Aramide Sarumoh is a multi-award-winning Nigerian Afro-soul/jazz artiste. An indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State, she discovered her talents of singing and writing as a teenager and decided to nurture them. After secondary education, she learned to play the saxophone and guitar. In this interview with Tosin Clegg she talks about her career, background and the future 

I am Aramide

A singer, songwriter and guitarist; I play saxophone once in a while and I’m a happy person. I would say music has always been my passion from day one. As the only girl in the family, I found a way to play with myself and that’s how music started for me. I started my music way back in Jos, Plateau State. 

My Music is called, Afro soul

Afro soul is a fusion of African music and language with soul music, basically. When I say African music, I mean the instruments like the talking drum which gives core soul music. I started my career like five years ago when I moved down to Lagos. I was signed to Trybe Records and after my contract was over, I became an independent artiste for a year before I got signed to Baseline. It’s been amazing with them so far and they have supported me. I have an album under the label called, Suitcase. It’s been a great journey with them and I released the album with them in November last year.

My music is always soulful

Whether it’s fast or slow, it always has that soulful vibe and I have a song called, Feeling This Feeling, which was the beginning of my venture into commercial music and with soul music to make it appealing to everybody. From there, I did a song called, ‘Iwo Nikan’ and ‘Love Me’ featuring Adekunle Gold and ‘Fun mi lowo’. I am really happy about the acceptance of ‘Fun mi lowo’ and for this song, I wrote a song people can relate to, as recession was bothering people at that time. I wanted to say something that was serious in a light way. It’s kind of a personal song to me as I felt like I was speaking to a lot of artiste. 

 I spent a chunk of my life in Jos

My primary, secondary and university education was in Jos. I studied Political Science at the University of Jos. I like the fact that I have a degree and that’s interesting. But the thing is that music has always been a passion and No1 for me. I have never been one of those looking for a job as I knew what I wanted. It’s my life and I always know what to do. 

Having my face everywhere is key

My team and I are still working on that and plan to put a lot of videos out there. And do a lot of things to make you know the face when you pass by. First of all, the music is primary and it has to spread before any other thing. I am not trying to be low-key but to put myself out there and a lot of that will happen this year. 

I would still love to work with Cobhams

Although I have worked with him before, but it would be nice to do something with him again. I would love to work with Flavour also, because he is different. I think I can fit into anything. I love his sound and originality. I believe the essence of collaboration is when two opposites come together and there is a blend. I would love to work with John Legend too. I don’t know if I’m dreaming too big but I would love it. I love his music and also I love Indie Arie. Alicia Keys also and I can even give you a long list but my first will be Alicia Keys and John Legend. 

I see myself as a unique artiste

I have always stuck to my sound and the fact that I always believed in it helped me develop it more and got me comfortable in it. Also, I play the guitar, and I can pull off a one woman show. Besides being a singer, I am also good with instruments. The makes me proud and gives me an edge. 

I am very subtle most times

Not trying to push too much or be too laid back. I think I’m just trying to be always in the middle so sometimes I push, sometimes I don’t. It depends on how I am feeling at the moment. Aside music, if I am to do anything else it would be the point of revisiting my degree and probably go back and see if I could get more education, teach and do some form of business.

Five years from now I would be really big

My dream is for people to listen to my music and know instantly that that’s me and for people to make references to my sound to inspire the generations coming that if you want to do afro soul music this is who to listen to. The key thing is to be consistent and that’s what is basic for me. The more you are consistent, the more people get to see your face, hear your music and feel your presence. So, for me it’s just staying consistent and keep pushing. 

My Biggest success is putting out an album

A lot of artistes keep dropping singles and all, but having an album is a major work. It’s capital intensive and it’s not only putting it out but also promoting it so people will know you have a body of work, and that’s one of my biggest successes. Initially, my challenge was that because this kind of music was not appealing, I had to prove to people that I am talented, I can write, I can sing and perform. Aside from that this kind of music was not popular and it was challenging to have a spot, but for me those were the early challenges as an artiste. 

Have won a couple of awards

My first award was ‘Best Female Vocal Performer’ at the 2015 Headies and then I won ‘Best Female Artiste West Africa’ at Afrimma and ‘Best Alternative Music’ at the NEA, and a few more. I have had a couple of nominations and awards. 

I like talking

I play a lot too and I watch a lot of TV series. I like writing and I write almost everyday. My Guitar is the most expensive thing I have ever bought. I like eating amala and ewedu.

Anything inspires my song

From my experiences, what I hear or read about. Basically anything works for me, really. I think one thing I tell myself is that failure is not an option at any point in my life. A lot of people that are successful and we idolise now have failed at one time or another, but we don’t get to hear the back story, only the success story. 

I would love to perform at the Grammys

That’s a big deal for me and I would really appreciate it. Also, it would be a honour to perform before the Queen of England.