Friday, 12 June 2009

Waffarian finds love in music, French

Throughout our conversation on phone, she sounded mature and very relaxed; you could easily feel it from her tone. Though we’ve never met before, I could paint a picture of what Onos Bikawei looks like. I got her contact through a colleague of mine, who feels she has stuff to show.
We initially scheduled to meet in a popular hangout in Surulere, but circumstance brought us to the Rutam House; that was Onos’ first day at The Guardian.
“This is where you write all those stories about people,” she says with a smile that exposes her dimples.
You are afraid of the press?
“Not really,” she says as we step into the premises.
This is The Guardian; it’s not a place for gossips, I assured. At that point, we were sitting face to face.
Onos fell in love with French the first day she heard the language during her secondary school days. From then, she resolved to pursue a career in the language, with the hope of getting a good number of Nigerians interested in it.
“I’m a translator now; I studied French at the Delta State University. What I basically do is help corporate bodies translate their annual reports from French to English or from English to French.”
From her tone, Onos is very enthusiastic about French.
“I’m working on having a French outfit, where people can learn French language, I have that in mind because I love the language,” she sings.
She recalled her days in Lome, Togo, during her exchange programme in the country as a French student.
“It was wonderful because the people there are different; they are more relaxed, unlike the hustling life style of Lagos. It was really fun being around them and learning their local language.”
You speak their local language?
“Well, a bit, but it really contributed to my spoken French.”

You are also into music?
“Music has been a part of me; I started singing in our Church choir, when I was six,” she says.
It seems a lot of you females artistes started from the choir?
“Yes, in fact, I’m still singing in my Church (House on the Rock),” she reveals. “The thing is that it helps you build your content as a musician; it makes you have focus on where you are heading to because you already have a foundation and a particular musical background.”
Though her name sounds fresh in the industry, the truth is that Onus has been around for sometime, performing at private functions, before releasing her first single, Dance.
“I just decided to release the single because I think this is the right time for it. I’ve been studying the business side of the industry, which one needs to actually know before recording. So, I’ve been looking around, seeking for the right time, which I think is now.”
Produced by Flo, the song, according to Onos is targeted at uplifting the spirit.
“The song is meant to uplift someone who is down. No matter what you are going through, no matter whom you are, God is watching over you. Basically, the song talks about hope. It’s a dancehall track that would get you dancing.”
You don’t strike me like a dancer?
“That’s what you think; of course, I do. I dance Salsa, but I won’t start telling you how well, but I have a dance coach.”
So, you dance professionally?
“No, I just want to be happy. But must everything be professionally done,” she quizzes.
People don’t learn dancing for fun these days?
“Well, for me, it’s a way of relaxing after work, especially if you are doing something like translating French; you really need something to cool off with.”
Though her song sounds hip-hop track, Onos says, “I will best describe myself as a soul artiste; if you hear me sing, you will feel the soul first before you hear any other thing.”
With Dance gradually picking up in the music circle, the Warri born singer is now working on the full album, which she plans to launch in no distant time.
“The title is Keep on Believing; it’s an eight track work,” she informs.
What do you believe in?
“I believe in my dreams,” she says giggling.
You have dreams?
“Yes, I have the dream of being the best in anything I do. As for music, I want to be the best in terms of the kind of song I do. I want to affect lives basically and contribute to the development of my country.”

With her knowledge of French, one expects Onos to do a song with the language?
“I don’t have any French song in this coming album, but I plan to do so later. However, if I travel to any French country, I will translate my songs and sing them in French; if I do my songs in French here, a lot of you won’t buy it.”
Onos strongly disagrees with the opinion of some female artistes, who complain of the dominance of male artistes in the industry.
“The truth about it is that, if you are good in what you are doing, people will come looking for you. Asa is good; people always come looking for her. It’s for the ladies to know how to properly package themselves; they need to work on their voice and stagecraft; the total package has to be good. Even if your CD sounds great and you cannot put up a good performance on stage, then you have a problem; there must be connection between your CD and stage work.”
Any collaboration in the album?
“I featured Lara George in one of the tracks titled Tomorrow, produced by ID Cabassa. I also plan to work with Kell in another track, but I don’t intend doing much collaboration right now; it’s about me now,” chuckles.
Onos belongs to the growing list of Nigerians, who believe that music plays a major role in the re-branding project initiated by the Federal Government.
“It’s very possible,” she harps. “There are songs like that; songs that make you see the positive side of the country. I’m thinking towards that line too, but not in this coming album. Music is a viable tool for the dissemination of information, and I think it will work perfectly in the ongoing re-branding initiative.”
What will you like to change in Nigeria?
“There are so many of them, but basically, I want Nigeria to be a better place; it’s not a job for one person. No matter where you are, your contribution is very important. We all can’t be presidents, but we can all contribute in our own little way. If the traffic light says stop, you stop… little things like that and Nigeria will be great again.”


  1. You go girl!!! say it like it is, the little things do matter and Nigeria will be a better place.

  2. dis gurl has come @ da right tyme as dis....we luv u Onos!!! DANCE!!!

  3. Go Onos.... I love ur stuff..d best is yet 2 come!!!!!