AS THE WORLDWIDE CELEBRATED LOVE, DENOTED WITH THE red COLOUR, IT WAS INDEED A BLACK DAY AS REPORTS OF THE DEATH OF POPULAR POP SINGER, GOLDIE HARVEY, HIT HOME HARD, LEAVING MOST of HER LOVED ones AND FANS SHATTERED, WRITES Lanre Odukoya and ADA IGBOANUGO
Full of life, Adebimpe Susan Filani, known by all as Goldie Harvey lit up the room anywhere she appeared. Growing up in a family where music was virtually the only bright spot in a tripartite existence that revolved round home, school and church, it did not come as much surprise that she chose to be a singer, songwriter and performer.
According to a source, if it was to give vent to a childhood social denial, available indices indicated that Goldie was making a resounding success of her career choice. If it was to prove to her hitherto unbending dad that her sometimes-rebellious streak as a teen was just a quest for her true essence, she has equally succeeded. And everybody must indeed be very proud of this young lady because less than five years into her musical odyssey, the crown of Nigeria’s pop diva now nestle snugly on her golden name.
Indeed, in the case of talent and passion, the apple does not fall too far away from the tree. Goldie was born in 1983 to very educated and successful parents – her mum, late Mrs. Olabisi Betty from the illustrious Olaiya family in Ijebu, Ogun State was a former managing director in a bank, while her dad, a native of Ikole-Ekiti, Ekiti State, also retired as a director in a new generation bank. He is now into full time clerical works in Lagos. The first of four kids, Goldie’s education began at the Green Springs Montessori Primary School and then St. John’s College, Palm Grove, Lagos where Christian Religious Knowledge, she said, was her favourite subject because she didn’t have to study too hard to pass it. In fact, by the age of 10, she already knew so many bible verses that belied her age.
According to the late singer, “My childhood was very interesting, but regimented. My dad was a leader in church and very active too while my mum used to lead the choir. So, as their first child, I took very active roles in all church activities – drama, choir, bible classes and so on. Church was the only social life we had. On Mondays, we went for bible classes; Wednesdays were for prayer meetings and then one Friday in a month, we went for vigil. I never had toys or friends because my father thought they would lead me astray.” Thus, her mum was her closest friend. However, the bond that held mother and daughter together snapped irretrievably in 1994.
Losing her mum was devastating for the 31-year old. Goldie described her mum as a woman of high intellectual and moral values. “She was the first to have a scholarship in her family. She was an avid reader and had a lot of certificates and degrees.” Every night, when every other person had gone to bed, Goldie and her mum would stay up chitchatting and watching television. She was the only friend Goldie had. But she died too soon after a long-drawn battle with cancer, leaving behind four kids. “It was a traumatic experience for me especially, because it was like losing my only friend and confidant. I cried bitterly and even up till now, over a decade later, the pain of her demise has not left me.” Goldie was however consoled by the equivalent replacement that she had described as God-sent. A movie buff and avid reader, when Goldie was not in the comfort of her home, she was making good music at the Kennis Music Studio. Though a nocturnal person, you can hardly find Goldie at Nightclubs because she believes in channelling such hours into creative engagements.
Since her emergence onto the pop culture radar few years ago, Goldie cut large swaths through the fields of musical accomplishments; exemplifying a special conception of musical heroine who can say or show anything while providing a view of the bold, confrontational and liberated woman. Colourful and cerebral, Goldie’s musical strength and depth, sensuality and serenity have appropriated her as the high water mark that other female singers have to live up to. Adding to the fact that the multiple awards-winning singer had created a smouldering, public persona that borders on the eccentric and eclectic, otherwise creative and precise, but engaging enough to keep you talking about her. Despite the mixed reactions to her musical style and outré outlook, Goldie fitted perfectly into the role of Nigeria’s most consistent female performer of the moment.
A prodigious kid with a strong flair for the arts and everything creative, Goldie drew sketches of anything that caught her fancy, while growing up but whenever her dad saw her drawing, he would tear it, asking rather erroneously how many people have achieved outstanding success in arts. This however did not deter the blithely ambitious young lady from wanting to give vent to her dreams because like the cliché goes, music expresses that, which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent. Goldie had found music through the prism of divas like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Toni Braxton. And even at that age, she was already learning the style and nuances of pop; even emulating Braxton’s style of keeping her side burns oiled.
At that time too, it had become pretty obvious that Goldie was an embryonic diva. According to her, “I’d been flirting with music all my life. I don’t remember exactly how old but I was incredibly young when I knew that I’d go into some form of entertainment. Everybody who knew me back then knew that I could sing because I was always singing in school or church; I’ve always had that artistic flair.” So, when she got to the UK where she had been admitted to study Business Management at the University of Sunderland, she and a couple of friends formed an informal group which performed for friends and family. The group even did a couple of demos, which never really made it out.
Interestingly, Goldie’s return to Nigeria in the mid-2000s did not quite signal an immediate take-off for her career. Rather, she concentrated on building her date-reminder services business. In the course of this, she needed to do a jingle and was introduced to Mani of Cool FM who bowled her over with his production aplomb. They talked about music and what they’d like to achieve. The young lady evinced unadulterated passion and determination, which prompted Mani to introduce her to industry players. Then, she met renowned producer, OJB Jezreel who would produce her first single, Komole. This was followed by three other singles Spin Me, Nothing has Changed, and Shift, which all formed part of her compilation CD.
Since then, there has been no stopping her. Through the turbulence, drudgery and seeming imperviousness of the music industry, Goldie held her own, talent for talent, and creativity for creativity. After a tentative management deal in 2009, Goldie was signed on to Nigeria’s foremost music label, Kennis Music in 2010.
A few months later, she released her debut album, Gold, which given Nigerians’ apathy towards pop music, had and is still being a critical success. The album exudes the audacity and flamboyance of Goldie, and had spewed a couple of provocative, smart, and infectious videos. ‘You Know It’, ‘JawoJawo’ and ‘DTMB (Don’t Touch My Body).’ The three songs are now certified street anthems with increasing followership. “For me, the clothing, the props, and the creative direction must be properly coordinated because I want my fans to have very specific imagery in their head when they’re listening to the music and watching the accompanying video.” The late diva had said at the time.
Continuing, she said, “Entertainment as a whole has gone visual. The best way to sell yourself and your music is to make a video… I will say for the record though, that I love shooting music videos, that’s one of the highlights of being in my profession; I like bringing my fantasies to life. A good music video is just one of the many ways to do this.” Little wonder, the video for ‘You Know it’ won the best female video at the 2010 Sound City Music Video Awards and also picked the award for best use of costume at the Nigerian Music Video Awards; while DTMB picked up best Afro Pop video at the 2011 Nmva’s.
Taking a break from her musical career, Goldie took a bold step to venture into the last season of the biggest TV show in Africa, Big Brother Africa. She arrived looking her usual signature defined self which led her to be nicknamed the ‘Lady Gaga’ of Nigeria’. Her first week in the house found her on the rather unusually quiet side for her kind of character. She later regained composure and found bearing. But then that led to the revelation of her soft spot much to the amazement of her hometown base, Nigerians. She cried a lot for anything and everything. Some viewers found it adorable and sweet, other annoying.
Her housemates however found it dramatic and a tactic and her conspiracy scheme to gain pity from her viewers to vote her to stay in. Fights, yelling and malice weren’t far from what she exhibited. Indeed her real self. Amidst the drama she had to keep and put up with, Goldie however found love in such as hopeless a place as the BBA house. Jackson “Prezzo” Makini of Kenya became her one true love and they both formed a bond, despite snide behaviour and remarks that would eventually continue outside the BBA house. She was her happiest at that moment of her life and proudly portrayed him wherever she went following the aftermath of the show in which she became the final celebrity to exit the BBA7 star game house in 2012 as the 3rd runner up.
…And the Sad News
At 11pm Thursday 14, 2013, tweets had started to circulate about Goldie’s death. Following the source, Lindaikeji.blogspot.com who had the exclusive news, claimed she was called by Derenle Edun who happens to be Goldie’s best and closest friend, revealing that Goldie had died in his arms at the hospital. By the following morning a press statement by her Management and Record Label, Kennis Music, was issued confirming what we feared and hoped was but a rumour- her death which apparently happened shortly after her arrival from the US.
“On behalf of Kennis Music, I’m sad to officially confirm the shocking and untimely passage of Nigeria’s pop star, Goldie Harvey. With a deep sense of loss, we announce the shocking death of our darling music star, Goldie Harvey.
Goldie died on Thursday after she complained of a severe headache at her Park View residence shortly after her arrival from the United States where she went to witness the Grammy Award. She was rushed to her official hospital, Reddington, Victoria Island, Lagos, where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.
We consider this period a gloomy moment for us and the entire Nigerian music industry in view of the circumstance Goldie passed away, the abundance of talent she has exhibited in her but eventful music career and the various opportunities her trip to the United States of America would have availed her. Her father, step-mother, brothers and sisters survive her. We deeply sympathise with her family and fans all over the world and very grateful to all and sundry, especially, the vibrant Nigerian media for their concern and prompt reportage. We shall keep everybody informed as events unfold as we are still devastated by the sudden loss.”
Accolades/Praises for Goldie
Goldie was not just a name but a brand that had since carved a niche for herself as a leading African Female pop Diva. Goldie had in the past year grabbed a total of ten (10 awards) including Exquisite Lady of the year (ELOY) Best Female Artiste award and City People Best Female Artiste of the year. She was also inducted as a Federal Celebrity Special Marshal alongside other notable Nigerian Celebrities. The Law Students Society of the Obafemi Awolowo University (O.A.U) recently issued her an Award for Musical Excellence under the category of Best Female Artiste of the Year. She had also been conferred a United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace by the Federal Government.
The remains of Goldie have been deposited in the mortuary of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja Lagos. The shock of her death shook the entire music industry and reactions were exhibited on various forms of social media. Celebrities, artistes paid final rights and tributes to her on online platforms, in grief. But most especially her best friend Derenle Edun whom they were in fact planning a TV show together, has since been left devastated as he turned off his phone to avoid intruding calls. Things would never be the same for a while and we can only wait for who else would take the lead in the Pop