The interesting rise of American Nikki Spooner in the Yoruba movie and music industry is getting many wondering how a white woman from North American got thrilled and bought into the Nollywood. Nikki made some revelations in this interview conducted online by Remi Adebayo from her base in Massachusetts. Excerpts:
Nikki Spooner does not sound like an African name, least of being Yoruba? Who is Nikki Spooner?
I am a multi award winning Yoruba Gospel singer and Nollywood actress born and raised in Massachusetts. You’re very correct, I am not African at all in fact, I am a white American.
Inspite of the rich American entertainment industry with the Hollywood, you have chosen the Nigerian Yoruba Nollywood. What motivated this decision?
I am blessed to say that Nollywood chose me. My passion in singing Yoruba music has attracted the attention of many different directors and producers as well as actors and actresses. It has been such a fun time!
What distinguishes Nollywood from Hollywood?
To be honest, there are so many differences from Hollywood to Nollywood, but two of the major differences are visual effects and financial backing. Nollywood still has a long way to go to be comparable to the Hollywood industry but I wanna point out what an amazing job directors and producers from Nollywood have been doing in recent years. I have full faith in the African movie industry and I know that the world is paying attention.
Nigerian movies and music artistes have continually lamented about the danger of piracy on their work. Using the American yardstick, how do you think this can be curtailed?
The only way for this type of issue to be somewhat resolved is by creating a punishable fine and potential jail time for piracy! America has serious fines and potential jail time with warnings at the beginning of every film. And there must be industry police who enforce these laws. Only then will this industry get the respect it deserves.
Your music and movies are mostly presented in Yoruba. How did you come in contact with the language and the artistes that have largely become your career family?
It all started years ago when I heard King Sunny Ade on the radio singing “Merciful God,” I remember the feeling I got and said to myself, wow! how can this song touch my spirit and I can’t understand the language? It was that day I decided that I would learn to sing in Yoruba. I’ve been so blessed to meet many of the artists, actors and actresses in the industry because of my passion for learning the language. But the highlight for me was the day I stood on stage and saying live with King Sunny Ade himself. What an amazing experience that was.
Your recent music release, ‘O mbe sibe’ is gospel. Will you describe yourself as a gospel musician or entertainer?
I definitely describe myself as a gospel musician because my passion for singing the word of God is my daily bread. I am definitely an entertainer besides singing and acting I also do MC work and involve and interested in politics. I like all things entertainment from award programs to cultural festivals you can find me involved in many many different things.
Let’s look at your life. Is Nikki considering living in Nigeria?
Although I am currently building a house in Nigeria, I have no intention of living in Nigeria. I do spend between two and three months twice a year in Nigeria and instead of paying for hotels, I’ve just decided to build my own house.
Who will you consider as your models in the industry?
King Sunny Ade, Tope Alabi, Juliking, Lola idije, Yemi Solade, Andy Bello. To be honest there are so many and I’m so blessed to be surrounded by amazing people in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
How do you circulate your works, both in Nigeria and abroad and what responses do you have from your fans?
I have an awesome Producer named JulieKing and an Amazing Manager named Olamilekan. And I am currently a signed artist with Kmusik under an American and Nigerian company operated by the one and only Sir Kay. People have been completely supportive of any industry work I have attempted to do in and out of Nigeria and around the world. I currently hold 10 awards in 4 different countries I am truly inspired and blessed by the constant support in the Nigerian communities around the world.