Niniola Apata is many things weaved into one. Known for her energetic dance moves, the 32- year-old musician tells ERIC DUMO why she left the teaching profession for the entertainment industry
You were born and raised in Lagos, what was that early period of your life like?
It was so much fun as I was raised in the same house with my brothers, sisters, cousins and others. We played pranks, engaged ourselves in fights, laughed and did several other things together. It was fun.
You attended a secondary school owned by your father. How was it like studying there?
My late father owned the school. With the way my father brought us up, there was no special treatment as he was a disciplinarian and wouldn’t accept anything less. So, as it was his school, he was still very firm with us.
Looking back today, what aspects of your childhood would you say you miss the most?
I guess that will be the good times I had with my father because I was his favourite child and I got all I wanted. No one could ever lay a finger on me back in those days.
Before embracing music, what ambitions did you nurse?
I worked as a teacher for a while. I taught during my teaching practice at Clegg Girls Secondary School, Lagos and I had so much fun with the girls before going to my dad’s school where I became a supervisor for a couple of years before music eventually took hold of me.
Were there any kind of objections from your parents and other family members when you decided that you wanted to do music as a career?
Well, you know back then every parent wanted their kid to be a banker, lawyer, engineer, etc., so there was some kind of objection from my mother. But when she realised that I wasn’t backing down, she had to support me.
What inspires your kind of music?
Well, naturally I am a ballad singer but for the love I have for dancing, I decided to do dance music. But once in a while, I cater to my RnB fans.
For my music, I get inspiration from other people’s experiences, ‘gist’ from my friends or my own experiences.
As an undergraduate, how much of social activities like parties did you engage in? Or were you the type that stuck to books?
Well, a lot of people don’t know that I am an introvert. So, as a result of this, I never really partied or hung out. Most of the time, I was into my books.
So you still consider yourself to be an introvert?
Yes, I am still an introvert but people don’t know because they see me on stage dancing and doing all that. But after that, I am back to my cave.
At what point did you first have a real love relationship?
I guess that was when I was in university.
Are you considering marriage anytime soon or taking your time to toe that path?
My private life stays private.
How do you pamper yourself when you have the time to do so?
I only do that whenever I am outside the country because I have a level of freedom there.
For you, what does a typical weekend look like?
I am a boring person, so if I am not cooking, playing games on my phone or making wigs, I would be sleeping or recording a song.
How often do you shop for new fashion items?
Anytime I get the time to or whenever I see new stuff that I like.
Between mobile gadgets and jewellery, which are you a fan of the most?
Jewellery, of course.
Are there favourite destinations you love to spend your holidays?
Well, I like to visit anywhere with great scenery, that is peaceful and quiet.
What local Nigerian cuisine can’t you do without tasting in a week?
None really because I don’t like to eat the same things every time.
Do you still find the time to go into the kitchen to prepare a special meal for yourself?
Yes, I do. I cook every day.
What type of cars do you have a flair for the most?
I like sport-utility vehicles. I like SUVs because of space; they give me room to turn the back to another makeup/dressing room.
Was there any specific advice that your parents gave you that has lived with you till this day?
Yes, they told me to always be satisfied with what I have.
What are the things you think fame has robbed you of?
Nothing actually because I am still the same person and I still do anything I want to do.
What do you do to keep fit and maintain your amazing shape?
I watch what I eat and I work out regularly especially upper body exercises.
Do you have a stylist that dresses you or do you do that yourself?
Most of the time, I dress myself but sometimes I engage a stylist to have a second look or opinion.