Stellar actress ‘Omo Sexy’ stays busy with a hit reality show, new album and foundation.
Words: Dennis Malcolm Byron & Reginald Brooks
Launching a full-blown legitimate music career is an extremely desirable profession but the odds of achieving mass success in the commercial music market have forever been very, very slim. Fortunately for Omotola, her existing celebrity status gives her a running start to such an ambitious endeavor. Omotola and her team however, were not banking on a chance encounter with Jermaine Dupri during their visit to Atlanta. They instead engaged with The Bridge PR, a global firm headed by Julia Huie-Martin to devise their stay. Key appointments were set with radio personnel and Grammy award-winning hit-makers, in addition to other essential visits to the gym and a luxurious dentist visit you’ll read about later. Any unfinished business will have to wait until Omotola’s return visit to Atlanta when she hosts the launch of the newly established IMC Magazine, a stylish online publication dedicated to the global entertainment industry. The publication comes in conjunction with the International Music Conference and is ahead of the event’s 3rd annual showing later in 2013. The conference attracts artists like Omotola from all over the globe, offering endless opportunities to network, connect, and collaborate with some of the industry’s most devoted music professionals.
Certain individuals simply have that aura of stardom when they walk into a room. Okay, sure, the Nigerian-born Omotola Jolade Ekiende has starred in more than 250 major films, won numerous awards for her acting, and is about to concentrate on her singing career working with some of the biggest producers in the music industry. She’s already had meetings and some studio time with hit-makers, Drumma Boy, Kendrick Dean, and Nate Walka, all while being 16 flying hours away from her West African residence. As she walked into the ritzy Cantina Mexican restaurant in the upscale business district of Atlanta’s Buckhead region for a lunch interview, diners stare as two cameramen document her every move.
Making her way to a table in a private room for her interview, Omotola cannot escape her celebrity qualities: tall in a fitted red leather outfit, tall-heeled black stilettos, curly hair that was blown out to further flaunt the pride of her homeland, and overall brown skin beauty. “I just came from one of the most fabulous dentists,” she said. “All kinds of celebrities were on the wall, they massage your hands and everything! It was like a spa. I could have been there all day!” And she should yearn for the chance to relax. As a highly sought-after star not only in Nollywood—the nickname for Nigeria since the country is cranking out more films than virtually every other country including the U.S.—but globally, Omotola is a world traveler thanks to her current new reality show Omotola: The Real Me that has millions of pairs of eyes from 46 African countries glued to the television set to see where she is going to end up next. Hence relaxing at a spa for the whole day—even if it’s a posh dental hygienist office for a routine checkup—would be ideal. “I make sure I get my hours of sleep in; I try to get 8 hours a day,” Omotola says as she sips a cranberry juice and dips a tortilla chip in guacamole. “But with all of the travel, my show filming me everywhere I go, and now my music career, every hour is invaluable.”
Omotola is not dropping everything in the acting business, but she feels it is time to commit a lot of her time to promoting the second official album after her critically acclaimed platinum-selling debut in 2006 titled Gba. Disclosing how she is the epitome of the cliché “you are your own worst critic,” Omotola aka Omo Sexy reflected, “After my first album, I recorded another one, but I didn’t feel like it best represented my talent so I stopped its release. I didn’t think it was exactly what I wanted.” Now, after collaborating with a number of big time producers for her Me, Myself and Eyes project, Omotola plans on recording more tracks for particularly the American market. As mentioned, she has met with several Atlanta-based musicians who are no strangers to the most popular Billboard charts. Her time with Kendrick Dean, who recently received a Grammy nomination for his work on Tyrese’s Open Invitation, was spent laying down vocals on an island flavored R&B record that could end up as a duet featuring a rising Def Jam recording artist. Nate Walka. Bobby V, Jon Jon Traxx, Planet VI (AKA Rock City), and Drumma Boy popped in the studio as well, mostly to vibe, listen to tracks, and talk about the direction for the new album. Omotola vows to make a record filled with content not only making you dance but to also make the listener think, she continued, “This album feels right and will incorporate everything from soul to rock. I am very happy with it.” Consequently, the finished record will attribute recognizable influence by Omotola’s love of musical greats, Beyoncé and Phil Collins.
Although she is doing one heck of a juggling act balancing her filming career with her reality show, running the Omotola Ekiende Initiative for Youth Empowerment, and further developing her singing career, Omotola’s eyes lit up when she discussed her four children and husband of 16 years. “Atlanta is a great city; it is more balanced than the fast-paced New York or LA where everyone is a star, but I can’t wait to go back home to Nigeria and see my family.” Evidently, with everything going on in her life in addition to that aforementioned aura of stardom wherever she goes, Omotola has her priorities in line and stays grounded – even she is high above the clouds globetrotting on a mission to share her gifts with the world. Clearly, Omotola is enormously successful and she is proving to be all in when it comes to creating equal success in the American music market. Such success for the Nigerian entertainer shouldn’t seem too unlikely. English singer Adele has proven her dominance in the United States and has subsequently become one of the biggest selling artists in the world at the moment. An African songstress could soon prove her dominance as well.
Hear Omotola’s new Me, Myself and Eyes tracks on her website, www.omotola.tv.