WHY I DROPPED LAW FOR MUSIC – ZAINA
WHY I DROPPED LAW FOR MUSIC – ZAINA
Her real name is Zainab Agoro; fans know her as ZAINA, but her close friends and family call her ‘Zizi’. JAMES SILAS caught up with her within the week, to ask some of the questions music fans and enthusiasts would like to know about her. The modish singer obliged and shared details about her family, personal life, music career, as well as her love for Hip-hop and rap music. Enjoy the excerpts.
Describe Zaina – away from music and the cameras.
Zaina away from the music and the cameras is mostly who close friends and family call Zizi. She’s quite playful, laid back, a bit of a tomboy, and simple. In the sense that I’m pretty much your average girl doing everyday things. I love good food, so I often go grocery shopping alone, I drive myself around most of the time. Hang out with my parents a lot; I’m very self-sufficient, I also do my own hair quite often and little things like that. I can be quite introverted but apparently I’m quite funny (so they say). So, I’m often having a good time with whoever I’m around. All in all Zaina outside of music and the cameras is the same Zaina but without the ‘glitz’ and ‘glam’.
Give us an insight into your background
I am a Lagosian from Lagos Island, Idumota to be exact and second from a family of five. I was born in the US, raised there mostly and went to boarding school in the UK. I finished college in US studying Law. My childhood was great, I grew up with a lot of laughs and great memories of my grandparents, cousins, extended family etc. I was fortunate enough to travel a lot too growing up so I was very exposed to different cultures and people. I also began a modeling career at age five, so I was a little bit familiar with entertainment.
At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to do music, considering the fact that you read law?
I knew I wanted to do music as early as 16. Being that I was modeling in my youth, I knew my interest was mostly in music more than anything else. So, I began making a slow transition towards music.
Do you miss modeling?
As a female artist you’re always modeling anyway. So, I’d say – no I don’t. Now I can ‘model’ being myself and doing what I love verses modeling to fit the canvas of someone else so to speak.
A lot of female artists believe, that their male counterparts are more favored than them. What is your take on this?
I’m not sure I would say they are more favored. However, I do believe men have a bit more of an edge mainly because our society is a lot more patriarchal. There’s also the fact that, they are almost tripled in numbers throughout the industry, compared to women. So it’s natural that you will find men being able to bond and communicate on the same frequency and faster with other men, which helps the business side to move seamlessly.
What informed your decision to return to Nigeria, especially after you’ve worked closely with someone like Teddy Riley in America?
Moving back home wasn’t really a decision so to speak. I always felt like I was away on a contract or extended boarding school, and when my time was up; I’d come back home. Soon as I finished school, worked a bit – explored the terrain. Nevertheless, I make the most out of any environment I’m in, so working with Teddy Riley, being in the music industry and exploring all avenues in the US was a part of my making ‘the most of it’.
You auditioned for project fame in 2003, what lesson did you take home after that experience?
I’m not sure if this Zaina did the audition (laughs), but, I did audition for American Idol in Atlanta GA. The lesson I learned from that, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again’
Would you like to share some of the things you’ve learnt in Nigeria’s music industry, that no one told you before you stepped into the scene?
Every day I’m learning new things, but mostly I’ve learned that you have to be more self-motivated than you’ve ever been before. Be ready to learn every single aspect of the business and flexible enough to wear different hats. It’s a relationship based industry so maintaining good professional relationship is very important in having a successful career.
As an investor in the music business, how profitable has it been for you?
I’m grateful I can survive and take care of myself solely based off of my career in music. There is a lot of room for improvement and profit, so I would say it’s a lucrative venture and I look forward to better results.
What new stuffs are you working on presently?
I’ve been working on quite a lot of materials. I’m gearing up to release new music and one or two collaborations will be coming out soon as well.
You actually have a scandal-free career, or do we need to research further?
I’ll get back to you (laughs)
How much support do your parents give to your career?
All the support in their power. They are with me every step of the way
Didn’t they bulge when they realized you were not going to use your Law certificate after school?
They knew from before I graduated high school, what I wanted to do, so it didn’t come as a surprise.
How easy is it, to keep your personal life away from your celebrity life?
We should ask my scandal free persona (laughs). It’s not easy at all to be honest, it takes an actual effort. You can’t just make impulsive decisions and do whatever you want to do otherwise you stand the risk of having your privacy exposed. Therefore, if you value your privacy you have to go out of your way to separate the two lives. That’s challenging as the two constantly overlap and intertwine.
How far are you from releasing your first album?
Hmm… I can’t give a date right now, but it’s something I do work towards every time I record a new song. So within a year I’d say
You also seem to be very expressive, fashion-wise, tell us about it.
I am, very much so! My fashion sense is an extension of my personality which is already very enigmatic. So you will often see me in ‘contradictory’ looks. Today a fitted, Chuck Taylors, jeans and a Tee. Tomorrow high heels, Ankara skirt, and a print top. I love clothes that feel good, look good, and express my mood. Fashion is an expression, so that is the other way I best express myself, but I do love kicks, maxi dresses, and jeans, so, people may catch me in that more often than anything else
I heard you like Hip-hop music, does that mean you can write and perform a rap song?
I am hip-hop. I love hip-hop. I grew up on hip-hop. I almost love it more than singing, but, hip-hop is cultural so it’s more that rap or wearing a big gold chain… and yes – I most definitely can write and perform a rap song. Since rap wasn’t the talent I was first aware of, I never dived into it, and I only loved and appreciated it. If I was to rap, it would only be around friends and playfully (we used to have freestyle battles all the time). More recently I started infusing rap into my actual performances by opening my sets singing known rap songs, such as Notorious B.I.G’s Juicy. It looks like I will be introducing more of my hip-hop side into my music very soon. So, stay tuned.
What are the things or one thing, you need your fans to know about you, that they don’t already know?
There’s so much to know I can’t even begin to say. The only way to know is for us to communicate more often, so they should feel free to holler at me on twitter, IG, and anywhere. Let’s have a good laugh.
James Silas is a creative writer and Managing Director of Jarmzone Entertainment. He is also a columnist at Thisday Newspaper. Before that, James was an Editor at Hip Hop World Magazine. Asides writing, he a media consultant and runs a photography outfit, called CliQ By JamJam – see www.cliqbyjamjam.com