreams and talks on her latest single.
How was the Idols Experience?
The Idols Experience was a blessing. I had been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time so when it came around I grabbed it with full force. When Idols came to West Africa in January 2006 I was overjoyed because it was going to be a bigger stage, with a much wider audience & I had always dreamed of being on Idols, I knew I could sing and I wanted an opportunity to nurture and develop my talent. Idols auditions were long and challenging, at every stage the nerves and the excitement would grow.
I auditioned in Lagos , queued up on 2 separate days alongside 1000s at 7am in the morning and ended up seeing the judges by about 2pm in the afternoon. I was nervous because there were so many people that I thought were good singers who went in before me and they were not chosen so I started to wonder what the judges were looking for, then I figured they were not just looking for a good singer but someone who had the whole package, star quality which included a good voice, good looks, good carriage, confidence, charisma, someone fantastic! So I went in there believing that what was meant for me was going to be mine and I was going to get it so I stopped comparing myself to anyone else and by the grace of God I qualified for the top 60 Planet 1 stage. At this point I knew that the judges would be more strict in making their choice so I designed a beautiful orange and black African costume with a long flowing cape that would make me stand out and I chose to sing Kelly Clarkson's 'Breakaway' that had the lyrics " I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly, I'll do what it takes till I touch the sky". So I was able to spread my beautiful cape far and wide as I turned around singing the song, my cape represented the wings. It was well received because so many of my fellow contestants gave me applause when I did that. The next stage was the Top 24 and Top 10, here I knew that everyone could sing so it was about going the extra mile, doing that extra thing either with my voice, my body and my style that would make me stand out amongst the others so that my fans would keep voting for me because they would always be looking forward to what they were going to see me do next. My parents were so supportive to me during the competition, my mum would go up and down shopping to make sure I had just the right clothes that would complement me and add value to my position. I believe it was the favour of God, my parents love, the love of my family, friends and all my fans that kept me in the competition till 2nd runner up, that was as far as I was supposed to go and I thank God for taking me that far.
What was life like after Idols West Africa ?
God was so faithful because after idols I was fortunate to be selected as the opening act for the Michael Bolton concert and MNET TV Show Moments with Mo, this was very encouraging to me and I knew that the sky was just the beginning for me because it was such a great surprise and I believe that God had much more in store for me.
You see, it is good I talk about my background before Idol. I came back to Nigeria from London in September 2005 where I was working and studying for my degree in Accountancy; I switched from Accountancy to Management at the University of Leicester and will graduate in 2009. As soon as I came back I jumped at the chance to enter a reality TV competition show in Calabar called Creative Academy in Calabar because ever since I was about 15 years old, I always wanted to pursue a career in Performing Arts but it wasn't really seen as a wise or profitable choice of career but over the years things have changed for the better. Artists, musicians, singers, dancers performers are receiving more recognition and due respect all around the world. The entertainment industry is fast becoming a more profitable one. Creative Academy was the 1st competition I had been in and it was very challenging. There were 4 categories: Music, fashion, dance & photography, I was the last girl standing in the music category third position of music and it was a huge achievement for me because I composed and performed my very own songs on television for the 1st time with God as my Help. It was nerve wracking and highly exciting all at the same time.
What is style to Temitayo?
Style to me is all about what makes you look and feel better, what adds value to you as a human being. To say you have style simply means you have developed your self image to a point that you are well respected and admired by people, people look up to you and want to learn from you. It could be in the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you smile, the way you wear your hair, the stylish clothes you wear (doesn't have to be expensive just colourful, well combined and I wear my size). Taking care of yourself, inside and out is what style is all about. You have to develop your inner beauty before you can really say you have style. In relation to music, adding value to your inner beauty could be learning more about music, theories, vocal training, performing arts etc so that when you get on stage people will perceive that you have a unique style and control over your art. In relation to fashion it's about understanding what suits you, such as colourful & comfortable clothes that make you feel confident about yourself. What is in vogue might not necessarily be suited to your body type or self image. So it's better to combine things that leave more to the imagination and just complement your unique body shape. We are all created to have different tastes in food, clothes, music & much more. To me, style is all about being true to who you really are, not trying to be like anyone else but being humble enough to learn from others what you feel will add value to you.
What does a typical day look like for Temitayo?
On a typical day, I wake up early, greet God, thank Him for all the beautiful potentials that the day holds, I worship Him, read my rhapsody of realities, read my bible, pray and then I get up. After that I do some voice training which includes breathing exercises, running scales and singing some praise songs. I go on to do some light exercise of sit ups and flexibility and then I freshen up and get dressed up to look as fabulous as I want to look for that particular day. I attend fellowship with my family and other members of staff in our Strong Tower House complex between 9am - 11am most weekday mornings then I go and have breakfast, take my vitamins and go about my day. I work, I study and when I'm not doing that I'm in the studio working on my album or working out dance choreographies with my dancers for upcoming shows. Mostly I am working on my various dreams and visions, business ideas & shopping for the things I need.
How do you relax?
Well, when I'm outdoors, I love to see nice shows, visit friends, hang out at our favourite places, restaurants, go for beauty treatments at spas for facials, manicures, pedicures etc.
What should your fans expect from you in respect of your music?
As soon as Idols was over I went straight into the studio to start work on my album. I released a single called 'In your eyes' in Feb 2007 just in time for valentine's day. It was a single dedicated to all my fans as thanks for their love and support during and after idols and it was inspired by my love for all my spiritual brothers and sisters in the Little Saints Orphanage. Soon after that came the music video for the single which was well received and I have recently released another single called 'Kole le' which means 'It can't be hard'. Presently, I am making plans to shoot a video for that one before releasing my album. My fans can expect a variety of styles on my album from R&B to dancehall to soul. I want to give my fans different styles to enjoy because my versatility is my uniqueness. They can expect songs that will affect their emotions positively, turn their frown upside down, sadness to joy, anger to forgiveness, misunderstanding to understanding and much more, I want my music to remind them to feel the love they so greatly deserve to feel