After spending 2months chasing Efa around (it wasn’t easy at all) Hit Play is glad to present you with an exclusive interview with Rising Star Efa Iwara.Efa (real name Efa Iwara) is a rapper, songwriter, Hip-Hop enthusiast and actor. He was born in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State, he discovered he had a passion for rap at a rather young age and went on to write his first verse by the time he turned nine. After high school, he gained admission into the University of Ibadan to study Geography. While at UI, he along with 3 friends (including DJ Klem) formed a group called X-Factor. After a while, the artistes grew apart as they were headed in different directions and the group split.Things went from bad to worse for him because right after the group disbanded, Efa lost his sister in 2007. Needless to say, his music took a backseat while he mourned. It took the intervention of a close friend to reignite his passion for music and get him back into the studio. Efa went back to writing and recording with his former group member, DJ Klem. Together, they recorded Qwenu, a single which, despite its unreleased status, went on to feature prominently in NYSC camps in Western Nigeria in 2008.
Efa is officially signed to Jus’ Kiddin’ Records. He released his first official single Open and Close featuring Dammy Krane in August, however before the release of Open and Close he put out works such as the Waka Ep, the controversial E2DFA and Over You featuring Praiz
*Just wondering why you don’t have like a music name or something, is there a reason for that?
Well, when I started out in the group X-Factor with DJ Klem and EYME, I didn’t have a need for a name. I used to call myself Mac-1 sometimes though. But, when the group broke up I had to create my own identity. I went for my first solo show and they were putting down names of performing artistes and I heard all sorts. From “Flying Monkeys” to “Underground Bullets”. When I was asked my name, I just said my real name! After all it is my name and when my father named me EFA he knew why. I love the name and I feel it is unique. It means power by the way.
*Still on the issue of your name, you have tracks named after you and you say it on virtually every track you are on, so I’m thinking is it just me or are you madly in love with your name?
Lol! I think its just you! Jus’ Kiddin’! This whole thing started while I was in primary school. People kept on thinking my name was something else. I’d say “Efa” and they’d say “Efan” or “Afam”. Some even said “Alfa”. So I ended up having to spell my name out every time I had to introduce myself. So when I started recording music, people used to ask who I was and I was like “I go by the name E to the FA, EFA”
*You have been around for a bit but you caught massive attention after the release of “E2DFA”. What was the inspiration for the song?
My life at that point in time basically. First verse was basically me talking about myself and how people viewed me especially online. A lot of people thought I had lost it or I wasn’t good enough. I wanted to make a statement stating otherwise. I think I did. In fact, I know I did. The second verse was more about how I viewed my beloved country Nigeria and how it is being run. And like majority of our population, I feel we can do a whole lot better. The initial song was about 8 minutes, but it had to be chopped down!
*Ok so before E2DFA, what was your reception in the entertainment industry like and is there some kind of difference?
I had been around working for my boss. The funny thing is he actually didn’t want me recording music for a while, so I’d hang around other rappers but I kept my mouth shut. So, when I was asked I said I was a
rapper. Then they’d ask where I grew up, and when I reply Ibadan they just assume I’m a horrible rapper. But I’m not one to brag. I let the music do the talking. I put out The WAKA EP in collaboration with Big Foot. And I think that pretty much shut the doubters up. Since then I have gone from being doubted to being respected especially since they have seen how diverse my music is. Especially since E2DFA was released. That showed my Hip-Hop side. Soon after that “Over You” featuring Praiz was released. That showed my vulnerable/ R&B side. And after that “Open & Close” featuring Dammy Krane was released showing my fun/ party side. It’s been one helluva journey!
*I read somewhere that you wrote your first verse when you were nine, do you still remember it? And if you do, looking back now honestly what do you think of it?
That verse was HORRIBLE! And my older brother never let me live it down. He was already a budding rapper at the time. And we had (still have) this serious sibling rivalry going on. So I wanted attempt to show I was a better rapper. He laughed so hard I think I was scarred psychologically. Lol! At that time I thought I’d never become a good rapper. The first line if I remember correctly was “It was a clear dark night and the moon was bright”. I guess I’ve always been a story teller.
*Still on your history, what was it like back in University of Ibadan when you were in the X Factor? And why did you guys split up?
School was a really interesting time for me. Had the craziest of friends (still do) and I don’t think I was the model student. Especially being a Professor’s son and all. I can’t say I attended all my classes and I remember writing raps during lectures as well. But I don’t think I ever failed a course or had a carry over. And I never cheated either. I also played cricket for the school. (Stop raising your eyebrows). The group
X-Factor was full of geeks! I think I was the bad boy of the group. Everyone else was in a fellowship and either on a first class or a high 2.1. The group encompassed EYME, DJ Klem, Boye, Jide and myself. We were trying to revolutionize Nigerian music at the time. It’s a shame we couldn’t stay together long enough but we are still good friends till today. We broke up because we all wanted different things and had different ideas of where the group should be headed.
*How has the journey on your own so far been? Any regrets?
On my own it has been a story of blood, sweat and tears. I’ve had great times and really depressing times as well. But there have been more highs than lows, so I’m grateful to God and my team for that. I have absolutely no regrets. Ok, maybe I wish we had pictures from our X-Factor days.
*So far what has been the highlight of your career?
That’s a funny one. I think it will have to be my performance at the Silverbird Galleria where my CD didn’t play. Everyone thought I was going to go home defeated. I went upstairs and sat in a corner fuming at myself. 2Face was seated close by and asked what was wrong. I explained what happened and he just laughed and said it happens. What he said next changed my perspective on life. He said “you can’t change what has happened, but you can change what will”. I burnt another CD, went back and rocked the crowd. That day showed me that perseverance trumps talent and to always be prepared.
*****So tell me, who is Efa Iwara?
Efa Iwara is different from EFA (at least I like to think so). He is this really down-to-earth boring guy who would rather read a Jeffrey Archer novel or watch a good thriller than go out. Last of five children and a staunch Arsenal supporter.
*What was your childhood like? And whereabouts are you from?
My childhood was fun. It was a mixture of everything! From having a million friends from different parts of the world, to working on farms, to French lessons at 4am, to following my brother to studios and basically just being an all-round nuisance. I am from Ugep, Cross River State. And we are popular for being cannibals even though this story isn’t true.
*LOOOL, I dont think that. Anyways since I’m prying already, tell me what’s your favourite Efa song?
I love all my songs in different ways but one of my favourites is “one more chance” and this is because it was the first time I was putting out a fully story based song. A style of rap considered extinct by many. And it was the second song I was going to put online and it was just after the “if you want me” cover which got rave reviews. And I didn’t want to drop the standard I had set. I also wrote it while I was in the NYSC camp. It wasn’t completed and I wasn’t sure how people were going to receive it. We put it out………and it got rave reviews as well. That did my confidence a lot of good and I haven’t looked back ever since.
*Hmmm funny enough that’s mine as well. Still on the road of prying, what’s one thing you can’t leave home without? and why?
Umm there are actually two things I can’t leave the house without. Ermm one of them is a pair of earphones because I always listen to music, even though i think it’s a bad thing because a lot of people say what’s up but I don’t hear them and I’m too distracted to even see them. So it’s really a bad thing but I can’t leave the house without a pair of earphones. And why because I love music, music is my life. I don’t think I can go an hour without listening to music or talking about music. The other thing is my wallet *laughs* for obvious reasons, I don’t think anyone should leave the house without money, unless you are going for like a casual walk around your house or something, but yeah I always go about with my wallet because I’d need to buy stuff or get around basically.
**** *I’m sure the ladies have been waiting for this part, so tell me about your very first childhood crush?
Wow! Let me see. I actually can’t remember. That was from another lifetime. The moment I do, I’ll mail it in! I promise!
*LOL We both know that ain’t gonna happen and Speaking of the ladies, what’s the most embarrassing thing a girl has said or done to you?
I was 9 (apparently a lot happened when I was 9) and I was at a friend’s birthday party. I asked a girl to dance and she said I asked the wrong way because I didn’t say please. I then said please. She smiled and referred me to her younger sister. She was 15. It still hurts till this very day.
*Since I’m on the road already, any heart wrenching heartbreak or unrequited love stories?
Of course! But I’m not going to talk about them and there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING you can do about it, I think. Ok let me give you highlights about one of them. I dated a girl for four years. We were going to get married and one day she just broke it off because she thought my career wasn’t going anywhere at the time and I won’t have the money to get married. Interesting times I tell you.
*Surely, you knew I was gonna ask this, so tell me, is there an other half at the moment or are you still on the look out? Because I’m sure your female fans are eager to fill the void or I could hook you up if you would like.
This, truly, is the million dollar question. The truth is if there was, I wouldn’t say and if there wasn’t, would I say? Lol! All very confusing.
*Before we get off the topic of ladies, what qualities do you find attractive in a lady?
The thing that gets to me the most is a kind heart. Beauty and physical attributes fade with time. A heart of gold lasts forever and has the power to change so much and affect lives.
*** *Honestly EFA, I’m dying to know, was E2DFA a jab at anyone in particular?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there were no jabs in there. Just plain ol’ truths. If I want to take jabs at anyone, trust me you won’t ask questions, you’ll definitely know!
*Lol I’ll keep my ears open *wink*. Okay so tell me what pie or pies you have your fingers in atm? Oh Efa don’t give me that look I meant music wise
First and foremost, Kay I worry about what kind of person you think I am. I mean, You do know that even though I’m all about the “dough” and I’m all about making “bread” *laughs* I’m not into putting fingers in pies, that’s not the kind of person I am. Umm but on a more serious note though I’m working on the next three singles. I’m also working on a collaboration with a foreign artiste, name with-held. Umm I’m also looking at dropping another Ep early next year and in general the album. And also we are working on shooting the videos for Open and Close and Over You real soon.
*Wow Efa, your fingere are definitely in a lot of pies *winks*. Anyways is there any chance you’d give me a hint on the name of the album or the Ep at least?*One again…If I tell You, I’ll have to kill You*Lol you can’t blame a girl for trying… One last thing, any words for your fans?I just want to say I don’t have fans, I have friends. because I feel like every time someone listens to my music the person gets to know me and we usually just go back and forth and what not, so eventually we all just become friends. And I just want to say thank you for the support, for every tweet, for every comment, every time you play my song for your friends, every time you played my songs and danced or something. Thank you very much, I am very grateful and I hope to never ever let you guys down. So just keep supporting me and one love. Good Bye and God Bless*Well Efa it was nice talking to you and hopefully you won’t be a stranger *Wink*Thank you very very much i wish you all the best in all your endeavours as well and of course we can never be strangers anymore . We are one family . CLICK HERE FOR EFA’S PAGE