Also known as Modupe-Oreoluwa Oyeyemi, the rapper first came into the music scene in 2009. Her signature tunes include Ko Ma Roll, If You Want Me and more recently, Survive.
Mocheddah talks about being signed by Knighthouse Entertainment music label at the age of 13, releasing her first single at 15 and gaining popularity at 17 before her university days at UNILAG. After about four years in the music industry, Mocheddah decided to take a break. According to the musician, “I saw other people living life and it became clear… I was 21, and I thought this was not a way to live. I didn’t watch movies anymore. I didn’t watch TV. I was missing out on life and that is when I stopped everything.”
I do not strive for fame, I want to get to a point where I am putting consistent music out there…
Although she made a comeback, her focus on music hasn’t been the same as she recently got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Bukunyi Olateru-Olagbeji, and ventured into other business including her clothing line, Mocheddah.co. Guardian Life caught up with Mocheddah, who talks about her departure from the music industry and her future plans for her brand.
How did you get your stage name Mocheddah?
My name has always been Mo, and for some reason when I started rapping I always said Mocheddah. I would go for interviews and the host would always introduce me as Mocheddah. Initially, I hated it and I am pretty good at saving money so people started calling me Mocheddah – initially, if it didn’t pay then I wouldn’t do it. When I made my first music video, Clarence Peters asked, “Why don’t you just use Mocheddah?”
How was your experience at UNILAG?
I won’t really say I went to UNILAG because I was popular when I went there, so it was literally class and studio so I didn’t have the time to explore. All I did was study and leave.
So your music career started before UNILAG?
I got signed to a label at 13, I would spend my holidays in the studio and school time at school. That was all I knew.
What prompted you to take the long break?
So when I was 21, I decided anything that doesn’t make me happy, I’ll stop it. I was lost and I knew I was clueless and overwhelmed. I told my mum I didn’t want to do this anymore because I didn’t know who I was. My friends were having fun, making mistakes, living life and I wasn’t. I was famous, I was popular, I had money, I could do what I wanted, and I had a lot of freedom.
What did you do during your break?
I did nothing. Of course, I was still recording music and going to the studio because music is my first love. I have over 50 to 100 songs recorded in my archives. I travelled to see friends. For me, that was fun because I did not have that luxury. Doing nothing was exciting, even though I still recorded music and went to the studio, I did it on my own time. I was an ambassador for several companies.
Have you had issues separating your current identity from your past? Let’s start with who you are now.
Mocheddah now has found a middle ground. Growing up, I was built to impress and put my first foot forward and competed with myself. It is not the same music people remember me for because what people do not understand is that it is a business. Right now I’m loving, so I am going to be singing love songs. I want to motivate young girls, so I sang Survive. I am just going to do what I want to do and if I make money fine and if I don’t fine.
Are you looking to get back to that level of fame again?
No, because I do not strive for fame, I want to get to a point where I am putting consistent music out there, but where I am running many businesses. I am a style consultant, I am a style influencer, I also do manage several brands, which people don’t know about. I want to build an empire and create job opportunities for many people.
Tell us how you got into fashion?
I always liked fashion and styled all my videos. Back then I didn’t have the luxury of hiring makeup artists and stylists, what I would do is go to Yaba market and boutiques, I would style myself. I also had sisters, luckily I could steal all their clothes. I feel like, with fashion, when you’re out of resources is when you are most creative.
What has been your major challenge establishing yourself in the fashion industry?
I have a fan base, which has made it easier. I had customers before I started and the only challenge I have is meeting orders, but I do not bite more than I can chew. I also have a factory and tailors that work for me. I can say one of the issues I have is the work ethic in Nigeria, which is really bad. The Nigerian youths are not ready to work, they do not know what it takes to get to the top so keeping staff is an issue because they keep coming and going.
So what’s the Mocheddah brand about now?
Right now I am running Mochedda.co, which has makeup, music and a blog. The blog has counsellors and gynecologists; we have different people contributing to the site. The idea of the blog is to allow young girls to have friends because what TV and social media are saying right now is the wrong energy. I feel like the blog Girls Girl is that cool, big sister telling you I know how you feel because I went through it and this is how you can handle it.
You recently got engaged, how is your wedding planning going?
I am excited and I have known him for a long time. He is my first boyfriend and now my fiancé! When I am upset, I just look at my ring and I’m like yeah, I am good! This is the happiest time of my life and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
What has been your highlight so far?
I feel like because I didn’t live for so long, now I am just doing what I want. The thing I love about my makeup videos, my fashion and blog is the fact that I am relating to people when I read and reply comments. Now I have customers who I communicate with. My highlight is speaking to customers or getting an email from my blog, and impacting lives.