Driven by the passion and love for not only music, J’lar sprinted her
way up the ladder. Coming into the spotlight, J’lars global debut
single, “SUGARCANE” is steaming hot with an exclusive video.
The Nigerian songstress who is signed on to CADILLY Entertainment
blasted onto the scene with her upbeat dance tune that is raving the
airwaves. Garnering lots of attention after few weeks of audio
RW: Let’s meet you!
My name is Ikechukwu Judith, my Stage name is J’lar, I am a beauty Queen. I won Miss Glo Rock & Rule Anambra State in 2011.
You are sure a new female in the industry with your hit track already blasting the airwaves in Sound City and other media houses, how was it for you getting here?
I won’t say am new in the industry though, I think I have been there. It started when I was little. I am from Anambra State Nigeria, from a family of eleven (mom and dad inclusive). I had my primary and secondary Education in Owerri and am Currently Studying English and Literature in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka.
At what point did you realize how good you are musically?
That will be around the age of 11-12 when I was still in the Secondary School. I do sing for my class mates, they all gather around me and beat on the desk giving me rhythm while I give them my voice, sometimes they will beg me to write songs for them like poem and all that, so I write and share it for the class and everybody will be so happy, right from then every body is always anticipating what is going to happen in the future and the future is now. While I was in secondary school I use to go to shows, they do call me for shows even though I might not get paid but you know everybody wants to hear my voice.
I know artists have different music they play, like Hip- Hop and R&b, how did you make the decision to say ok this is the kind of music I am good at?
When I started back then, I used to do songs of known r&b singers like Beyonce, I love her and I used to follow the train. I also like soul music. But I when I got officially in to the music industry, I realized that’s not what Nigerians wants to hear, so, I had to make something commercial that everybody can sing along to even a five year old girl and the out-come of that decision is my single hit track title “sugar cane”. You know, I just have to learn and blend into the market to sell and get my fans. So, what I will say I do right now is “naija pop” and also I won`t say my music is going to be base on that only because I can do reggae, and I l also rap though am not going to bring that part of me, right now am trying to build on hip hop.
Knowing that music industry in Nigeria is dominated by male artists, what plans do you have to be able to flow perfectly under the Condition?
Knowing that the music industry is dominated mainly by male artists, in my opinion will not affect me negatively rather it`s going to give me a positive edge. Sometimes when I see music collections on a CD plate and all the artists are basically male, and no single female artist, I will be like, why is this happening. So I think if am coming out there am not just coming out with my vocal am also coming out with my dance steps and that is what my “Sugar-cane” video is all about.
At what point did you start doing music professionally as an artist?
That was five months ago. I got signed to Cardly Entertainment and that’s where I will say professionally my music career started. Immediately I got signed I did my single, shot a video, and right now am going for shows and with time just a matter of time, very soon we will start our shows its just gradually.
What would you say is your reason for coming into the music industry?
you know I have my dreams and desire, the reasons I came into the music industry is not just to come here and make money, I am aspiring to do collaboration internationally with the likes of beyonce, Lil`wayne, Nicky Minaj and other top American artists. Is not a matter of just being a celebrity in Nigeria, I want to be out there to be able to affect lifes in the quality of music I produce. Am just five months in the industry and everything is already going well. So am looking forward to international collaboration, not just the one we will do and it will die out just like that but the one we will do and in every country you go to you will hear about this person and will hear about the song.
Do you have any album already?
I don’t have an album yet, am working towards that, like I told you earlier I am not just an R&B and a hip-hop singer. I can do reggae, I told you that before, so one thing about producing an album is not just to hit the market with an album filled with noisy kind of instrumental, you have to compliment it with other Jamz because you have to reach out to different crowd and different kinds of people. You have lovers of R&B, Reggae, soul and classic music. There are different people in the world and you don’t expect them to have just one interest. In my album it is going to be filled with varieties of which if you don’t like a particular track you will definitely like the next. So, that`s the way it should be.
Do you have any hit single?
Yea, I have a single title “sugar cane” featuring CJ mama and I shot a video about two months ago and is hitting waves right now, it`s being played on Sound City, radio Stations across Nigeria and all that, and am happy because my fans on face book, twitter and home are singing along and writing the lyrics, for me even though they might not be correct but I still love it at least they have this interest in it.
What`s your view about buddy shaking and nudity in musical videos?
We have video victims, their job is to appear in music videos, do what the director of the video wants them to do. It all depends. I will say because the people that are doing it are not being forced to do it and you can`t come out and tell somebody don’t do this.. I think is all about marketing and getting your crowd, if you shake plenty buddies on your videos you know there is a particular crowds that is going to watch it. Is not everybody that likes to watch things like that? So, for me, as a lady, am definitely not going to do that. In my sugar cane video there is nothing like that, Is just all about dancing, like I said its all depend, there is a kind of song that an artist will sing that require that kind of dancing, like if you do a Makosa song you don’t expect me to be just waving my hands and head you have to shake the hole body. So it all depends on the kind of music and the crowd you have in mind. That`s my opinion.
Where do you see yourself in the next one year from now?
In the next one year I see my album out and I see a large crowd appreciating it, I see a situation where I will release a single and within minute we have million viewers listening to it and also organizing concert, doing international collaboration and I see my record label Cardly as one of the top record label in Nigeria and beyond.
Music industry in Nigeria is dominated by mail artist, how do you plan to make the needed impact as a female artist?
Nigeria is not a country known for discrimination, I will say is not a matter of male dominating the music industry; I think is a matter of what female artists out there have to offer. You know, you can count how many female artist we have in Nigeria, very few of them, but as for male artist they are everywhere, I will say on uncountable. it’s a matter of time. I will keep saying that I don’t really know why the female artists are not pushing so hard; we have a few of them out there making it and am here to join them.
What I have is not just about the vocal is also about the body movement. Talking about a song, you can`t just be a singer and just be there singing as you are singing, you need to know the dance. So, am coming into the industry with full force. All my fans and the readers out there should watch out for J’Lar!
Which of the known artist in Nigeria will you like to have collaboration with?
I will love to have collaboration with 2face, chidimma, wizkid and Omawumi. These are the people am looking forward to working with, its not that I don’t want to work with the rest, we are not stopping anytime soon we have a long way to go and I have a full album to record but am talking about for a start and I know why am saying this, you know 2face kind of music and all the other artists I mention earlier, if you look at them, you see that they are totally different, that’s why am classifying it this way.
Lagos seems to control the entertainment industry in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, why is that?
Lagos is the call base for entertainment that’s the truth. Artist from all other parts of Nigeria and other African countries comes down to Lagos because this is where everybody knows that its happening and that’s not a lie that’s the truth. So the only way for us to change that ideology is for shows to be organize both in the eastern parts and northern parts of Nigeria as you can see most of the very famous shows we do are all in Lagos, so I think once in a while they should put it in other states you know, let it happen more there. Most artist if they want to lunch their album the will want to do it in Lagos though people will be like if we do it in other state we might not get the kind of crowd we want but don’t be surprise it might turn out to be more than you expect from Lagos here, it just that there are no opportunities for them to come down here so I think is a matter of migration, most of the entertainment shows here should be push down to other part of the country in order to make the people there feel belong.
How would you rate the performance of an artist independently and having to be under a particular record label?
it’s all depend on the kind of connection one has, if you are an artist like the likes of Davido , he started independently, he wasn’t signed in to a record label he has his own money, you know he has the connections and all that. He doesn’t really have to get signed to any record label, but for artist that don’t have any information about the market out there the best thing for them is to get sign to a record label because the record label will give them the right management, and will take them places because they already have the connections
What is your advice to upcoming artist out there be it male or female?
if you really have a dream of becoming a performing artist in Nigeria you can’t just sit back there and expect the miracle to happen , so the best thing is that the media houses are there, radio stations are there, clubs, shows, I think is a matter of exposure the more you go to club you meet people like am here now I have met a lot of people I never knew existed and now they are going to contribute to my career positively so it’s a matter of going out there making the connection meeting people, going to radio stations, meeting friends you know I think the music industry in Nigeria works more based on friendship than the money because sometimes you give a PR or someone out there to help you push out something and they will squander the money without doing what you want, but if you have a friend or somebody that knows you then things can work differently in a positive way.
Can we have the link to your hit track on YouTube so your fans can see your video?
Here`s my YouTube link to Sugar-Cane : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfXV82PRdJU&feature=youtu.be
RW: Thank you for your time in this special interview. We at Rhodiesworld wish you and your record label the very best.