The phrase ‘impossible is nothing’ would hold no water if everyone who has ever achieved something chose to talk rather than act. Irrespective of how fertile a soil is, there will be no harvest if no seed is sown. Every day we listen to loads of good songs on the radio, and though we are aware that they are outputs of lengthy studio sessions, it actually transcends that. Every track conjured is a combination of passion, love, communication, entertainment, and consistency. Nigerian artistes are breaking forth, the females especially, are evening the odds in their favor. It is in this regard that NINIOLA APATA makes an expressive impression. The performer, her voice, and her fire: the budding harvest from our green pasture. This beautiful singer’s heart ranks among the best this year.
Savvy magazine caught up with the MARADONA and IBADI crooner and she maintained such patience that reflects in her music career while letting us into her world; the flip side too. As an introvert, she belongs to the group of few individuals who are intrinsically motivated, although she makes conscious efforts to adjust in other to meet up with the demands of the industry. She described herself as a fun loving person who loves to sing and dance. Like that’s not obviously why we love her. What we didn’t know however is that she is an indigene of a city that has a fountain of knowledge running through it (Ekiti) and a resident of the hustle (Lagos) city; it says it all, she is Made in Naija.
Who are your musical influences? Here and across the pond?
I have a lot. Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Maria Carey, Angelique Kidjo, Kenny Rogers, Shakira, Brandy and several significant others.
What was your first big break into the Naija music scene?
I don’t know if I should say MTN project fame or when I released my debut single IBADI which I practically performed everywhere. I would say it was IBADI because the reception was amazing and the love I felt gave me hope.
When asked about the groundbreaking collaborations of Naija artistes with international acts with the current wave in Afro beats, she expressed with every sense of fulfillment great joy but added insightfully that Nigerian artiste must do everything positive to retain their identity because that’s why the world loves them.
“A while back, Eve (Ruff Ryders) posted a video of herself vibing and singing my song SICKER on her Instagram page and that made me so happy. It’s amazing how music crosses borders. Afro beats. That is what we know how to do and we must leave it as original as it is.” That’s something to ponder on.
Niniola singled out Beyoncé as the international she would love to work with, “we would kill in a video together, we both possess massive energy.” She laughed then strongly stated when asked her opinion about the females in the industry, “one thing I can tell you is we are getting stronger, it’s never easy for the ladies but our desire to succeed keeps us going. And I believe with time you will see more of us. Just watch!” We are watching, aren’t we?
Speaking of femininity, we love your bold, sultry style of music and fashion. What is one piece of African inspired clothing, accessory etc.? That you can’t do without?
That will be my belt.
It’s been a big year for you, we love Maradona: when did you know things were going to get bigger for you?
I never saw it coming but thanks to my team, they got me ready and the second it happened we were there to pick it. We got to the studio and 20mins into production my manager said to me that’s your next single. When Sarz was done, I voiced. Sarz liked it and BOOM it happened. We released it and everywhere went crazy even till now I get messages from several people sending in videos and all. We just Thank God
Her journey from emerging as the 3rd runner-up in the MTN PROJECT FAME Season 6 till date paints the picture of a stream that flows through rocks and sands in a bid to expand. She currently owns an album (THIS IS ME) to her name and still has the street grooving to all our singles. Niniola’s tale is that which warms our heart with truth and courage. It strengthens our resolve about perseverance. Her final words were “Never give up and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible. Hard work always pays.”
Here’s wishing Niniola the best for the years ahead.