I GET EASILY ATTRACTED TO STRONG WOMEN–SASHA
Yetunde Alabi, popularly known as Sasha, is an undergraduate of the University of Lagos, where she is studying law. She is also a rap artiste and fashion designer. She recently performed alongside Kelly Rowland, Shakira and other international stars at the THISDAY Music Festival. In this interview with SAMUEL OLATUNJI she, as is often the case with her, held nothing back about her music and passion.
You came out charging in your new single 'Adara' as if you have a point to prove.
I think everything I was trying to achieve was said in the song and that is the whole essence of the video. I hope that, by watching, people would know what we were trying to say.
What about those who have not watched the video?
My advice to them would be to go and watch it. Adara is basically about my experience in the music industry.
What about those negative reports that you can't surpass 'Emi Ma Legan', your first single?
I talked about things that I've heard and what I feel (in the song).
When will the album be ready?
We are looking at sometime in the month of August. When we are ready everybody will know about it.
What has been keeping you busy of late?
I have a lot of things I am involved with, one of such was the THISDAY Music Festival, and there is the Girl Power Tour, which we are doing in the whole of August. Also, I am getting ready for the new album.
Next month would be a tight month then.
Yes, a very tight month. I have a lot of things still under wraps; I am still young and agile.
You use Yoruba lyrics in your songs, is that what we shall see in your new album?
It will be quite sad if all my songs sound alike, so, the answer to that is no. But as a Yoruba girl, how else do you know where I come from if you don't get to hear and see me reflect Yoruba language in my songs? I speak a little of pidgin, so all my song don't sound alike.
Why did you title your album First Lady?
It is because I thought that is the most appropriate title for my album. It is a symbol of respect, confidence and it is feminine. It means as a woman, I am not limited by being a woman; I have confidence and believe in my ability. When you hear it what comes to mind is the symbol of respect and power.
People are saying you were trying to say you are the first among the female rappers with that title.
If they ask me, I will tell them exactly what I have just told you; there is nothing you will say in this world that people would not read meaning to. You have asked me what First Lady means and I have told you. It can mean a lot of different things to so many other people. What I just told you now is what it means from my perspective. I am not competing with anybody.
Will your tight schedule not affect your academic work?
It is not affecting me because I am in school during the day and that is not when we do most of the shows. And mind you, I have been coping all this while without my career getting in the way of my school.
Is it affecting your grades?
It is not. I have been coping like I told you and you don't need to be a musician to have bad results. There are so many people doing nothing yet they come out with bad results. I am okay with my result.
Can you tell us what your result is?
It is none of your business. I have a right to my privacy.
How long have you been singing professionally?
I rap, most importantly that is what I do and professionally, I have been singing for six years now.
Why did you go for rap?
I think talents are given, not that I decided that of all the beautiful things let me go on to rap. That is my God-given talent and that's why I am into it.
What was growing up like?
For me, growing up was quite interesting until recently when I realised that I grew up in a very liberal family. I was always allowed to speak my mind and this is something that I find very valuable and I think, it is a foundation for who I am today. I am able to say my mind about anything wherever I go. I am a part of the Girl Power Unleashed project because it is about women liberation.
Tell us more about your background?
I am from Ekiti State. I am the last of eight children. I went to four primary schools. I am currently in my final year at the University of Lagos, studying law. I come from a Christian home. I write for a magazine, I sing and I design. I am well grounded.
There is a vast difference between law and music
Well, for so long a lot of people have been asking why music and why law. I found out that the foundation of this is very simple. These two areas give you voice and because I have always wanted to make a difference in my generation, as a lawyer, I am able to do that, to defend other people. And as an artiste I am able to share my experience with other people. For me they are very similar, it is the manner of application that differs.
What can you say is your unique selling point?
I think it is God and my 'sharp mouth' because I am not afraid to say my mind and that seems to be the most important thing to me.
Who are your role models?
I have so many role models. Recently I have been admiring Oprah Winfrey basically because she is an epitome of the woman that I want to be. I want to be a force to be reckoned with. I easily draw influence from people that are talented; I look up to people that do many things at the same time and are good at them. I am challenged by their success and I use that as a yardstick for myself. I love others like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Condoleezza Rice, all the women that are strong, I get easily attracted to them.
What are the challenges that you have faced?
The biggest is that Nigerians don't appreciate artistes as much as it is done abroad. I have been to other countries and I have discovered that the way they appreciate me in other countries, I have not been appreciated like that in Nigeria.
If you were not a rap artiste, what would you have been doing?
If I wasn't rapping, I'd probably be into management, managing artistes, grooming them the way they should be groomed so as to install confidence in themselves.
Tell us about your fashion designer side
I run a fashion outfit known as Eclectric. I do my clothes myself. I have a tailor that I have been working with, I cut and I design.
Don't you think that will affect your career?
Not really, because I go around, people see me and tell me that what I am putting on is fantastic and it makes me happy.