By Tope Olukole
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She is the kind you would call 'a real woman'. She knows how to stay close to her diehard fans. She emerged in 1984, and has maintained a slow and steady career that has had its share of the up and down of life, but has never gone completely cold.

Revealing her new move in the music industry recently to Weekend Ride, Stella Ada-Monye, going down the memory lane of her career, said, “I started as a theatre artiste and was soon discovered by Prof. Akin Euba, the then Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Lagos, who also happened to be a musicologist.”

Immediately, there came an opportunity for an extensive tour of Europe. She, along with other theatre artistes, went on a 24-state tour of Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland. The main destination was the Horizonte World Festival of Arts and Culture.

“I played the important role of Oya, Sango's wife, in a dance drama that was truly Nigerian. I came back from the tour to start a career in music and waxed an album titled Mr. Right,” she told Weekend Ride.

Her infectious smile, a refreshing style, coupled with a powerful vocal ability made Oko mi ye, her hit single, enjoy extensive air-play and also announced to Nigerians and Africans in the diaspora that a new talent had arrived.

Her next album, Samba, still captivated her audience. The song not only showcased the depth, range and sheer force of her deep sonorous voice, it also earned her the title 'Samba Queen' – a title she thought was distasteful and which she later discarded. She moved on to record other albums like Change of Heart, One Nation, and I Believe. These were not celebrated like the first two albums. Her consistent crisis with her record labels and other distractions played a major role in making her career creep.

“In 2004, I took a break from music (but not from stardom) to join an Apapa-Lagos based Foundation to do social service. It was quite an eventful period for me. The Foundation gave me the golden opportunity to engage in human rights activities via music. Three years later, I quit after recording an album. The album was a complete labour of love ,” said Stella.

“It is a time to look into my history, my experiences, background; to see where I am coming from as an artiste who feels she has more to do. I know I have more to offer than being a mere artiste. I am doing new things to broaden people's awareness of what I can do and for people to see the other side of me that I have kept private. I hate to be pigeon-holed,” she declared

What about her love life?
“Is there anything like that?” She responded, Awa ti di iya n dagbe, baba n yo wa (roughly translated: We have become 'mama lives alone; papa sneaks in to visit). I still remain single even at over 40 years of age. Though there are occasional visits by my 'main guy', marriage is ruled out of any relationship with me.” She said emphatically. Stella Monye, who is currently on height of her musical career, said, “This is the second phase of my musical career and Outburst, my next album that will be launched in Ibadan in April this year, will speak volume of my new beginning,” she boasted.