The name Cynthia Morgan has been a constant fix on the play list of club and radio disc jockeys across Africa since 2013, rocking major dance floors and parties in the process. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, the Edo State born rapper and singer spoke on the challenges of being under the same management team with P’Square, her music, family, sex and first kiss as well as plans to dominate the music scene in no distant time.
TELL us, how did music start for you? I started music at a very tender age from the children choir in my church and grew into the youth choir. Professionally, I started recording when I was 16. But I actually started doing back-up for my mother at the age of 15 because she is one of the biggest gospel artistes from Benin City.
What is her name?
Her name is Sherifat Morgan and she is still recording till now. I wanted to prove to my family that my music talent is real. I went to the studio to record a seven-track demo album. It was my mother who listened to it and gave me thumbs-up that I have got the talent. Sadly, those songs in the album never saw the light of day.
Since your first Demo album never saw the light of day, when was the first time you put out a song professionally?
That will be the song I did with General Pype and I was 17 years old then. The track was called Stepping.
How old are you now?
I am 23 and still holding it down.
I thought your first major job was Run Their Mouth which Jhybo featured you on
Not at all, Run Their Mouth was in 2009.
This is 2015, and you have great tracks like Am Taken and Don’t Break my Heart already rocking the airwave. How will you describe your journey so far?
Wow, it has been challenging. If I say it has not been, I will be lying to you. My journey so far has been defined by the challenges of growing up, not only in terms of age. Like I said, I started at 17 and now I am 23. I have also grown in terms of my craft, the business aspect of showbiz and the hassles of having to live the life of a star.
Growing as a female artiste has its own unique challenges but I thank God for the brand I have. I have been able to prove myself, I think, to the point where I am no more seen just as a female artist but as a talented Nigerian star that has the ability to contribute my quota in globalising Nigerian music.
You were quoted somewhere to have said you will exceed the musical achievements of the likes of P’Square, Tuface, D’banj and other new generation pathfinders of Nigerian music. With what you have achieved so far, will you say you are on course?
I’m one hundred percent confident that I am on course. And I think there is no young artiste who should not aspire to be greater than these guys that have open doors internationally for us. Take for instance, when the likes of P’Square started, there was no semblance of structure. It was war before you will be heard outside the shores of Nigeria. But the case is different in our own era. I just began and I already have a humongous fan base in countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and other foreign countries. Even the twins (P’Square) are proud of what I have been able to achieve in no time. The reality is that this is just the beginning.
When North Side Entertainment came along to sign you and you realised you were going to be under the same management with P’Square, did you not feel or are you not feeling any pressure to deliver?
A whole lot of people have been asking me ‘how have you been able to cope with these guys that are known globally and I tell you what I say to them: ‘I have never been under the shadow of P’Square from day one and even when it was time to break out into the market, I did not fly under their wings.’ I never did that baby P’Square thing. Anywhere they are, I will be there. It is a mentality my people are proud of. I just let my work speak – not that Nigerians should listen to me because P’Square said so. In fact a whole lot of people do not know I am with P’Square.
The pressure is from me, because I work, knowing they are the biggest in Africa and I cannot afford to be less than that. That is the only pressure I feel. People have been asking, ‘when will you do a song with P’Square since you have them at your beck and call?’ And I tell them I am not a baby P’Square. I am working and they are working. I know when they listen to my materials they are the ones that will say Cynthia, you no won put us for your album?
Are you that confident?
Yes of course, they must indicate interest first. In fact they need to beg me to be in my album and I will have to see if it is possible. I am not just going to feature them because I have access to them or because we are under the same management.
Every time you appear on Television or release pictures for the media you exude sex. Even in your lyrics, you do the same thing, so much that one will look at you and say she can’t do without sex, how often do you have sex?
Hahaha… I know I am sexy but that doesn’t mean I am an addict.
But your lyrics in the song Am Taken suggest that?
When I said I am taken, I am talking about being taken by my fan. I am like bait and my fans have taken me. Right now, I am in charge and cruising. I was not talking about ‘being’ taken by any man.
But do you have a boyfriend?
Yes, I do have a boyfriend.
Can you tell us about him? Is he a fellow musician or is he in the industry?
That is a strictly a no-go area and I will appreciate we keep it that way.
You work with three very attractive men in your label. Have you ever experienced any form of sexual harassment or don’t you have a crush on any of them?
Paul and Peter are like my big brothers while Jude (our manager) is my father. So, there is just no way I can develop a sexual relationship with any of them, because we are one big happy family.
The level where our business has got to is such that they don’t see me as a fine girl and I do not find them attractive too. If them wan babe I go help them find. Please no let their wives see this one oh. That’s a joke o. What am I even saying? If I sleep with any member of P’Square, it will amount to nothing short of incest.
Now, to you, Queen Ure and the song title Popori, what is the full story?
I do not really have much to say other than she wanted relevance and I gave it to her. I am actually very glad that I was able to help her because I gave her followers on twitter and Instagram. She now has a reason to be interviewed on radio, television and newspapers. I just want to clarify one fact. My song Popori was never banned. It is on massive rotation on radio. My team never bothered to look into the matter because she is just a mediocre. Come to think of it, how can you say you own a word? The word Popori is a well-known slang in the south-south of Nigeria.
In 2014, you were one of the major young talents that stood out. We will like you to share with us your plans for 2015?
Last year was really very exciting, but by the grace of God 2015 will be better. I am very excited because my debut album will be released by the end of April. I have been doing a lot of collaboration too. I just finished the remix of Nawti with Olu Maintain, featuring myself and Seyi Shay. I have another one with Wizzy Pro featuring Banky W and I. Then, there is another one with Ill Bliss. Legendry Beats also featured me alongside WizKid and Patoranking. So, I have about eight collaborations coming out before the end of first quarter.
On a personal note, I will be dropping two songs and two videos as well as new photographs for 2015 before the second week of February. So, the plan is to simply build momentum till we release the album.
Do you have a title for the album yet?
Not yet, we are still working on that too.
Fans should expect two new videos from you in February but the entire nation – Nigeria is expecting elections in February. Do you have your permanent voters’ card (PVC) and what is your take on celebrities who are into politics – either by vying for public office or using their star power to support politicians?
I do not criticise because to hold public office or aspire for one is not a child’s play. But one thing I will like to say is that as celebrities, they should remember to ask themselves the question, ‘what positive thing have I done with my star power?’ Who have you helped before you start running for elections?
As for PVC, I have collected mine and will surely go out that day and vote. Please, help me urge all Nigerians and my fans to go out and vote on that day.
If you were not into music what will you have been?
I would have read medicine and gone into politics later in life. Even now that I am a musician, I will still go into politics when I come of age.
What is your most memorable childhood experience?
That will be when I lived with my grandparents and the love and care they showed me not forgetting the discipline. Also, how my mother was always very strong for us because I was raised by only my mom. She had to play mom and dad for me at the same time.
Were they divorced or did he die?
No, he is very well and alive.
So, what is your relationship like with him?
Not good at all.
My dad is a story for another day and I am not a story teller, so let’s leave it.
So, how old were you when you had your first kiss?
I was ten. There was this half caste boy in my church that was a bit older than me. I liked him and he liked me too. He was the one that gave me my first kiss but we did not see again after then because he moved back to Germany. I do not think if we see ourselves now, we can recognise each other.