Fast rising Nigerian singer cum beauty entrepreneur, Annjay Chioma in this interview with ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM, she shares her success story, life as a female artiste and more.
What does life mean to you? What is your typical day like?
Life as a musician cum beauty entrepreneur has been quite challenging I must say. So far, I have produced a lot of songs and still doing more. I’m not going to quit music, I’ll keep it flowing because of the passion I have for it. My fans would hear me soon. I always find a way to strike a balance between my two worlds – music and business.
My typical day starts from home to office then off to different business meetings. Sometimes, I wish 24 hours is not enough for a day, it should be extended to like 30 hours or more (laughs).
What inspires you to do the things you do?
God and myself. My hard work inspires me a lot. Looking back to where I was coming also inspires me to forge ahead and never be a failure. I like beauty products too and I can spend my last kobo on it. As a teenager back then, if I want to buy any beauty product and my money is not complete, I’ll go into installment agreements with them, after payment they hand over what I paid for to me. I use quality expensive beauty products on myself and that’s why we sell good things.
What are some of the challenges you encountered on the business?
So far, it’s been good and challenging, but thank God for everything. These days music or modelling can’t pay all the bills. That’s one of the major reasons I do other businesses by the side. On the business aspect, my major challenge is bad roads, because we do more high demand supplies across the 36 states of Nigeria. Then, dollar exchange rates, custom duties are other big issues the government should look into.
How are you coping with them?
I just try not to let them weigh me down. I have a vision and mission, they keep me uptight. If it gets so tough, I present it to God on bended knees.
Tell us about your career. What was the turning point for you?
My music career has been a slow but steady journey. I’m not done with music yet but I’m taking my time to do things right. I’m not in a rush to release unpleasant songs. My fans should expect more cool sounds and good music from me, so I’m yet to experience that banging turning point. For my business, my turning point would be when my Abuja outlet was opened for business. I derive maximum satisfaction in providing quality products for all fashion lovers home and abroad. That’s why I decided to extend my brands and services to my Abuja fans. We are growing daily, so most definitely, the need for more branches would arise. So, we are looking at Port- Harcourt, Asaba and the likes.
What lessons have you learnt on the business?
Dishonesty and pride don’t pay. I can’t deal with anyone that portrays any bit of these attitudes. Even the Bible says, pride goes before a downfall.
You are also an entrepreneur, tell us about this aspect of your life?
I went into the business because I like it and it’s part of my profession as a singer and a model. I started this business before I went into journalism but not as big as it is now. Annjay Products is international now. We have our clients all over the world. The latest Annjay product is Cura sunglasses. It is the best of its kind. Cura launched into the Nigerian market few weeks ago. I have been a business woman for quite some time. The truth is that journalism prepared me for everything I’m today.
So, at a point, where I can no longer combine both because my hands were full, I stopped working as a journalist and ventured into full business. Many people recognize me as a journalist in the industry and my passion for journalism is still intact if you ask me.
Let’s compare when you started and now, what has changed?
I’m proud to be a Nigerian but more proud to be a Nigerian entertainer. We are going global; from Beyonce featuring our artists in her album to other countless international collaborations. Burna Boy just got Grammy awards nomination. We are getting there. I love the vibe. It is very impressing.
What are some of the changes that you would like to see in the entertainment sector?
It is so sad that majority of Nigerian love wack songs, but with good beats. They don’t care what the musician is singing, as soon as it’s a danceable beat.
So, if you’re doing good songs, Nigerians wouldn’t look your way, unless you join the trend to sing unpleasant and moral- deficient lyrics. However, we need more ever green songs like that of Tuface Idibia, Sound Sultan, Onyeka Onwenu and the likes.
What is your definition of style? How would you access Nigerian designers?
Although, I haven’t worked with any Nigerian designer before, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to work together in the future. I like Lanre Da Silva, Zizi Cardow and Mai Atafo. I have international designers whom I wear their clothes, shoes, bags and perfume and haven’t met them personally before.
What are some of the items that you treasure most in your wardrobe?
High heels, jean trousers, wristwatches and sunglasses. I like skinny dresses, skinny jeans, pants and sneakers, shorts and shirts. I always want to look very smart and simple despite being on the slim side.
How do you relax?
I drink water every morning, eat a lot of fruits to keep my skin radiant and beautiful. I also exercise regularly to keep fits. I also love listening to cool music and reading some motivational books.
Who are the people you admire and your role models?
For simplicity and humility, I like Shan George, Kate Henshaw a lot. I also love the boldness of Tonto Dikeh, they are not my role models but I just admire them.
If you have to advise young people, what would you tell them?
Be you. You have all it takes to excel. Don’t be bamboozled by what you see on social media, not all that glitters is gold.