The Big Apple and my twitter account were bustling this weekend as the NEAs were coming to town. It was all about where it was, who was going to be there, and who was going to be performing. The night before the awards show, I got a chance to catch up with several of the stars to find out what they had in store for their listeners in the near future.
Omawumi: I have several projects I’m working on right now. I did a lot of theater and made cameo appearances in movies, so I want to do more acting. The ultimate goal is to get in to feature films. My second album is in the works, and a few songs will be produced by Cobhams, just like the last album. There will definitely be a lot of collaborations with both A-list and unknown artists on the next album. Apart from mainstream work, I’m getting involved in a lot of charities like the Pink Pearl Breast Cancer Foundation, which is working to create awareness in women about the steps they can take to detect breast cancer early through regular screenings. Lastly, I am working on a project called ‘Chics for Christmas’ where female performers and comedians will come together and perform in a big Christmas production.
Jesse Jagz: I am planning to release a special edition of my album. It will have the same songs on it, but they will all be remixed and include collaborations with several individuals. Right now, I am in talks with 2Face, D’Banj, Wande Coal, Timaya, Rugged Man, and of course M.I. For now, it is just finding the right time to work together and release the tracks. I am also planning a University tour in Nigeria, and a UK tour. However, for now, I’ll be focusing on promoting and releasing videos off of the current album at least till the end of the year.
Lara George: When I asked her about the release date of her next album, she said I don’t think people realize that I do have an album out right now. That’s where all my attention will be on for the next few months. You can definitely pick up my album on iTunes.
When asked about their nominations, the general consensus was that they were all pleased to be nominated. However, there was also a very interesting response.
Omawumi: I know I have five nominations, and I am grateful for that. But everyone who was nominated wants to win something too.
Jesse Jagz: Everybody is excited to be nominated, but we all hope to win. To be frank, I’m not sure what I’m doing in the best rap category actually. It was Da Grin’s year and he should definitely take everything he was nominated for. But honestly speaking, I think I deserve to win Best New Act. Apart from that, I’m performing too so we basically came for the whole experience.
Lara George: I am really glad to be nominated and have the opportunity to come out here and perform. Winning would be extra icing on the cake.
Now, on the night of the actual awards ceremony, there was so much anticipation in the air that you could almost smell it. All the nominees came out looking gorgeous and fully prepared with their speeches in hand. I must say that I tried to pull out responses from them about what their acceptance speeches would sound like, but they were mostly tight-lipped. Well, except for M.I. who declared that he expected DaGrin and Jesse Jagz to take home awards. Interestingly enough, Jesse Jagz also jokingly said he hoped to pull a Kanye if he didn’t win. So I definitely had my eyes open and camera turned on in case any stunts happened.
But aside from the expected ‘African Time’ the night went smoothly, and there were some very interesting wins. Here are some of the highlights.
Best Album of the Year: Da Grin/CEO
Best New Act: Jesse Jagz
Best Gospel Artist: Lara George
Indigenous Artist of the Year: Nneka
Best Pop/R&B Artist: Omawumi
Best Rapper: M.I.
Best Soul/Neo Soul Artist: 2Face
Best International Producer: Kid Konnect
Best Actor in a Film/Short Story: Jim Iyke for The Shepherd / Dream Maker
Best Actress in a Film/Short Story: Nse Etim for Reloaded
Best World DJ: DJ Xclusive
Entertainment Personality of the Year: Keke and D1
For a complete list of the winners, visit the NEA website.
Though Da Grin did not win the best rapper award as expected, he did win the best album award. M.I. did honour him in his acceptance speech for the best rapper award. In the words of M.I., “even if we didn’t understand the language he was speaking, I think we have to agree that we all connected with him through his music.” And yes, right before his amazing performance, M.I. did confirm that he would be taking a break from music, but I guess we all guessed that would happen.
On the fashion front, Jim Iyke both presented and received his award wearing a questionable outfit that comprised of a white shirt, a black suit jacket complete with a red polka dot handkerchief in the front left pocket, and then topped off with knee length shorts and some black and white patent loafers. Half of us became fashion editors that night as we were tweeting away. He did use the opportunity to advertise his upcoming show ‘Jewel for Jim’.
Jim Iyke presenting an award
Omawumi, as it is the tradition for awards show hostesses, came out in a few outfits. My favorite though was the green dress she wore to receive the award for Best Pop/R&B artist.
Omawumi accepting her second award
But Lara George, winner of the Best Gospel artist award shone the brightest in a beautiful black and gold evening gown.
Lara George performs
There were also performances by Omawumi, Jesse Jagz, Tolumide, Lara George, 2Face, and a few other artists. The show ended with the crowd singing happy birthday to 2Face.
Jesse Jagz performs his new single
Apart from the performances, I also got a chance to catch up with rapper Yesi on the red carpet, as he arrived with the full crew on deck.
And then it was a wrap! For a special interview with the hostess Omawumi, check out my blog at http://eightsandweights.blogspot.com. Don’t forget you can catch me on twitter @eightsnweights.
Peep the full video version of the interview with Jesse Jagz below. There are also Pre-event interviews with MI & 2Face. These come courtesy of my special collaboration with Tope Adeyoju from View Naija
Suzanne Brume’s Interview with Jesse Jagz
Suzanne Brume’s Interview with MI
Suzanne Brume’s Interview with 2Face