Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Exclusive Interview with Dupe Ige Kachy of MTN Project Fame

Dupe Ige Kachy
The official voice coach for MTN Project Fame West Africa, Dupe Ige Kachy exuded warmth, grace and loads of comedy. Regardless of our perception of the gospel music scene and combining marriage, motherhood and homemaking is more intricate than it appears.

Ige has beautifully combined those roles, having three lovely sons. She is down to earth, funny and definitely amiable.

Dupe Ige Kachi, who is popularly called IGE (pronounced ee-gay) is multi talented. She has acted in a number of stage plays, and graced a number of concert stages like the Calabar Carnival 2005-2007, TOTAL 50th anniversary celebrations, “The Experience”, P.D.P Presidential rally dinner 2007, Celtel Brand Unveil, “The Platform”, Nigeria Stock Exchange Awards, The African-American concert and several MUSON classical concerts. She was an active member of the defunct neo-africanist theatre group Rhythm of the Black Man. She has written and performed several MTN jingles and songs and is a proud holder of MUSON certificates in voice, piano and theory of music, and is the vocal coach of the MTN Project Fame West Africa. She has worked with a number of artistes like Sammy Okposo, Provabs, JC Qrew, Cobhams, Yinka Davis, Rhymzo and Sunny Neji, just to mention a few.

Enjoy this chat with her, as she shares insights on her career, family life, spirituality and so much more.

CR: Tell us a bit about yourself
IGE: My full Name is Dupe Ige Kachy, obviously I'm Yoruba married to a Igbo man. I had always known I was not going to end up marrying a Yoruba person. From my primary school days everybody had been calling me an Igbo person, people would walk up to me and start speaking Ibo. I make the soups, bitter leaf onugbu, nsala, oha... I'm a wife of one, mother of three boys.

CR:  How did you start your singing career and how did that turn into you training voices on international television? 
IGE: My family is a very musical family. From ever since I could remember, we've had an upright piano in the house. We are artistic and we sing a lot. That has helped me mold who I am now. I always wanted to sing like my older sister, my late sister she could play and sing at the same time she would perform at Apapa Boat Club. My first choir experience was when I was 7 years old in the choir of my Father's church - he was a venerable. We had a musical culture.

CR : Growing up as the daughter of an Anglican Venerable, how did you find God for yourself and become a born-again Christian?
IGE : I got born again in 1990, I was in JSS. I went for this Friendship Bible Fellowship thing and there was this blind lady from the U.S who preached and I was touched; I just knew I wanted Christ. Years later, she was invited to my father's church and we were singing hymns during the worship session and she stopped the ministration and said "that little girl singing, use your voice to glorify God". That sent shivers down my spine. From then on I signed, "It's gospel music or nothing". Each time I think about it, I go back to that point. I've granted several interviews and I will always say "I am an unapologetic gospel artist"; I love the "label", it gives me identity. I can sing anything I want to sing but I chose gospel because it touches lives and that's where the power is. You live on earth for just so long, so why don't you use that time to touch the lives of people and to change things and do something concrete.

CR: Did your parents support your music career?
IGE: They did but there was a struggle. They wanted me to do a course - as if music is not a course (laughs). They wanted me to do something I could fall back on. But I knew it was a matter of time. I said I'll do Electrical Electronics for you, guys and then I'll do music. However even while I was in school, music was my getaway.

CR: You went on from there to start pursuing your music career and shortly afterwards you got married. Were you ever afraid marriage would hinder your career and slow you down?
IGE: First of all, I have to thank God for the man I married. He is like my rock. He is into the arts too, so it makes it easier. Not as easy as everybody would think but easy. He understood that you might have to go out and come back late but there has to be a balance. I didn't want to get stuck in the rut of pursuing a career and 15 years later, looking back on years of nothingness and lots of kittens. I knew it was time to get married. There were fears and sometimes I would struggle with  thoughts like "I really want to do that classical concert" but of course, I'm more mature now.

CR:What is your advice for young ladies who struggle with that? 
IGE: Think about what really matters in life. as far as i'm concerned relationships count much more. Money can't buy love, it can't buy a family although it can buy cute kittens (laughs). But God gives a man that listens to you, God gives a wife that understands, God gives children. So I think I have made the right decision.

CR: You're on Project Fame and you're on the end of making people become stars, what is your advice for people who have dreams and want to make something of the gifts that God has given to them? 
IGE: First of all, it's never too late. Have a dream. Paint a perfect picture and let that be your motivation. The eyes are very lazy but when you realize you can start little you can take baby steps. If it's baking, start at home and do cakes at home. Even if you're married and you have kids, realise you can always start small and expand. If you are a woman it will take the understanding of your husband, you will have to understand that you have authority and run it by him. Make sure he is OK with it because if he is not OK with it, you will never have peace. I started giving voice lessons one on one at a very cheap price; the first lessons were even for free.

CR: Why did you do them for free?
IGEThey were my experiments. To be honest the first was a friend, the rapper Provabs, who refused to leave my house until I gave him voice lessons. He had been telling me to give him lessons but I didn't think I knew enough. The fact that I'm a good singer doesn't mean I'm a good vocal coach so I started studying. He went on to sing on one of his songs even though he was a rapper and his voice sounded good.

CR: How did that turn into becoming the vocal coach on MTN Project Fame?
IGE:For Project Fame, I didn't specifically pray about it but I had been praying for open doors in that area. We had just finished saying our confessions and a few hours later, we got a call from Project Fame saying they needed a vocal coach and one thing led to another and have been from second season until now. But I started small, step by step.

CR: Earlier on in the year, we experienced the sad passing of Goldie Harvey, I discovered that at a point she had wanted to become a gospel artist. She must have struggled with that decision. So, what is your advice for people who want to go into Gospel music in the face of the obvious allure of the fame and fortune that comes with secular music?
IGE: It was either gospel or nothing. You can call Project Fame secular work but my Christianity bleeds into everything I do. I get to touch lives. Gospel music is tough, the music industry is tough, being a woman makes it tougher because there is this pressure to have sex appeal but I wouldn't because I have kids and for me this is a calling. Gospel music is a calling. If you are not called then don't bother because it will get tough. You have to have that at the back of your mind. It may be tempting but then you don't know what they are going through or what they lay down and cry about at night. Don't give up what you have for what you think they have. Music is music. If you hear good gospel music, you will like it even if you are not a Christian. So if you are going to compete, step up your game. Besides, most secular artists started in church so we must have an edge.

CR: Did you ever say " Hey why don't I become the next Beyonce"?
IGE: It never appealed to me. I can love Beyonce's voice but I don't want her life

CR: We love your style. What are the 3 things you would never leave the house without
IGE: My phone because it is my office, my little red purse because of my ATM cards, money etc I'm not your typical girly girl.

CR: I must say, I love your decor, your home is really nice. It's big, but intimate. What is your advice for young couples who are just getting married on how to achieve an intimate home?
IGE: God, your husband, yourself and lots and lots of love. Don't put the cart before the horse. Don't give yourselves unnecessary heartache. We had lots of towels given to us as gifts so we used those to cover the windows and my hubby had an AC from his bachelor pad. Ladies of nowadays need to get their heads screwed on right. If you know that you want to live large and have all those things then work for it and have it and bring it to the table when the time for marriage comes.You can be an achiever, be a hard worker but when it comes to a husband to marry, ask "Does he love God? Is he a Christian? Is he hardworking? Does he have potential? Women have the gift of seeing potential. Don't marry the beast in the "Beast". It's not all about the Benjamins, it's all about the balances Baby

CR: What do you love?
IGE. I love Jesus, I love my family and I love to sing!! I also love to help people find their real voices

Interview by Ijeoma Olujekun

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