How depression pushed Nigerian singer, Jodie into oblivion

Jodie
Jodie

Once popular Nigerian singer, Jodie, has revealed how depression pushed her into oblivion.

Jodie, whose full name is Joy Eseoghene Odiete spoke about her rise and fall as she opened up on the reason she has been off the music scene for years.

This comes 11 years after she  released  ‘Kuchi Kuchi’ (Oh! Baby). A song she never knew would be a global hit. It went as far as becoming an anthem in many households in Africa and beyond.

Jodie released an album in 2012, titled “African woman”. Thereafter, took another turn in life.

However, she is back and in this chat with Sam Anokam, Jodie displayed her strength of character as she bares her mind about her career, her private life, challenges and future.

What took you this long after ‘Kuchi Kuchi’ (Oh! Baby) love’ to release another album?

It took a while, I know, but it wasn’t after ‘Kuchi Kuchi.’ I released an album, titled “African Woman” in 2012 then, a couple of singles in between. Well, you would be right to ask “What took you so long?” – Many people asked the same.

Truth is, life happens. It’s been a roller-coaster for me. I had my distractions. 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 got divorced. I got depressed. I got back up again!

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

I didn’t know I was depressed after a while. I even shaved my hair at some point – I thought it was a fashion statement (I really like hair) – that’s after I had gone blonde. Sometimes, I would put on very heavy make-up, just to add some ‘colour’ in my life. I was restless. I was that way until, one day, still on the job – I had gone to Abuja for an assignment. I was walking back to the hotel I was lodged in, then I found myself praying this so-called prayer. It was full of bitterness and anger – asking God to punish those I believed had hurt me.

Then, it was like someone spoke to me in my heart, saying, “but, is that what you really want?” I paused. I then started walking slowly, I was now speaking out, softly, I said, ‘Actually, that’s not what I want, I just want them to see things through my perspective.’ After which, I continued the rest of the prayer, still walking, asking for peace of mind and help to forgive and move on.” I believe that is where healing began.

I started afresh, like a child – I went back to my church choir. I continued with my hobbies – crafting and all. I even learnt a new skill (product formulation from Eudokas Beauty Institute) and opened a natural hair care brand called Kuchi Kuchi – of course, I grew my nappy hair back, and by the way, it is long again. I decided to sing some songs I’ve always wanted to sing, hence my new EP, ‘Songs of Truth’ I decided to live again and by the help of God and with gratitude in my heart, I am living again.

With all what you went through, would you give love another chance?

God is love – nothing but love lives here. I know you are talking about marriage though. If God sends me my Boaz, why not? I will gladly, as I’m still young and ‘everything’ is in very good shape. On the flip side, I’m willing to stay single and celibate if God writes my script that way. Whichever way, I’ll do it with joy!

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

‘Songs of Truth’ is made up of four songs I had written long before now – the youngest of the songs should be about 10 years old, while the oldest may be almost 30 years old. I had always wanted to sing gospel music straight up after Idols West Africa, but I was not confident in my choice – I felt I wasn’t “good” enough.

Now, I know better – we can never be “good” enough. Also, I listened to others instead of what was in my heart. People advised I sang inspirational songs without adding “God” to it, so that it would sell. Since I wasn’t confident in the first place, I went along with the advice.

When I was having my son in 2016 – there was an emergency CS and I had an epiphany. In that epiphany, I remembered the gospel songs I had written, yet put away till “later” and I had a strong desire to sing them.