Friday, 28 February 2014

Exclusive: ARA THE DRUMMER BREAKS THE BIGGEST SECRET OF HOW SHE LOST HER MARRIAGE


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Ara expressing her points frankly to asabeafrika
 Aralola Olamuyiwa aka Ara is one of Africa’s leading entertainer cum Musical icon. This beautiful and dynamical Nigerian artiste has come a very long way in her career of over two decades. Her dexterity at the talking drum which singles her out among legion of artistes in Africa is one of the unique factors that have endeared her to many fans across the world.

Aralola in a pose
Today Ara is an Ambassador to the City of Miami, Florida, USA and a respected voice across the entertainment sector in Nigeria and the United States of America. Couple of years back, she came into reckoning when she had what many industry watchers called a ‘tightening deal’ with Atunda Entertainment, an entertainment company managed by her kinsman and owner of Lacampagne Tropicana, Wanle Akinboboye. The whole deal, which kept her incommunicado without an album to her credit for so many years soon hit the rock after allegation and counter-allegations bordering on bad artiste management ethics and subsequently, threat to life became the order of the relationship.  Although the deal appeared to have soared her pedigree as she got fastened to mega events home and abroad. Ara was not only the highest paid act but equally shared stage with many world greats like John Wyclef, Steve Wonder and Wesley Snipes to mention a few. She was allover the world. But that came to a halt when she had it rough with the owner of her management company and had to go on exile at a point in time. On returning from exile after three years hiatus, Ara made news again with her marriage to Prince Olalekan Saliu, scion of the traditional ruler of Oworo Kingdom in Lagos state South West Nigeria, the union produced a son and crashed after three years over alleged irreconcilable differences.
Today, Ara is back stronger and better. She was the lead act in a recent centenary celebration of the Nigerian Woman under the auspices of First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan in Lagos. Ara has learnt it all; she has had a bad working experience, a bad marriage experience and graduated into a philosopher-Queen of sort. The mother of one is grateful to God for sparing her life and for giving her a new lease of life altogether; last year she recorded her first ever movie---Oshunfunke which has a storyline that catches the magnificent culture of the state of Osun, in South West Nigeria.

Aralola, a culture ambassador who has also diversified into corporate business consultancy, Fashion and Style consultancy and other interests, opened a fashion house Lola Atlantis World early in the year and a beauty outfit called Ara braid Clinic. She also runs an event company called Pro-Angle Ltd.  Ara in one of her frankest interview ever opened up to your Africa’s Number One Celebrity blog asabeafrika on a beautiful Saturday evening inside her posh office at Lola Atlantis somewhere in the heart of Lagos.  

Ara told us everything and anything on her past, present and future. She candidly opened up everything to asabefarika ranging from her broken marriage to every other issue that dotted her life in the past. In a breath she appears to share some of the opinions and philosophies of our immediately past celebrity and wife of Afro-Juju Music Creator, Sir Shina Peters, Sammie. She didn’t forget to tell us about her new movie Oshunfunke and why she still believes in Marriage. It is a mini biography of sort that we decide to run in three parts. Enjoy every bits of it.  

KEEPING A LOW PROFILE AND ASABEAFRIKA’S UNVEILING 
Ara who was sporting a black vest on a black underwear and looking splendid in her element chose to open up this way, hear her, “Let me say a big thank you for coming over because I know there are a hundred and one people you could be interviewing at the moment and yet you are here with me. I have not been out of circulation as such; I shot a video recently titled “Yanke”. It has been on the airwaves. It is a single and a lot of people love it. I just finished producing my first movie, Oshunfunke. I played the lead female role while Ricardo Agbor played the lead male role. We had beautiful casts like Doris Simon, Baba Wande, Muyiwa Londoner, Dejo Tunfulu, hip-hop star Olamide, Aunty Peju Ogunmola and quite a number of other very interesting people. It is quite an interesting movie and that has really kept me busy.

Of course I also opened a new boutique last December called Lola Atlantis World. I also have a saloon called Ara Braid Clinic where we do all kinds of air treatment, anything and everything about hair making. I also have an all purpose company known as Pro-Angle Nigeria Limited. So, I am very, very busy. Yes, I might not be in the news but truth is I don’t want to be in the news for the wrong reasons. I don’t believe in controversies, I believe in being productive and successful in whatever I do. For now, I see beyond my present state. I believe that whatever talents that has been given to you, there is a reason why you have been given that talent. And for me, I want to grow beyond being a singer or an entertainer. I want to affect people’s lives positively, whichever way I can do that. So, I stay away from all forms of controversies. Our business arm Pro-Angle does lots of Business Solutions; we do export and import and we are also into Events management and consultation. Of course we are into contracts and all that, it is an all-purpose business solution company and we thank God for our clientele base”.
ARA THE ARTISTE & BUSINESS WOMAN
Ara went ahead to educate us on the story behind her ability to do so many things at the same time “I have always been a very restless person since my younger days. It all started with the traditional drums from my primary school days in Ondo before the talking drum. And of course, there was Ola the singer at Even Ezra studios in 1998/99. My first video was “Which One you dey?” It was released by Femi Lasode in 1998/1999. And my first time on TV as a singer was in 1988/1989 on OSBC in Ondo state. So, it started way back then. So, I have always wanted to do different things. I have always wanted to be dynamic. I think that really explains why I am dipping my hands in different pies. And to be honest, if you take a critical look at the entertainment industry, you will discover that it is actually not what it seems to be. Because there is a lot of hype; there is a lot of make-believe and if you don’t want to associate yourself with certain group of people and you do not want to be associated with some kind of dirty scandals and all that, you must create your own niche. And I know I am blessed with some little intelligence, I am educated. God has given me something to open the door for me; to open the way for me. So, I will rather use that opportunity to my advantage and benefit and that is exactly what I am doing”.
Ara the Great

HOW I BECAME A MOVIE PRODUCER
The beautiful and creative woman explained the creativity behind her new work OshunfunkeOshunfunke was scripted few years ago. Being a cultural ambassador, I watched a lot of home videos and something readily cross my mind; we are not celebrating our culture through our movies. We are always showcasing our mediocrity; showcasing all kind of untrue sides of the Nigerian people. Nigerian people are the most faithful people ever; we have a good heart, we are hard working. We believe strongly in God even though a lot of people do not live a Godly life. So, for me, I said the culture of every Nigerian tribe, south, west, east, north everything is so deep, it is so beautiful and we need to showcase our tourist location and sites through our movies. Let the outside world know what we have.
Our culture is our identity; it is our DNA. We can not run away from it and the only way we can let them see it is through our movies. Let us tell our story through our movies and that was why I decided to go into Oshunfunke. I have four more movies to produce in that line. Through out the duration of the movie, we went to different tourist locations in the state of Osun and a lot of people were surprised at so many beautiful locations that they could visit on holiday. It is not until you fly out of Nigeria. There are so many beautiful tourist locations that you could go to; I was at my son’s PTA meeting sometimes ago and they were packaging a children trip to Ghana. I rose up my hand and said ‘I am sorry, my child have not seen Nigeria enough, why should I take him to Ghana? He has to go to Calabar, he has to go to Ekiti and Ikogosi Water Spring, and where else do you have that in the world? Where cold and warm water meet at a cross road? He has to go to Idanre Hills; he has to go to Olumo Rock. He has to go to the east and every other part of Nigeria to get a hint of history and where this country started from in the north, in the south west and elsewhere. There is so much to learn; so why should I take my son to Ghana? That is why I went into movie and the story is written in such a way that you will be kept in suspense. Of course, there is romance and other aspect. But the bottom line is that the movie is all about our cultural heritage that we have not even explore a half percent of it. That is the angle I am coming from”.

BEHOLD! NIGERIA’S HIGHEST PAID MUSICIAN WITHOUT AN ALBUM
We wanted Ara to tell us what she feels about her Musical career which seems to have gone sabbatical in the last couple of years but it seems the female drummer has a different opinion, hear her “No, my career is still very intact. You know in the entire twenty five years of my career as a musician, I have never released an album and a lot of people ask me, ‘Ara, how did you do it?’ and I say ‘listen, I am called’. Music chooses me, the drum chooses me and that is why I do things that depict my name, Ara.  I play A-list shows. I am the highest paid female artist in Nigeria. I can say that categorically.
My last show was recently at the centenary celebration of the Nigerian Woman; I was the main act of the evening, yes, my kind of music is so infectious and if you hear it, you won’t just believe it. I have well over eighty songs. But when the time comes, I will release them. For somebody like me, I have a very personal relationship with God and I don’t just do things. Today, it is because of you (asabeafrika) I created this time. I was supposed to go to the beach and sit down and meditate. That is me.  I love to do things once God gives me the direction and that is what gives you the real success; not face value success”.

MY WANLE AKINBOBOYE YEARS WAS A BONDAGE.
Ara making her point to asabeafrika.
One topic that the artiste hates to talk about is her experience with former Business manager and owner of Atunda Entertainments Wanle Akinboboye, in as much as she tried to shrug the topic under the carpet, asabeafrika made her to talk on it “You know I am somebody that likes to look at the bright side of things. I must give it to Wanle Akinboboye, he did a wonderful job with Ara but he got greedy. Wanle did absolutely well, the PR, everything, it was unprecedented in this country. He did very well but the human factor came into it. I was being paid thirty percent of whatever was coming in at the time. And the contract was for six years but I left without a dime because I was structured in such a way that I couldn’t just be free with anything. If I needed just ten thousand naira, I have to sign. So, it was a kind of bondage. But like I said, I am a chosen one. Even in all of that, God still brought me out of it and I was released to the world as ARA. It is actually my name, it is not a stage name it is my real name. So, I wouldn’t go out of my way and say Wanle Akinboboye is a bad person. I chose to see the better side and that is my honest submission on the whole episode”.

BLACK MAN SYNDROME? NO!
For many observers of the Ara episode with her former boss Wanle Akinboboye, the controversies that erupted after she made a move to leave the company could be related to the black man syndrome of “Not letting go anything that is seen as a meal ticket”. But again, Ara has a different view “No, not every black man is like that, not every black man is like that. Like I initially said, I am an optimist by nature. I often chose to see the good side and not the bad side of things. I believe that when you are building a house, everybody has a role to play. Carpenters, bricklayers, painter; a bricklayer can not do the job of a carpenter. Likewise a painter will not do the job of a bricklayer.  I believe he (Wanle) did his part and probably he was trying to do the part of other people and he just couldn’t do that. In fairness to him, I will say that, he did well, yes, we had terrible times.
The truth of the matter is that, nobody, none of the band people that left had any good thing to say.  I, however, have a whole lot to say but I will better let all those memories go away and not even think about them but just concentrate on the good side. Today, I have my life, I have my career. The Lord has returned everything to me in a million fold, everything that was taken away from me has been restored because I left him (Wanle Akinboboye) without a dime. I had to run out of Nigeria”.

HOW GOD KILLLED MY SEXUAL URGE.
Her leaving Atunda Entertainment was said to have equally put her life in danger as several threats were made on her life and most of her belongings seized until she was able to escape abroad, we pressed her to relate some of the experiences to us and she did “Yes, it was when I got out (Abroad) that I got to know that people were afraid for me; a lot of people came up to me and told me many things. And I was shocked; all the while I was close to God but I wasn’t this close to God and even as little as close as I was to God, I will see things before they happen. He will reveal these things to me and then, I fast a lot. I don’t joke with fasting because it empowers me spiritually. Then, one great thing that God has been able to do for me, I cried to Him and said “God, slow my sexual appetite” and He did that for me. Because abstinence helps you to build your spiritual life and allows you do exploits in the spiritual realm and I thank God for that because it is not easy. It is not. And I think I have been able to go through all that because I am not moved by material things.  Because I see beyond this planet earth, it is just a transition.
There is somewhere we are going and there is none of these things that we will take with us. I have a hummer jeep, I have other good things of life but I can not take any of these things with me to the next place. So, why would I let that dictate who I am or how I relate with people? No. I think Nigerian leaders should imbibe this attitude and know that none of these material things you are acquiring will be taken anywhere. Let us use it to better the lives of our people. Build the roads, hospitals, create jobs and beautify our country. Materialism can not help you; it is the development of humanity that will help you. Yes, I know it is not easy to run even a state. I run like three to five businesses now, and I can tell you that it is not easy. So, I give it to them but they need to do better for the masses”.

MY EXILE IN THE U.S &SPIRITUAL REVELATIONS
Ara
Ara told us more on why she decided to leave Nigeria after she had it rough with her former management, Atunda Entertainment and how the development led to the birth of her only son. It is the biggest revelation she ever gave to a media. “I was in Iceland and it was on that trip that I found out that I was pregnant.  Yeah, and from there I went to the United States for a church program. I didn’t even know it was my due time because it was my first pregnancy. And on a particular day, in the morning, I had a spiritual experience. This is a very personal one for me but I will share it with you. Some friends of mine were to come and pick me to go and watch the sun rise; it was around 5:30am and we were in Key-West, Florida; they picked me up at home. Don’t forget that this was a period I was going through a lot of tribulations in my life and I was just abroad to enable me while away time. As we were in the beach front, praying, a white woman just came to me and held me from the back, she said ‘when are you due?’ and I looked at her, it was strange.

And I said to her “Two months’ time”. She smiled and said “God said I should tell you, it is well, do not be afraid”. I looked at her and asked ‘do you live here?’ She said ‘no’. That she was from Atlanta.  She said ‘I have to go now’ and she hugged me. From her looks, she was like in her fifties, and then she left me and followed a group of white people and disappeared into another direction. So, I now asked my friends, ‘did you see the woman that just spoke with me now?’ And they said “Were you with some one?” So, I just kept quiet and I knew that something just happened. That evening, I went for a church revival; an all akata (White people’s) church. Jamo-akata church and as I was stepping in, the prophetess called me and said “You, you, yeah, you”, I was wearing a blue bou-bou adire cloth. She described me and asked me to come and kneel down. She said “God said I should tell you”, take note, that was the second time in a day. “That I should tell you it is well, do not be afraid”. So, she started prophesying and I started crying and I went back to my seat.  That evening, I went home and slept; the following morning, I started having pains on my leg. I went to the hospital and said “I don’t know what is wrong with my right leg” and by the time they checked me, they said I had to be admitted. And by the time the doctor checked me out, I was three centimeter diluted. I was in labor, I didn’t know. I wasn’t feeling anything.  
My doctor was out of town and I insisted on a female doctor. It was a very difficult one but unfortunately when the baby was to come, I was just frowning because it was a male doctor that was around. So, the nurse now told him that I have complained to her that I don’t want a male doctor but the guy was like ‘hey, don’t worry, don’t worry, we are professionals’. He was a Jew, a Jewish doctor. Dr. Peterson; so, by the time he came in, I was half time into labor but I was not feeling anything because I only came for the church program, I was to return to Ice-land. So, I waited. By afternoon, they said they have to take the baby out because they were monitoring him; they said he was coming out, he wasn’t stopping and a helicopter was on standby because Key West is an island. They had to fly me to Miami (Ara is a Special Ambassador of the city of Miami), so, later in the evening, they operated me and brought my baby out and when I saw him, I was enveloped with joy.

That was the first time I believe I fell in love because I wasn’t expecting to see him that day. I knew he was a boy because I have had revelations about him, I had seen him. From the day I knew I was pregnant, he became my prayer partner. We pray; so the moment they placed him in my hand, I said, ‘so you are the one that has been praying with me all this while? I held his hand and said ‘let us pray’. That was the first thing I said to him, and we prayed together. And after the prayer, I lifted him up and said “Father, you gave me. He is not mine, he is yours”. Igba ta  ba gbe leyin lowo, kii fo. Awo ta ba gbe leyin lowo kii faya, “I give him back to you” and I removed everything he had on him, I removed everything I had on me (Became naked) and I laid him on my chest and I wept. Tears of joy; and since then, my boy is going to be five next month, he still sleeps on my chest. That bond, it is so strong.  So, a lot of things happened that I will not be able to tell you. I will just keep it to myself, how I spent my time in exile and how I returned to Nigeria, it was one huge chapter of my life that cannot be forgotten in a hurry. But we thank God”.

(Watch out for How I lost my marriage by Ara to break on this blog in 48hrs time)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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