OLUFA… An Inspiration On Stage
ELIZABETH Omotolani Olufa is a singer, songwriter and musicologist. What makes Olufa amazing is her ability to go lower pitches, at the same time, moving higher in full voice, without straining her vocal chords.
Popularly known as Elizmo by fans, the professional singer, who hails from Ondo State, and from a family of five, says, she started singing quite early and she enjoyed the love and support of her family.
“I started out in a church choir, and then, I met a friend of mine, in 2007, who advised that a great future awaits me if I improve on my music skills. So, I sought more knowledge about music. He was right. In 2010, I started singing professionally (having received a scholarship to study music voice) at the prestigious Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) School of Music,” she says.
At the MUSON School, she met Sir Emeka Nwokedi, who became her voice teacher — that encounter has proved to be fun, entertaining and truly worth the while. Since she graduated, in 2012, her sojourn in the world of music has been wonderful.
“Singing made me believe in myself, and in my ability to achieve the things I wanted to do and achieve in life,” she says.
On her inspiration, Elizimo said she was fascinated by the fact that she could listen to other people’s music and mimic them. “I would sit for hours in deep thought, mimicking and singing my heart away. I did this mostly for old time soulful songs and tunes. This has greatly inspired me and given my life meaning,” Elizimo reveals.
The songstress says, “singing has always been a part of me. It is very interesting and inspiring. As you build these concepts and themes, you are also learning, getting inspired and growing. And it is such joy, when you realise you have the power to turn another human life around, by what you say, do and how you behave and reason. An actor is a natural role model. This explains why fans always want to connect with you, adore or even emulate you.”
On stage, she is a beauty to behold. She keeps her audiences spell bound, as they watch and listen with quiet attention. Each rendition is naturally followed with happy cheers and rounds of applause. Her songs have impacted many. Her admirers and fans see her as an accomplished singer with a difference.
On how she sees herself, she says, “by the grace of God, I’ve received several feedbacks. These have translated to tons of referrals and commendations, and I am sill counting. I have become accustomed to people telling me, ‘wow… you sing so well’, ‘you are exceptional’, ‘you are a great singer’ you are uniquely talented’ and many more. So, I must confess that it’s been a wonderful experience on stage so far. The complements are endless.”
For Elizimo, even though, music comes to her naturally, there have also been challenges, “but you know they are indeed part of life.”
At the same time, music has been quite lucrative, because she has been able to pay some of her bills. Having performed at too many concerts and shows, she acknowledges that being good has its benefits and rewards given that she has handled her calling with the right attitude (Godly). She remarkable tunes at the celebration of Vita Foam’s 50th anniversary and the 2015 International Day of Girl Child celebration, Se bi omo, launch among others.
She believes that her music is inspirational, informative, spiritual and educational. Stressing that some songs can evoke very beautiful memories that could stay with people throughout their lifetime.
She recalled how one of her songs, titled, Iya (Mother), which she wrote and performed at the MUSON Centre, brought back wonderful memories.
“While there, two women approached me with tears and expressed their appreciation of the song. They described it as truly engaging, as it brought to their memories, sterling qualities of motherhood. They acknowledged that they would forever remain truly grateful to me for rendering such a powerful and meaningful art that celebrates motherhood in a very special way,” she says. “I’ve had feedbacks of how many lives have been transformed from evil disposition to a Godly one.”
AS a little girl, she had dreamt of being a successful and accomplished CEO of a big catering service company, because she loves to cook. “Years later, I started seeing myself on massive concert stages performing before thousands. These images always came as a flash. Thereafter, the dream of climbing the stage and performing to a large number of people started to unfold, as my dreams have gradually come alive! The first time I sang in stage as a little girl was at the age of seven in church. What a great day it was,” she confesses.
“And that was the beginning of the big dream turned reality. It was truly magical, as if that was what I was born to be, and created to. Right from that moment, I knew that something big awaited me. Ever since, it has been a lot of work, but I love it.”
Singing is all she does for now. She, however, hopes to run her Elizmo Foods and Catering Services some day, very soon, by faith. Her plan for the future is that her songs would go places far and wide. “I’m planning, by God’s grace, to create a performing style that will become an established genre, such that upcoming acts will find my music as a leading style to emulate,” she says.
Her strength and fulfillment comes from knowing God through a personal relationship with his son, Jesus. Her vision and mission is to continually churn out life changing and inspirational songs that would impact lives with the hope that this would somehow change the emptiness and lack of depth found in some secular music, the kind of music produced in the today’s society. “I hope to channel my strength to becoming a pacesetter in professional music that will be accepted by all, as well as sway people away from the crappy music aired on our media now,” Elizimo explains.
OLUFA proudly sees herself as a true Nigerian. “Of course, I’m proudly Nigerian. This dispensation of President Muhammadu Buhari has brought back hope and change.”
She adds, “my general advice for the government is to ensure that all the promises made in the All Progressives Congress’ manifesto are fulfilled. My hope is that they will keep faith with Nigerians and not betray the confidence reposed in them. The government should create a system, whereby, talented Nigerian youths will be encouraged. More financial aids should be granted in order to help them achieve their dreams. There is need for more music platforms for upcoming acts, such that their talents can be showcased and groomed.”
Olufa is a product of mentoring, so, she believes strongly in it. Given that it is very important to be surrounded by the right kind of people, because she had and still has several mentors most of whom have become life coaches for her and she is no doubt grateful for this opportunity.
She feels it’s essential for singers and musicians to follow in the steps of those before them in order to gain professional competence, being relevant in the Industry and as a recipe for success.
She is saddened by the fact that more youths are loosing faith in the Nigerian system. “Unfortunately in this society, the very bad examples shine very bright. She says, “as young people, the question is, what do we really want? We also have to pull our weight. We have to be committed, diligent and honest to ourselves, with each other and our home- Nigeria. We have to sow to reap the fruits we seek.”
She wants Nigeria to be transformed. “The people themselves must change their ways of doing things, strengthening their hope and faith in developing a new Nigerian nation.”