Hello everyone, another delight to bring you the Music Estate Musician of the Month series again. It is a great honour to host the vocal diva, hymnstress, Nigeria’s number one voice coach and Modupe Ige Kachi popularly called Ms. Ige
Ms. Ige is a highly experienced and respected musicians. She has obviously mastered her craft. She is one of Nigeria’s best vocalists and reputed to be the best voice coach in West Africa. Our session with her was just lovable. She has a down-to-earth humble and fun to be with personality. It was a lengthy chat but really worth reading. Enjoy our chat;
Lets meet you ma. Your name and background (education, family, and career).
My name is Modupe Ige Kachi, Mss Ige for short. I’m called Ms Ige because of the work in the very popular MTN Project Fame West Africa. That’s the name I was called in the show. I come from a family of music lovers. Last child of 7 children. We all sing and play musical instruments except my first sister who neither sings nor plays an instrument. I’m from Oyo State, Ibadan. Music was a huge part of my family when growing up as my father was a vicar in the Anglican communion. I grew up in the choir and that really helped my music journey. I studied electrical electronics engineering from the University of Lagos. I finished in 2001. Music was a huge part of my education. It was good succor for me.
Music was a huge part of my education. It was a good succor for me. I am a vocal coach and voice trainers. I have been on a couple of reality TV shows/competition as judge and vocal coach. I’m the convener of Find Ur Voice with Ige, a citywide training workshop – a vocal training workshop that cater for the vocal needs of singers, choristers, artists, public speakers and anyone that uses their voice. It has been around for awhile now. I’m author of a voice training book – Ground Rules for Singing. I’m also a gospel artist with three albums under my belt by God’s grace.
What genre of music do you do and why?
I was introduced at a very early age to classical music. It is predominantly the kind of music done in orthodox churches and its also the kind of music I grew up with. But I’m a musician and also a vocal coach so I have come to realize that the voice is an instrument that can do all kinds of music. I grew up listening to classical music but right now I do balance whatever it is that I feel I can express myself through. My root is deep in classical music and I’m glad that happened. Most of the things I teach, I teach because of the experiences I had growing up listening and engaging in classical music.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
It’s the ability to be able to create music, express my thoughts, feelings, and ideologies through that beautiful medium called music. Not everyone can do that. The fact that I can do that and seeing the effect of what I have created on people is an absolute joy. What I do not like most is that we are often made to compare ourselves to ourselves. Also, not been appreciated for the musician that I am some of the time.
What drew you to the music industry? Your motivation.
I wasn’t drawn into the music industry. I was called into it. I grew up in a household of music listeners and practitioners. My elder sister was my mentor. She was an actress but also could sing and play the piano at the same time. She had featured in the Art Alade Show. I wanted to be like her. Back then in my church, a lady minister was invited for a vigil ( I gave my life to Christ in one of her programs at the Federal Palace Hotel). She was partially blind. I was singing quietly in the middle of worship. The lady stopped and said I have such a beautiful voice and that I was going to use my voice to give God praise and worship Him. That stuck with me and my mother. I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That was a divine summon.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far in your music career?
Well, thinking about this, the biggest problem would be that of identity. Many people wanted you to be like someone else. Finding your feet and getting people to appreciate you for who you are and not entering into an identity crisis would be one of the things I had to overcome.
As an electrical electronics engineering graduate, at what point did you conclude that music was what you would do?
Like I said before, I decided long before I studied electrical electronic engineering that music was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Back then, my parents thought that doing music was not a wise thing at that time. Since I was good at the sciences, they thought it was a good idea I did a course I could rely on. So I said, why not, I could do electrical electronics engineering. Also, the school I studied in was not offering music as a full course and I wanted to have a degree. However long before, I had known that music is what I was going to do. Music had been a huge part of my life growing up even through my electrical engineering days.
Can you give a brief of your journey into music?
I and music started a long time ago. I was born into it and grew up in it. I was born into a family of musicians and grew up by finding my own ways around it in choirs like Laz Ekwueme Choral, the Steve Rodes Voices and the rest, church choirs my father was posted to. I was a big part of MUSON, did a lot of concerts there up till now. I have three albums under my belt.
Why did you opt for music education rather than a full time recording artiste?
Like I have been saying, voice training came later in my life. I started off as a voice artist, singing and ministering. I recorded my very first album at age 16 -17 and produced by K Sticks. I didn’t opt for music education against being an artist. I see both music education and being a recording artist as being called into music as one. I’m expressing the gifts and graces God has given me by writing and letting out songs He gave. On the other hand, I’m also helping singers, chorister, gospel artists, etc work on their voices so they can become better tools in God’s hand. I did not opt for one for the other.
What is your average life like for you?
In the mornings, I pray with my husband as couple and then call the kids to pray because we are a Christian home. We all love Jesus. So we communicate with God and spend time as a family. It is such an interesting time. Then we get into the day. I prepare for my one-on-one classes. I do that through out the day. Within the day, I make music. I write songs, practice, read, do some studies.
Who are you inspired by?
The people who have kind of influenced my singing are Karen Clark Sheard, Yolanda Adams, my late sister Pamela, Olufunmi. Olufunmi is such an amazing singer, controlling her voice is second to known. Her voice is velvety. She is not just a singer, she’s a musician and she inspires me a lot. Basically I’m inspired by people who do not give up in life or music. We need to celebrate people like that. I’m also inspired by female musicians
What would you say is your biggest achievement as a renowned Voice Coach and what do you hope to achieve in the nearest future?
I would say, to be a long standing voice coach of one of the biggest live TV show in West Africa. I never saw it coming. All I started off doing was trying to help people with their voice. I just wanted to help people. I never imagined that one day I would be out there every day in 3 months for so many years doing what I love to do. What I hope to achieve in the nearest future is to get my own outfit “Find UR Voice With Ige” to become that big and become the voice to the African voice. Almost like becoming the “voice doctor”. To get to a point where Find Ur Voice with Ige is an authority in music and voice training in Africa including Africans in diaspora.
You have succeeded as an exceptional vocal coach, what is the key to your success in this field?
Thank you for telling me that I’m an exceptional vocal coach. I just try to be the best anything I find myself doing and that’s what has taken me so far. I show up and don’t back down from challenges or issues. I’m hungry and I feed my hunger. For me, the key to my success in this field is that I keep going, I don’t look back. I pick challenges one day at a time as they come. I feed my curiosity about the voice. As people come to me, I treat them as individuals. I read voice training materials and anything about the voice. Prior to when there were no voice coaches, I dared to create the need for what I have by putting it out there and going doing what I was doing until the door opened for me. So be consistent in what you are doing. You have to be diligent in what you are doing. You have to be prepared to do the work. I cannot also ignore the God-factor as well. God’s hand upon me met my preparedness.
You have been a part several music talent shows and events as a judge, which would you say left a lasting impression & impact on you?
You know you always remember your first job, your first experience. For me it was Project Fame. That was because it was my first and biggest so far. I loved meeting the people, loved hearing their experiences, being a part of their experiences, working with their voice to become better artists and actually seeing the result of your labour. Project Fame left a huge impact on me. Also, I’m happy that churches are awoken. I have been a part of many singing competitions organized by churches. I’m hoping there will be much more. Truth be told, most of the singers that came for (Project Fame) competitions are all singers in church, worship leaders just looking for an avenue to showcase their talent.
Which will you say has brought you to where you are: talent or training?
Hahaha, I can put it this way. Talent is something you are given. As I always say, everyone can sing. If you can talk, you can sing (not everyone will win the Grammy though). Now training is second to none. You can not attain perfection without training. Those of ‘us’ who considered ourselves very talented have more work to do because we fall in the danger of not doing any work so we do not work on anything else. What training does is that it gives you the opportunity to repeat that feat without much effort. Training cannot be overemphasized. It shows that you’re serious about how far you want your talent to go. Training is like a diamond in its raw form. If you want to go from potential to excellence, you have to go through training. You have to put in the work. It is non-negotiable. You have the talent but if you want to go through point A to B, you have to go through training. There is nothing like it.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans.
I love my fans. In fact, I just see them as people who without them, no body will know if you are a musician or know you have the talent. They can be very funny people o (fans I love you). I interact with them with much respect. Am very careful with the words I say. There has been fans who had become unruly, especially during Project Fame seasons. Who picked on me concerning one contestants. I remembered one particular encounter with a very emotional fan of a contestant. On my Instagram page, I call my fans my social media family. I deal with them with utmost respect but I also recognize when the line is crossed and just ignore.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite?
I love being a vocal coach because I like to go through the process of helping people with their voice. Hearing how they sounded when they started. I love that fact that I know what to do to get them from where they are to where they wanted to be. I love the process. I love that fact that we can both hear the difference in your voice by the time we are done. What I do not like about it is that people think that I have a magic wand I could just wave over the voice especially when they hear me sing. That can be just not so interesting. In fact I do not have a magic wand. Voice training takes time. So what I do not like is when people comes and they think they can make the change in two classes and become a Maria Carey. It messes with my work. So when they are not achieving their unrealistic goals in their head, they begin to in their mind draw back. So that part of the work is what I do not like.
Have you ever had to deal with failure? If yes, how did you overcome it?
Everybody has had to deal with failure but its about perspective. In one way or the other we have all experienced failure but the way I have overcome it is to not just stop. You cannot afford to stop because if you do, you have justified the failure. Whether its university course or in career, whatever it is in life, you cannot afford to stop. The way I overcome it is, I know who I am, whose I am, the greater one on the inside of me is alive and working so if I just key into Him, I will overcome it. So I don’t stop, I just keep going with the image of what I want to achieve in my head. I try not to get distracted and keep focus until I achieve it.
To what height do you intend taking Find UR Voice With Ige?
Find Ur Voice with Ige is still a city-wide workshop. I intend to make it nation-wide and region-wide (West Africa). I’d like to be the “voice whisperer of the African voice“. I want to have the solution to the vocal problem of the African voice. I feel like I’m called to that. To make Find Ur Voice so far that the African voice can’t do without it
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
For those wanting to be a vocal coach or artist. First thing first, is you must have a passion for what you are doing. You must want it so badly and be hungry for it. Secondly, read. Update yourself. Put in the work. Prov 22:29 says Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Most times you want to stand before kings and you are not diligent in your ways. You cannot have that. Diligence and training builds your muscles. Don’t just sit down and wish you can do what Ige is doing. Use Google. If you don’t put in the work, you will become one of the mediocres. Don’t wait for opportunities to befall you, create it. Don’t be afraid of starting small. Dream big. Nobody pays tax on dreaming big. Focus on it everyday. So dream big but don’t be afraid to start small. Don’t be afraid to evolve. Don’t be stuck to a place. Spread your wings and then enjoy the process, never forget to have fun as you go along.
How do you balance your career as a musician and family life?
Everything in life is about balance. First of all, I don’t even want to assume that am an authority of this but I thank God because He has helped us thus far. He has also given me fantastic support system from my husband and kids, especially from my husband. My husband supports me like its his career. That has really helped me a lot.
Thank you ma.
Hope you enjoyed our chat with our Musician of the month Modupe Ige Kachi. Drop your comment below.
I am Music Estate’s Music Director