For reggae dancehall artiste, Maryam Shuaibu, who goes by the moniker, May Shua, music was simply a pastime that grew into passion, she tells glamtush.
When did your love for music begin?
Music hit me like an action movie, I didn’t see it coming. It was sudden and it started in my 200 level when I was studying accounting at Lead City University, Ibadan. Back then, I started doing it to while away time during leisure. But with time after school, I realised that the passion was so strong, I had to turn it into a profession. So basically, that was how I found myself in music and I have been singing for almost five years now. And my brand of music is reggae dancehall.
Is there any hit track?
Yes, I have two. One is titled Bad Gal and the second one is a commercial song titled, Yeghe, which means shake in Edo language and it features Oritse Femi.
How do you get inspiration?
If you are creative, you subconsciously think out of the box, you don’t need to force it. It just comes naturally and if you are honest with your passion, you can tap into anything around you. Passion drives you at the end of the day.
Tell us about your growing up?
I will say growing up for me was quite balanced because both of my parents are disciplinarians. My mother is a journalist, she works with Radio Nigeria and my father was in the army. So basically I was brought up in a very disciplined manner.
Coming from such a disciplined background what was the reaction of your parents when you told them about your music career?
My mum was the first person I told because obviously she is more into entertainment working in the media. I knew she would definitely understand more than my dad would. So when I told her, she wasn’t shocked surprisingly because music runs in her maternal family. She agreed to give me her full support but with the deal that I must do well in school which I did. My mum managed me for about four years between 2010 and 2014, I changed management this year. But it took my dad by surprise. He probably thought it was youthful exuberance. But when he saw that three, four years later past and I am getting to the fifth year and my passion for music is even getting way deeper, he knew it was really passion. In a nutshell I am getting great support morally and physically from both parents.
Given the teeming number of stars in the entertainment, do you think there are real prospects for breakthrough?
At the end of the day, originality speaks louder than noise. If you hype a copied product or an imitation, the noise will be heard quite well but it will soon fade. Originality is evergreen. The attention I have been getting so far in the industry is because of my originality. I come with a fresh sound, I basically speak confidence, I am fluent and people tell me they love that. Probably that is not what they get to see everyday in the industry. So when I bring that on stage, the applause I get, the smiles I get all keep me going.
What do you consider your unique selling point?
Well for me, I don’t intend to blow my trumpet. But people say my looks, voice and education as well. It also has to do with focus, balancing and knowing what you want. These all adds to the entire package. And since I know I am promoting originality, I am definitely going to give my fans what they haven’t seen before.
Do you have any mentor in the industry?
Honestly, I describe all artistes as a piece of a pie. Once you want to eat out of a pie, you take out a triangular slice. Imagine taking out a slice that represents D’banj, Tuface or MI, definitely that pie will not be complete. And I am not looking to miss out on any flavour, so that makes everybody an important piece of the pie. I look at them in the big picture, so, I take out each quality I want in each individual. So they all play a very important role in all honesty.
How would you describe your style on stage?
I’m a very angry lyricist. I basically do not smile on the microphone. I sing with so much authority and confidence it just holds the audience. The basic target is for people to hear and listen to me.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
At the end of the day everything is a growing process. That will just be like writing a fairy tale. If I say I want a private jet now, it is something that will come with hard work and success. So, basically I am on that milestone and I can definitely see it right in front of me.
Talent or ambition, which one matters more to success?
Talent is driven by ambition which brings success in my world. So, both of them go hand-in-hand.
Is the ponytail your signature look?
Yes, basically I do different styles of ponytails because it projects my face. So I’m trying to put my face out there and make people recognise the brand better.
If you had a coat of arms, what would be on it?
The first thing I can think about is a symbol of sunshine in the background to show that everything is bright because even if you check May Shua out as a person or artiste, I love to combine a lot of bright colours. When I see bright colours, it reminds me of cartoons from childhood. Remembering cartoons from childhood gives me a very happy feeling, it just tells you everything will be alright.
What is your relationship with Denrele Edun?
He is a very good friend of mine. We are very good pals and that’s about it.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Amazing, intellectual and sure – those are the words.
In what place are you happiest?
In my room when I am alone. I am always very happy when I have my privacy, it is priceless because then I can think, look into the mirror and reflect on things that will be uninterrupted by the rest of the world. I am a very deep person and as a lyricist you always like your time alone, it helps you organise yourself more.