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How depression drove Nigerian singer Jodie into oblivion

Jodie
Jodie

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Once a popular Nigerian singer, Jodie, revealed how depression drove her into oblivion.

Jodie, whose full name is Joy Eseoghene Odiete, talked about her rise and fall when she started about why she’s been off the music scene for years.

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It comes 11 years after she released ‘Kuchi Kuchi’ (Oh! Baby). A song she never knew would be a worldwide hit. It has become a national anthem in many households in Africa and beyond.

Jodie released an album in 2012, titled ‘African Woman’. After that, he took another turn in life.

However, she is back and in this conversation with Sam Anokam, Jodie showed her strength of character while exposing her thoughts on her career, her private life, challenges and future.

What took you so long after ‘Kuchi Kuchi’ (Oh! Baby) released another album?

It took a while, I know, but it was not after ‘Kuchi Kuchi’. I then released an album titled “African Woman” in 2012, a few singles in between. Well, you’ll be right if you ask, “What took you so long?” – Many people asked the same.

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The truth is, life happens. It was a roller coaster ride for me. I had my distraction. I got pregnant. I got married. I gave birth to a sweet boy with special needs – and you know what that means in Nigeria. I’m divorced. I got depressed. I got up again!

How have you managed since you divorced?
After screaming my eyes out, I tried to numb the pain, so I got a job far from home, so I would drive to work very early in the morning and late at night – plus the Lagos traffic exhausted would commute. It gave me false comfort so that I would be too tired to think about the cycle the next day and continue.

I did not know after a while that I was depressed. I even shaved my hair at one point – I thought it was a fashion statement (I like hair a lot) – this is after I got blonde. Sometimes I wore very heavy makeup, just to give a little ‘color’ in my life. I was restless. I was like that until one day I was still at work – I went to Abuja for an assignment. I walked back to the hotel where I was staying, and then I prayed this so-called prayer. It was full of bitterness and anger – asking God to punish those I believe hurt me.

Then it was like someone in my heart was talking to me and saying, “but is that what you really want?” I stopped. Then I started walking slowly, I now speak softly and say, ‘This is not really what I want, I just want them to see things through my perspective.’ After that, I continued the rest of the prayer, still walking, asking for peace of mind and helping to forgive and move on. “I believe this is where healing began.

I started anew as a child – I’m back to my church choir. I continued with my hobbies – crafts and all. I even learned a new skill (product formulation from Eudokas Beauty Institute) and opened a brand for natural hair care called Kuchi Kuchi – of course I grew my canvas hair, and it’s been long again by the way. I decided to sing some songs I always wanted to sing, so I decided to live my new EP ‘Songs of Truth’ again and with the help of God and with gratitude in my heart, I live again.

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Would your love with all you’ve been through give you another chance?

God is love – nothing but love lives here. I know you’m talking about marriage. If God sends my Boaz to me, why not? I would love to be, since I am still young and ‘everything’ is in a very good condition. On the other hand, I am willing to stay alone and celibate if God writes my scripture that way. Either way, I will do it with joy!

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So, your new EP is a gospel of gratitude to God?

‘Songs of Truth’ consists of four songs I wrote a long time ago – the youngest of the songs should be about 10 years old, while the oldest can be almost 30 years old. I always wanted to sing gospel music after Idols West Africa, but I was not confident in my choice – I felt I was not ‘good’ enough.

Now I know better – we can never be ‘good’ enough. I also listened to others instead of what was in my heart. People were advised to sing inspirational songs without adding ‘God’ to it so that it would sell. Since I was not confident in the first place, I gave the advice.

When I had my son in 2016, there was an emergency, and I had an epiphany. In the epiphany I remembered the gospel songs I had written but left out until ‘later’, and I had a strong desire to sing them.

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