I feel great working with Nigerian artistes
Queen Juli Endee has made a name for herself as the Culture Ambassador and Traditional Queen of Liberia. In this interview, the Executive Director of Liberia’s Crusaders for Peace, who is on a special mission to Nigeria, spoke on her advocacy project and her desire to become a household name in the country’s music industry.
How did you become the Traditional Queen of Liberia?
I work in the community and because of my humanitarian services to the Liberian people, the traditional people in the 15th Political Subdivision in 2001, decided to give me three years to see whether I can live up to the expectations of the traditions and the culture. Based on that, I was crowned in February of 2006 at our historic site in Liberia called the Providence Island. All the traditional leaders and the chiefs, elders, women came together to say, ‘this is our Queen.’ This is the voice of the traditional people. So, that’s how I was crowned the Queen of the traditional people of Liberia.
What’s your role as queen?
I help in the developmental process of our people and our traditional leaders; I uphold our culture and tradition in Liberia. I’m a liaison to the general public and the traditional people and also help the traditional people carve out proposals and visions to maintain the development agenda of Liberia because the traditional people own the land.
What’s your mission in Nigeria?
My mission is two-foldI first came to give support to Semah, who was featured by Flavour. That mission has ended and Semah has returned to Liberia safely. So, right now, I’m here to finish my project that I started before meeting Flavour and then getting him to meet Semah. Because of the Semah project, I decided to let him go ahead because he is a kid and after that, I will continue my project. My project is a music album that I’ve done with a lot of producers; I’ve also featured a lot of Nigerian big artistes. I’ve done a video and all of that. I came here to speak with the marketing agent and we’ve concluded on that. I’ve finished a video and it’s being edited so that it can be released to the public.
How soon are you hoping to launch the album?
As a social worker, I’m very known, but when it comes to music, I’m known in Liberia and certain parts if Sierra Leone and the US; I’m not known in Nigeria. Since Nigeria is the big brother of Africa, and being an advocate for the love of African solidarity in the West African region, especially ECOWAS, I want to crossover to Nigeria. I’ve come now to introduce myself to the Nigerian people. Also, I’ve come to Nigeria to really appreciate those gallant men of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, who joined ECOMOG to save Liberian lives in our country and those force commanders that have passed on. I want to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to their families and the people of Nigeria for the level of support given to us during the civil crisis in Liberia and for continuing to sustain peace in our country. I’m grateful to the Nigerian people; you are our brothers and sisters and we salute you. So, I’m waiting for this marketing process to kick off in terms of introduction to the Nigerian community and then, I will take it up from there to give the actual date of the launch.
Aside music, what else do you plan to do Nigeria?
I’m here for music, but at the same time, I want to cement the relationship between Liberia and Nigeria from the industry perspective. The industry in Nigeria is improving greatly and we’ll like to tap into the expertise of those, who have made it in the industry here to help a virgin industry in Liberia with youth empowerment.
How far have you gone with your album?
I can tell you how many songs, but I can’t tell you the title. What I can say is that I have ten tracks in the album and all of them talk about love peace, happiness, the beauty of Africa, beautiful women and what makes us different from others.
Do you have any Nigerian artiste on the album?
First is the voice that I’ve been crazy about in Nigeria, and that is Omawumi. That’s my girl because she’s a straight shooter. I also featured Yemi Alade and Jodie, the girl who sang Kuchi Kuchi. For the males, I featured Flavour in one of the songs and a host of others; I intend to feature more. There are lots of artistes that I like. One of them is Adekunle Gold; I love his music. I love Don Jazzy; these are the kinds of people that I really love to work with.
How did you meet Flavour?
It was a wonderful experience. He didn’t know me, but I met him through Masterkraft; he produces most of my songs. A guy call OJ introduced me to a Liberian called Timothy, and then we went to the Liberian embassy and OJ took us to Masterkraft and I started the production. I wanted to feature some Nigerians, but I didn’t know who, so, he got Flavour for me. Honestly, I thought it was a joke. But then, he took me to Flavour’s house; I heard my music in Flavour’s studio and I was surprised.
What was your experience during the war in Liberia?
I was in the US when the war started. But while people were running to the US, I was running back home. So, it was strange to people and they felt something was wrong with me. So, I came back to Liberia and I started advocacy. I visited different refugee camps, in different countries; I even came to Nigeria. It was in Nigeria that the Liberia Cry for Peace and The Crusaders for Peace were formulated at our embassy. So, Crusaders for Peace has been around for over 23 years, advocating for peace, health, social work and elections. I’ve disarmed soldiers and now they are working with me to tell the story. It has been a wonderful experience doing that.
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