A lot of people receive praises that they are ‘true artistes’. Sometimes they match up to the title, but oftentimes, they don’t. Ajumoke Nwaeze is one of the very few who match the description of a true artiste. From music to acting, writing and production, AJ (Apple Juice), as she likes to be called, has done it all.
Born as the seventh child in a family of twelve in the city of Port Harcourt, AJ quickly realised that she loves the arts. A talented girl who never took a class in singing, but just instinctively knew what to do. AJ has worked in almost every capacity (craft and art-wise) you can think of, and she’s still putting in the work.
She has never been scared to take chances. This explains why years after getting a BSc in Genetics and Biotechnology from the University of Calabar to please her dad, she’s now back in school, getting a PGD in Mass Communication. It’s also the reason why she has taken herself through numerous auditions and competitions just to get a shot at being Africa’s greatest singer.
Her journey is filled with artistic value, upward movement and growth. Here’s how it goes!
AJ has been singing since she was a child, starting by using her father for target practice.
‘My name is Ajumoke Nwaeze. I am from Rivers state. A lot of people think I am Yoruba because of the ‘Ajumoke’ and so I decided to stick to the first two initials of my name to make it easy – AJ, a.k.a Apple Juice.
I grew up in a large family. I am the seventh child in a family of twelve. I have nine siblings. I grew up in Port Harcourt and I started singing early. I remember always singing my dad to bed. He would request that I should sing him to sleep, so I used to know a lot of lullabies. Then at the age of eight, I joined the children choir, and the rest is history.’
AJ’s earliest musical influences also came from her father who used to play tracks from Shina Peters, Don Williams, Ras Kimono, Brenda Fasi, and Yvonne Chaka Chaka every morning. But she discovered RnB by herself and has loved it ever since.
‘As I grew older, I started listening to Destiny’s Child. And then, when Destiny’s Child split, I followed Beyonce and her journey. Beyonce became the first role model that I would always listen to, and I learned most of her songs. I really started with Beyonce, and then I moved to Whitney Houston, and I just liked those kinds of singers. Then Adele came, and I loved Adele as well, and Asa because I play the guitar’.
AJ discovered that she liked writing stories and songs almost at the same time she realised she could sing. She started writing music by changing the lyrics of secular songs she liked to gospel lyrics. But she didn’t begin writing stories for public consumption until 2012.
‘I’d listen to a Destiny’s Child’s song, and be like I can sing it, but I’m from a Christian home, and sometimes, I couldn’t sing such songs. So I’d convert them to Gospel, and that was my first experience writing music; changing contemporary to Gospel while using the same melody.
In 2012, I started a blog. I wasn’t a great writer. I just knew that I could talk and tell interesting stories. I decided to open a blog and just write. I used to write stories – my daily encounters, stories about people, etc. I used to write them the way I talk so it wasn’t professional, but it was my blog. I would post it to share with my friends. I would write short stories, fictional stories, etc. They were quite immature, but they were okay for a starter.’
That blog eventually opened the door to AJ’s journey as a writer and an author. She shares how she took a surprising career turn saying,
‘I wrote on the blog for about 2 years. In 2014, a friend of mine sent me a link for a residency application for UNESCO World Book Capital. I didn’t think I was a good enough writer, but she told me to try it out anyway. I went back to my blog to go through most of the stories I’d written. I picked one of the stories, brushed it up, and submitted it. I was one of the 12 resident writers picked for UNESCO World Book Capital.
It was amazing because it brushed me up and made me a writer. We were trained by veterans in the industry, and we went through a lot of processes. After my 1-year experience as a UNESCO World Book Capital Resident, I started working as a freelance writer for different online platforms. I was a writer and editor at BOSS Nigeria, BOSS Ghana, and BOSS South Africa. I’d also write on my blog at times. I wrote and published 3 short stories, ‘Thirty Flavours of Apple Juice’, ‘The Pretty Teen: A story About A Teenage Call Girl’, and ‘Songhai 12’.
Even though she came to realise the power of the pen only in 2012, AJ had always known that she wanted to sing for the rest of her life. In 2007, she decided she wanted to do music professionally. She describes that moment saying,
‘I knew I wanted to do music when I went for my first music audition in 2007. It was the first-ever West African Idol. I went for the audition and I was just an upcoming singer. I had no professional training or special trick. After my audition, Dan Foster and Nana said I wasn’t up to the standard that they were looking for. I left that place and said I’m going to be a singer. I decided that I want to do music full-time.’
Since that time, AJ has gone on to appear in different reality shows. She even won ‘Star Quest’ in 2008. After ‘Star Quest’, she appeared on ‘Nigerian Idol’ in 2011 and made it to top 10, and ‘The Voice’ in 2017 (although her audition and time on the show never aired). Apart from music shows, she also appeared on ‘The Next Titan’, an entrepreneurial show in 2015, where she was second runner-up.
AJ agrees that part of the reason why she has been on so many shows is because she loves to be on TV. That is one of the reasons why she has also featured in a couple of movies. She says,
‘I would want to do movies. I would want to act, as well as produce, and last year, I had cameos in 2 movies. One is ‘Phases’ by Ndani, where I was a chef. I also had a cameo in Ndani’s ‘Fractured’, where I acted the part of a specialist doctor. I’m also into production because I work at Ndani as an associate producer, and I worked on ‘Skinny Girl In Transit’. I also worked on ‘Fractured’ as well. I have done both, and it’s something I’ll continue to do. Because I sing and I love music, what I want to do in terms of production is a musical, like Glee, High School Musical, etc.’
AJ enjoys her job as a producer at Ndani TV because it allows her to experience every aspect of the entertainment industry she loves so much. Talking about her job as a producer, she says:
‘I was working at GTBank as a content creator and a digital marketer, and they own Ndani. After I worked there for over 2 years, I wanted something new, fresh, creative, very close to me. I decided to make the switch to Ndani TV as a producer, but I had never done production before on that scale. I started by learning the ropes.
In the sense of helping my music, I was handling the music shows. I was doing – ‘The Mix’ and ‘Ndani sessions’, also ‘The TGIF show’. It was nice working with different music artistes. One of the reasons I wanted to do production was because I know it’s all entangled together.’
Working with all of these artistes made AJ crave her days in the studio, and she is back to producing and releasing music. She has decided to become more intentional about her music. She explains what that means saying,
‘I told myself I was gonna be more consistent because it felt like I had lost touch with music. You know, chasing money and working with corporate organisations kind of made me do music less. I told myself I was going to embark on a journey where I put out music on the 4th of every month. The reason I chose that day is that I was born on the 4th of June.
I put up ‘Live Up’ featuring The Cavemen on August 4th. I put up ‘For My Head’ on the 4th of September. So basically, I’m recording, doing artworks, doing stuff. I just want to be consistent. I want to be back on the music scene because music is actually what I want to do. I want to do this full-time. I want to be back in people’s faces. So the project is putting out one song, every month, on the 4th of the month.’
She is actively and consciously working on putting out music. She intends to continue releasing great music that appeals to the soul. The process is difficult and expensive because she isn’t signed to a record label. AJ simply believes that the more music she puts out, the more likely she is to attract a label or sponsor, and finally, reach her goal.
Taking to Instagram to mark the occasion, Ibrahim Suleiman shared a cheesy video of him and Linda and expressed his love for her.
I blinked, and it’s been two years already. crazy part is, I’m still super excited to wake up next to you, and to run home to you every evening.
thank you for being my Sunshine, and thank you for giving me my Sonshine!
I love you, Sweetcheeks. but most importantly, I really REALLY like you.
May His light never leave your heart. God bless you for me.
The president and founder of Anap Foundation, Atedo Peterside has reacted to the decision of the federal government to allow Aliko Dangote and his company, Dangote Cement export goods.
He expressed that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected people.
Peterside was reacting to news that the federal government has granted Dangote Cement a waiver to export cement through the closed land borders.
Also Read: ‘$3M Is A Lot Of Money Even For Dangote’, Gimba Kakanda Knocks Davido
He wrote on his Twitter page:
“Allowing legitimate exporters & importers to move their goods across the border should be a no-brainer,” Peterside, who is also the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank, wrote in a tweet.
“Why refuse everybody else & allow only one company (Dangote)? This is why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons.”
Allowing legitimate exporters & importers to move their goods across the border should be a no-brainer. Why refuse everybody else & allow only one company (Dangote)? This is why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons
— Atedo Peterside (@AtedoPeterside) November 10, 2020
The post Dangote Waiver: Nigeria Is Rigged In Favour Of The Well-Connected, Says Atedo Peterside appeared first on Information Nigeria.
Nollywood actress, Uche Elendu has recounted the near-death experience she and her first daughter had on the day of delivery as she marked the girl’s birthday.
Chizuterem turns 12 today and Uche shared photos of her on Instagram to celebrate her.
Her caption on the photos reads:
Happy Birthday to the Love of my Life, my big baby, my first fruit, my bunch of talents, the destined Star, my pride,
By this time 12 years ago I was fighting a battle with principalities and powers, fighting with dead people I recognized, the doctors and nurses had lost hope, only the Lord could possibly have saved me and brought me back after 5 hours, Thanks to my doctor that dropped his surgical equipments and picked up his bible and started praying in the theater @uzomaosuji God bless you sir that’s why when I praise God, I do it without caring where I am and who is watching, theres nothing that can move me, cos I have been in the war front and my Warrior, the strongest and mighty man in Battle delivered me, this big baby came out breathless and it took an angel in the body of a nurse to breathe life into her.. Chizuterem you are a child of Destiny, the greatness and mantle you carry is Above me, The lord will satisfy you with long life, prosperity, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, favour and salvation and the grace to carry your mantle of Greatness. Go forth my child, You are Unshakable! Soar like an eagle for heaven has blessed you. My 11 11 baby the World will celebrate you and your name will be heard for good all over the world. Happy Birthday my beautiful daughter. I love you.
11 – 11 – 20- 20. Special date with a Special Blessing