Yes, death is inevitable but all we could pray for is a long life in good health. While the Nigerian Entertainment industry is till mourning the sudden demises of some of its practitioners, fast rising songstress cum radio presenter born Margaret Mary Oluwatoyin Ejiro Joseph but otherwise known as Zara Gretti, needs your prayer to stay alive!
After many years in United State of America, her decision to come back to Nigeria in 2009 for her youth service may not have been wrong. Today Zara Gretti, not only stamped her authority in the Nigerian music scene with ‘Abokoku’, a follow up track to her debut hit song titled Flyest, Zara proved to be one of the next big things in the Nigerian broadcasting industry.
Unfortunately, as ‘Teno’, Zara’s last single before the bubbly chubby chic left Naija for U.S, moved her an inch to her breakthrough in the music scene, the humble song bird is currently battling a strange illness. Although, an unconfirmed report stated that Zara is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, the latest news at our disposal says she may undergo chemotherapy for a disease suggested to be Cancer!
Moreover, she may not sound sick to her huge fans and friends on social media, Zara who is now shadow of her former self, is reported to have been battling with this life-threatening illness for some time now and it God’s grace that keeps her alive till today.
With a couple of shining stars dimmed too soon, the Nigerian entertainment industry cannot afford to lose another promising youth, please always remember Zara in your prayers. Let’s rally round her now that she still alive! May God almighty heal and spare Zara (Amen). Below is one of Zara’s last interviews while in Nigeria. It was done by Kazeem Popoola.
You recently dropped another single titled Teno, when are you releasing your debut album?
I could have had an album by now but I choose not to because what’s the point releasing an album when the people are not asking for an album from you? We just have a couple of guys who feel like they’ve arrived and goes on to launch an album. I would rather wait for people to be hungry for my full album, whet their appetite and later drop album.
How was the experience as an intern with Rhythm FM?
It’s been an interesting thing; I’ve had to dedicate a lot more time to learn a lot of things. I’ve gotten some experience on another thing entirely but now that I am done with my Youth Service, music is now my priority and Zara is my priority. There is going to be a bigger focus on my music.
How can you brand you music?
I would like to call it popular music, but really what is popular music? Pop music varies round the world it depends on where you are, so I’d say call it Nigerian Pop, I don’t know, it’s really difficult especially as I do delivery in different manners, I rap, sing and a bit of this and that, let’s just call it Afro Pop.
Are you still with Toni Payne?
Toni Payne has been my friend since 2005 and she is still my friend but she is no longer my manager. Even though we no longer have a working contract together, we are good friends and still have working relationship. There is always work, if there is business there is business but I handles my own management now.
How did you come about the message in your hit track titled Abokoku or are you singing from experience?
I was actually encouraged to sing and it happened to be a love song. Although, I don’t know much about been in love, I had to do a research on those who have no partner but already decreeing that when they meet their lover, they would love to death. That’s where Abokoku came from. I never come across the term, Abokoku, until I wrote the song, and I learnt it was used to insult a person who is bent in love. So, I thought there was nothing wrong loving your man and I decided to do something positive with the song.
Are you now saying you’re not in love?
I’m in love with Jesus; I’m in love with my music (Laughs)
How do you mean?
My focus is on my music career, if I happen to meet somebody and we are getting along when that revelation comes then great. When I mean revelation, I don’t mean something that will drop from the sky but when that time comes, you will know. I am not looking for a man right now.
What are the qualities you are looking for in a man?
He definitely has to understand what I’m doing with my music, has to be in total support of what I’m do as I will also support him in whatever he does. He has to be God fearing.
How did music thing start with you?
That was in 2006 when I was about to graduate from the University and I went to Atlanta before my internship. When I was in Atlanta, I went to studio with my friend, Kino, he wanted me to do back-up vocals for him, and it was there I told him that I wanted to rap. We later went to eLdee’s house in Atlanta. He was just telling us about a particular girl, who is about to take over the Nigerian music scene, and surprisingly when he played the song it was mine. So he had advised me to consider doing music. I decided writing and doing music, here I am five years later.
How ready are you for the occasional scandals that are attached to fame?
Is anybody ready for scandals? I’m not sure but with anything that comes with life you have to deal with it and work through it. It doesn’t matter what it is.
How did you feel when the alleged sex tale of you and Jessy Jagz filtered to town?
I laughed and I still laugh, and when he sees me too he laughs. You know, you don’t know where these things come from and when it happened you either laugh it off or get angry. I’m not the angry type, so I laughed. It’s not that Jessy is a bad guy but the story is not true.
Even though you claimed not to be in love, do you have crush on any of popular music stars?
No, not at all, unless you can find me Chris Brown, he’s kind of young. Although, I do have a music crush on somebody and that is Mr. Femi Kuti. I will fall down the day he agrees to do a track with me.
Any memorable moments?
It’s got to be with Mr. Femi Kuti, I have three memorable moments with him. I was 14 or 15 years old when he came to U.S to perform. I went to watch his live performance and there was a time he had a break to talk to somebody. I was lucky to be the person. So he asked of my name and I said Toyin, and he was like “Omo Yoruba ni e?” and I said yes. The second time was when he came to Philadelphia to perform, I had to go. And again when he had to talk to somebody it was me. A couple of days later when I had to return to Nigeria for a Christmas break in 2009, I saw him. I screamed and ran to give him a big hug, not minding the bouncers who surrounded him.
What made you leave 9ice’s Alapomeji Record label?
It was just a business decision that I needed to make, it has nothing to do with Toni Payne and 9ice’s differences or relationship. Personal life has nothing to do with business life so it was just a thing of how the work was going. Things were not going on entirely comfortable so we sat down and said maybe it’s okay to path ways.
Who would you say discovered you?
That’s a tough one! I’m still experimenting and don’t think I have discovered myself, I don’t think I’ve been discovered I think I have been blessed and very fortunate for people to like what they have heard so far. I think DJ D Money released my first track; I remembered I recorded a track, it was not even completed. I don’t even know where and how DJ D Money got it. He put it on Nigeria radio website and asked people to give their opinion, and the next thing I know was that I’m performing here and there, opening shows for Tony Tetuila, Julius Agwu among others in U.S. This was how people started calling to manage me, most especially when I released the hit track titled flyest. It became the most popular track on notjustok.com.
Why did you comeback to Nigeria?
No I haven’t been home for a while and it’s just been unfortunate that I’ve never got the opportunity to come because I’ve always wanted to see my grandmother and my grandfather. And since I returned I have been like why haven’t I been here all this while?