It came as a shock to many people during the week when a journalist revealed that the 2013 Project Fame winner, Olawale, had resorted to cab driving.
Meanwhile, the competition has churned out ace entertainers like Praiz, Chidinma, and Iyanya, who are all doing well in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
In an exclusive chat with Saturday Beats, the singer said that he turned to cab driving to support his music career and he was quick to dismiss notions that he squandered the N5m prize money he got in the music competition.
“It is very true that I am a cab driver. Everybody knows that money finishes, especially when you are in an industry where you have to pay for virtually everything. To promote your songs, you need money. When I completed the Project Fame competition, I released some songs, even after the one year contract I had with them expired. To release all those songs cost me money; it is not as if I won N200m. There were some other personal things I spent my money on.
“I have a video that tells my story and I mentioned a lot of things I faced in the song, titled, ‘Blessing’. There are so many things I cannot outline word for word. I did not spend the money lavishly and there are a lot of things people do not know. I went back to school and that is something a lot of people do not know. When I was in 400 Level, I had some challenges but at the end of the day, I completed it and had my national youth service in 2017.”
The singer told Saturday Beats that he would have opted for a white collar job but it would not have given him ample time to face his first love, which is music.
“I resorted to driving cabs because a white collar job would not give me time to face my music career. At a point, I thought about how I could support my music career while working; I thought about jobs that would allow me to have time for my studio session and do what I love doing without being tied down under someone’s employment.
“That is why I resorted to driving cabs. If I take up a white collar job, I would be in the office from 9am to 5pm and I would not have time for music anymore, which is what I have a passion for. Music is what I love doing,” he said.
Olawale said that he often picked people who knew that he was once a winner of the Project Fame competition, but that the situation never made him feel embarrassed about his job. He added that he often played his new songs for his passengers, just for them to know that he was keeping his dream alive.
The singer said, “I have never felt embarrassed about being a cab driver and that is the truth. I have grown past that stage where I would feel embarrassed about what I do to earn a living. As far as you are not feeding me, why would I feel embarrassed or be concerned about your opinion of me?
“At times, when people order for my service and see me as the driver, they ask if I am the Olawale that won Project Fame and I let them know that I am the one. Most of them ask if I am still doing music and I reply in the affirmative; then, I play my latest songs for them to enjoy while I am driving.
“This is just to let them know that I have not stopped doing music. I make them realise that since music is not putting food on the table right now, I have to find another source of income so that I can eat. Being a Project Fame winner does not stop you from being hungry or in need of basic things of life, like every other person. I have to do what I have to do to survive.”