The Nigerian music industry seems not to be quite favourable to women and this accounts for the reason why most female talented acts easily quit.
Erstwhile singer, Mo’Cheddah who is praised as one of the first female pop heavyweights in the Nigerian music industry has finally opened up on the cause of her early retirement.
Mo’Cheddah came to fame as a teenager in the 2000s after her Sauce Kid aided track, Won Beri made its way to become a national anthem of sorts, shooting her from oblivion to a consequential voice in the music sphere. The singer continued to rise and won an MTV Africa Music Awards in the ‘Best New Act’ category, and the then-coveted Channel O Awards.
The singers run was, however, was short-lived as she made a questionable exit from the music scene. “Where is Mo’Cheddah?”, fans questioned. Nearly seven years later, the singer has finally opened up on the events that led to her early exit.
Speaking in a new episode of Dang Monologue, a video series that finds people speaking their truth, Mo’Cheddah revealed that she decided to retire from music after realizing that it made her unfulfilled. She went on to reveal that the pressure and demands of being a celebrity caused her to lose herself and eventually fall into a deep depression and become suicidal.
“What broke me was that when I left my label… people chose to pick sides and obviously it wasn’t mine. I will never forget I was in my bedroom and I broke down. It was a week of shows and I was at home for that day, the next day I was to go to Ghana and I got a BBM that you had to come to the studio right now.
I just wanted to lay down, I was to go to Ghana the next day to record and perform, I just wanted to lay down… and it all dawned on me at that moment that I wasn’t living and even if I got to that place I was going, I will be so sad and miserable. I was crying and I told my then boyfriend, [my husband now] and I told him I didn’t want to do this anymore.
There was a big family meeting and I told my Mum to get me a lawyer… so I have known these men since I was like three, I have known them, they were amazing to me and they came for me because of money, at that time I was 21 and I was fighting a legal battle with people I called my brothers… That was when I knew the world was really messed up, that was when I knew I was on my own.
…I felt as I had failed, especially because I had thought that business will pick up. They had so much hate for me, they started bad-mouthing me to people to companies, to producers, so I was kind of blacklisted, so you know all that time people were saying, where is Mo’Cheddah, nobody wanted to work with me because they hated me and they wanted to do everything in their power to ruin me and I felt God forsook me, sadness consumed me.
I googled ”there is this darkness inside me” and I saw a lot of people had it, they were talking about depression.
The only reason I did not kill myself, first I didn’t know how I will kill myself. I thought about it so many times… I thought of drowning myself in the 3rd Mainland bridge, at times I wanted it to be quick, so I will be praying that God should just kill me.”
Speaking further on her exit, she posited that the music industry was hostile. It didn’t matter if she was a teenager, people treated her with disdain and spite.
“I was coming from a naive, God-fearing (environment) where people were so honest, people were so truthful… I was such a cutie then I went into the world of adults, and I was basically thrown into a jungle, and people didn’t care if I was 16, they attacked me. The industry was hostile. I would enter a room for instance… I’m sixteen, I’m seventeen and a forty-year-old would look at me and say; “look at you”. I would go for a show and a grown adult would say; “I am going to perform before her”. I would be performing and they would turn off my mic because the A-list doesn’t like me. I didn’t get it, I didn’t know there was hate”