Fast rising singer, Dona Diva, never planned being a singer. When she left her native Delta State a couple of years ago, her dreams had been to pursue a career in Nollywood. However, she ended up a singer and aside performing live at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, she also has two singles on air.
In this chat with The Entertainer, she talks about how her passion for music made her run away from home at 18, the day a white man sexually harassed her and what it felt like being deflowered among other interesting issues.
Who is Dona Diva?
My real name is Dona Adjah and my stage name is Dona Diva. I’m from the Urhobo speaking part of Delta State. I am into music and fashion.
Tell us about your romance with music?
I started music from church like everyone else but when I came to Lagos, the idea was to act. But for some reasons I had to fall back to my music. Ever since I have been doing studio recordings, back-up singing and I also do live band music. It was getting so interesting and people started encouraging me to start my own thing so the whole world could see me and appreciate me. That’s why I came out with a single.
For how long have you been doing back-up and live band?
About six years.
Who are the artistes you have backed-up?
I have done back-up for a number of artistes but Duncan Mighty remains the biggest. Talking about live band, I have performed for ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan. I have also travelled out of the country to do a lot of shows.
How would you describe your experience as a singer?
It’s a bitter-sweet experience but I have chosen the sweet part of it. In everything you do, there are bound to be ups and downs. I combine fashion and music together and it’s quite exciting because I appear on stage with my own hand made costumes and people are like, ‘nice dress’ even before I start performing. It’s not really been easy but I’m having fun.
As an up-and-coming act, how do you cope financially. And do your fans appreciate you?
I am into other businesses including fashion and real estate so I don’t depend on music alone to cater for my needs. Regarding my fans appreciating me, they package whatever they want to give me into an envelope. Sometimes, some people spray me but I tell them, ‘no, we don’t do that.’
How do you now combine music, fashion and real estate?
It’s not easy but man must wack. I make very meticulous plans which I follow religiously. It’s all about time management. If you travel abroad, you see people doing three or four jobs just to get good cash. Maybe, I am doing all these because I don’t want to lack on any side.
What’s your childhood like?
My growing up was a normal one. I am from an average home. I have a strict but supportive father and my family is in support of what I do. As a child, I was always by myself but I like facing challenges and coming out with results; my family is proud of me because of that.
Tell us about the single you have on air?
The single I initially dropped was Shut Up. I did it because of people who tried to run me down. I am saying Shut Up to these negative people because I know you can achieve anything as long as you believe in your dreams, in yourself and in God. The new single is New Gaga; I am dropping its video any time soon. It’s all about music and dance. The message is, just enjoy the music, feel the rhythm and let go off your sorrows.
Who did you work with on the track?
I actually featured my brother, GoldCruz. He also produced the song.
When are you dropping your album? And what message do you want to pass across?
Dropping the album depends on how well the single does because I want people to feel the single. I hope to drop two more singles before releasing the album. As for the message,. it’s inspirational.
What’s your take on the Nigerian music industry?
I am grateful to God because our music is being appreciated. Those days you can’t go to the club and hear our music. But now our music is spreading all over the world. That shows we are progressing but at the same time, I believe we still have a lot of work to do. I think we should do more of meaningful songs.
Is there any female singer you look up to?
The female singer that I look up to is Asa. I like her because her lyrics are meaningful and her style is different.
Are your parents supportive?
My father did everything to make me quit but my mind was made up. But it later got to a point where he became proud of me.
Your father actually kicked against it?
Yes, he was angry and wanted me back home. He was like ‘no, she cannot go, she can’t run away from home.’ But I knew what I wanted and I knew I was not coming back.
At what age did you run away from home?
I was like 18 or 19.
At that age, one is prone to being harassed sexually. How did you cope with that?
You are right. I just tried to be polite. I never fought but always passed my message politely.
Can you recall a particular incident?
Yes, it was on New Year’s Eve at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja. I was singing when this white guy tapped my butt. I walked up to him with a smile and admonished him, saying ‘don’t ever try that again!’ And he apologized.
Could we say you’re not married because you’re distracted by the loads of rich guys hanging around you? Do you believe in love?
Love does exist. I don’t know whether it is true love but it does exist. But the fact that I mingle with rich boys doesn’t mean I wouldn’t know who to choose when the time comes. I can’t replace love with material things or riches.
Isn’t your boyfriend scared you might dump him for a richer guy?
I don’t know how he feels but he supports my career.
Isn’t he sometimes worried?
Yes, sometimes I see it in him but he supports me.
When are you getting married?
That’s in the hand of God
Have you ever had a crush on any of your fans before?
Yes, I was having this crush on a guy (laughs) but I found out he’s married so I had to let go.
What was it like the first time you had sex?
You say wetin? (laughter) It was a lot of crying because it was painful. The same thing I think for every girl.
What was it like performing for Obasanjo and Jonathan?
I performed with Sugar Band at Obasanjo’s birthday and I was excited. I also performed for President Jonathan. I saw him smiling as he watched me. I felt so special that my president appreciates what I am doing; it was a great experience for me.
Where do you see yourself a few years from now?
By God’s grace, I will be everywhere. I want to be known all over the world. I know my exploits won’t stop here.