+ Unveils all-girl band, G-Factor
ONYEKACHI Elizabeth Gilbert Onwuka, better known as Yeka Onka is the maiden winner of Nigerian Idol. Smiling home in 2011 with all of N7.5m cash prize, a recording deal with Sony and all-expense paid trip to South Africa, the Ohafia, Abia born beauty has since become a music star.
ENCOMIUM Weekly ran into the sonorous-voiced singer and the University of Calabar graduate of History and International Relations at the Port Harcourt International Airport on Saturday, July 19, 2014. We first took her on her beautiful performance at the MBGN 2014 held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Yeka Onka also explained why she is passionate about the less privileged children and how she’s coping in the highly competitive Nigerian music industry.
The founder of G-Factor, Nigeria’s first all-girl band equally unveiled the group, while highlighting what inspired its formation.
On love life, Yeka Onka sensationally revealed her kind of man thus: “I’m not looking for an angel to fly down from heaven and say hey, I’m here to marry you. He, however, has to be God fearing and born again. I’m not tribalistic. So, he can be Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba or any tribe. He has got to be very hard working, charismatic and handsome.”
You put up a wondrous performance at the MBGN 2014 held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday, July 19. We are sure you appreciate all the accolades that came with it?
Sure. It feels very exciting. It was an amazing experience. And I feel honoured to be on that stage with music stars like Timi Dakolo, Seyi Shay, Patoranking and others.
Why were you particularly concerned about helpless children in the song you performed?
In our country, we ignore a lot of things. We just see the less privileged children as part of life without caring about them. You see kids going hungry and everybody pretend it’s normal and okay. Hey, you don’t have to wait for another Chibok situation before you speak up or think about what to do for our girls (kids). Every child is ours. You don’t just have to take care of only your kids. There are many out there who need help. I just feel we are not doing enough for the kids.
So, that inspired your song, Help?
Yes. The song, Help is to create the awareness of the things we are supposed to do to create the change we want to see in Nigeria particularly and the world at large.
Help is a single?
Singing is one thing, but are there things you are doing offstage to help out?
In my little way, I visit orphanages to show love to the less privileged children. I give the little I have to encourage them. I even have my favourites at orphanages. We all should endeavour to step out and make provisions for these kids. When we all do this, we won’t have a problem in future.
Do you have an NGO to actualize this?
I don’t have to go into all that to help out. We all can do our part without NGOs.
Let’s talk about your music career. How has it been?
It’s not easy but God is on my side. I will keep pushing. I have an all-girl band, G-Factor, the first of its kind in Nigeria.
How many are you?
Girl Factor (G-Factor) is made of 10 artistes.
Can you tell us more about them?
They are just your every day girls. G-Factor band members are Mozart (piano), Helen (guitar), Blessing (bass guitar), Topsticks (drums), Peppy and Fabian (horns), Miss LA, Kemi and Twitty (back-up vocals).
What inspired the band?
I just wanted to have more role models for young girls. When I was a younger girl, I wanted to learn to play all the instruments but because there was nobody to inspire me, I couldn’t learn any of them.
But you performed alone at the MBGN?
I’m actually a live performer but I couldn’t come with G-Factor because of logistic factors.
Are you guys regularly engaged?
Yes. We performed at NLNG, Bonny Island, Rivers State last Christmas. We were doing regular shows at Rhapsody at the Ikeja Shopping Mall, but we had to stop because it wasn’t all that good for our image. We felt it was watering down our brand.
What’s up with G-Factor right now?
We just have to keep rehearsing to be better.
When are you dropping your debut album?
You’ve recorded loads of songs, we guess?
Yes, I have.
So, where are you headed?
To the top, of course. And I’m getting there sooner than they would imagine.
There is a fierce competition in the music industry right now. What’s the edge you have over the large number of equally talented artistes, especially the female singers?
God is my edge. Like you rightly observed there is a whole lot of talented acts. For me, the industry is very big and it can take everybody. And by the special grace and mercy of God, I will hit it big someday.
Your name, Yeka Onka is strange, where are you really from?
I’m from Ohafia, Abia State. Yeka Onka is my stage name. My real name is Onyekachi Elizabeth Gilbert.
So, what’s the relationship with Yeka Onka?
People forget my name Onyekachi easily. So, I shortened it to Yeka. Onka was my father’s stage name.
Your father was also a singer?
He was a musician. I attended Girls High School, Aba. I just graduated from the University of Calabar.
What did you study?
History and International Relations.
What is your relationship status?
Whenever you are ready for marriage, what kind of man would you be looking out for?
I’m not looking for an angel to fly down from heaven and say hey, I’m here to marry you. He, however, has to be God-fearing and he has to be born again. I’m not tribalistic. So, he can be Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba or any other tribe. He has got to be hard working, charismatic and handsome.
You won the maiden edition of the Nigerian Idol in 2011?
What was the prize?
A brand new car and N7.5 million.
You’ve finished all your money?
(Laughs) Its three years now. People spend one million naira within some seconds.
We are sure you invested wisely. Which is paying more now?
I invested in property and it’s never a bad investment.
So, you are grateful to God Almighty for the decision to invest wisely?
I’m grateful to God Almighty, who has brought me this far and I pray He would keep lifting me higher.