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Whenever I Sleep, I See People Screaming My Name – Singer, Marytonette Okudare

Marytonette Awhobiwom Okudare, a fast rising star, also known as Biwom is a singer cum songwriter, who hails from Calabar, Cross River State.

A graduate of law, Biwom relocated to Lagos to pursue her dream as a musician. In 2018, she debuted with a single, Faya and followed it with G-Wagon in 2019. That same year, Biwom took her craft a notch higher when she performed at the house party, and the finale of Big Brother Naija realty TV show.

In this interview, she opens up on her journey from law to music. Please enjoy it.

What type of music did you grow up listening to?

I listened to a lot of R&B including Westlife and Backstreet Boys back then when I was in school. I used to buy their CDs and would beg my driver to play them on my way to school.

Okay, at what point did you realise you wanted to do music?

I realised I wanted to do music when I was much younger. I also wanted to do movies because I loved acting. I started playing drums when I was seven and I started playing the keyboard at 14. But then, I discovered music when my mom sent me away from home to go stay with my aunt. I auditioned for a movie role, which I was given but I couldn’t take it because I was grounded in my aunt’s house. This was when I just finished my secondary school. However, one day, I was singing while fetching water at my aunt’s place; a man who heard me singing stopped by and asked me if I have recorded a song before. I told him ‘no’, he then asked me to come to his studio where for the first time I saw a musical set up.

So, what actually motivated your choice of music over movies?

Any time I sleep I see people screaming my name. In fact, I always wanted to do music but my parents didn’t want that for me because I was the first child. I wouldn’t blame them because African parents want their children to do something more realistic.

The urge to play music made you relocate from Calabar to Lagos?

Coming to Lagos, I didn’t have any set plan at all, because I didn’t have any relative to stay with. But I came and went ahead to live with Femi, a friend residing in Ikorodu; he allowed me live in his family house for three months. I came to Lagos because all I wanted to do was to be around music.

Who are your role models in the industry?

I like Kiss Dainiel; he inspires me a lot. Teni is also one artiste I look up to because people didn’t expect her to blow the way she did. No one thought she would be in the limelight especially now that female artistes are being stereotyped. It’s harder for female artistes especially if you’re not sexy. I said to myself that I will be the next person that will do well the way Teni did.

Now, how would you describe your relationship with your parents, especially your dad?

My dad and I didn’t have a strong relationship; he only stood as a father figure. He was there to attend to my needs but I was not able to communicate properly with him. My dad was barely around; it was my mom that was more in my space, making more of the decisions, most of which were influenced by her sisters.

You’re a lawyer, how do you combine law with music?

I am not practising law now that I am in the music scene. But I can see how law can be helpful, especially with copyright issues, when artistes get their songs stolen. So, yeah, I will combine both music and law along that line. But it was obvious I was not interested in law at all. So, I don’t mind giving up law for music.

You look tomboyish with your dressing; did you grow up around boys?

No, I am actually the first child. My tomboy look came from my fashion style. I actually feel naked whenever I am wearing a dress.

Are you in a relationship?

Yes, I am in a relationship.

What do you look for in a man?

I look at the intellectual propensity of a guy.

What if your guy tells you to drop music?

I’ll rather choose music.

You’ll choose music over your lover?

If I could choose music over my family then what else can I not compromise? I lived in Calabar like I didn’t have a family. I was depressed; I was given a job at the Ministry of Justice in Calabar but I rejected it. So what?

What’s your greatest moment as a musician? 

2019 was my biggest year when I performed in Wizkid and Davido’s shows. I also performed at the Big Brother Naija house party alongside DJ Obi and equally at the finale. These are my biggest performances to date.

What are you currently working on?

I have released two official singles alongside videos. My first single was Faya and it was released in mid-2018. That was followed by G-Wagon released in 2019. Krizbeat produced the song and Clarence Peters directed the video. My first body of work, Confessions Of A Rebel features Skales. I’m still promoting the EP and working on more songs.

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