Chidinma Ekile, popularly known by her stage name Chidinma, is a Nigerian singer-songwriter, recording artist, stage performer. The petite singer has a sweet voice that distinguishes her from other female musicians in Nigeria.
In 2010, she rose to stardom after winning the third season of MTN’s Project Fame West Africa, a reality-singing competition series. After releasing the music video for her “Emi Ni Baller” single, she became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart.
In 2011, she released her first single “Jankoliko”, featuring Sound Sultan. Chidinma, her self-titled debut studio album, was released through the music platform Spinlet. It was supported by the singles “Jankoliko”, “Carry You Go”, “Kedike”, and “Run Dia Mouth”.
The album features guest appearances from Sound Sultan, Tha Suspect, Olamide, and Muna. In 2012, Chidinma won the “Best Female West African Act” category at the 2012 Kora Awards; she performed “Kedike” at the ceremony.
Early life, educational pursuits, and public image
Chidinma Ekile, the last of six children, was born in Ketu, Lagos State. Both of her parents are from Imo State. Chidinma started singing at the age of 6, and grew up with a disciplinarian father.
When she was 10 years old, she joined her church’s choir. She attended primary and secondary school in Ketu prior to relocating to Ikorodu with her family. Chidinma declined her admission into the University of Lagos due to her advancement in the aforesaid competition.
In an interview with YNaija, Chidinma said that she has always taken school seriously and her decision to enroll at Unilag was inevitable. She also said that music hasn’t always been on her agenda, and that she decided to give music a try after winning the MTN Project Fame competition.
She worked as a business promoter in Lagos prior to auditioning for the third season of MTN’s Project Fame West Africa.
Prior to auditioning for the third edition of Project Fame West Africa, she dreamt of being part of the reality TV show that was instituted in 2008. With the help and support from her close knit friend, Chidinma left her home in Ikorodu and went to the Ultima Studios, the venue for the show’s 2010 Lagos auditions.
She was among the 8,000 or so contestants who went to showcase their talents that year. Subsequently, Chidinma advanced to the Fame Academy round, alongside 17 other contestants. For 10 weeks, Chidinma and the other contestants were coached by musical professionals: voice coaches, inspirational speakers, established musicians, and music business service providers.
Moreover, contestants were taught choreography and several rehearsal drills. On September 26, 2010, Chidinma became the apparent winner of the competition. She won several prizes, including N2.5 million, a 2011 Toyota RAV4, and an album production deal.
Chidinma started working on her debut studio album, Chidinma, after releasing a collaborative project with the other finalists of MTN Project Fame West Africa Season 3.
The album was scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2011. Chidinma spoke briefly on her album and said that she put a whole lot of energy into her first album because of the high expectations. Chidinma worked with different producers for her first solo project, including Cobhams Asuquo, Tee Y Mix, WazBeat, and Oscar Heman Ackah.
On February 22, 2011, she released the singles “Jankoliko”, featuring Sound Sultan, and “Carry You Go”. Both songs were written and produced by Oscar Heman Ackah. In an interview posted on the Weekly Trust, Chidinma said that she’s happy about the positive response she received after releasing the song, and is working hard to improve her craft.
The music video for “Jankoliko”, directed by Clarence Peters, was released on June 4, 2011, at a total length of 3 minutes and 33 seconds. On October 11, 2011, Chidinma released “Kedike”, the album’s third single. The song translates to “Heartbeat”, and was produced by Cobhams Asuquo.
On October 11, 2011, she also released the album’s fourth single “Run Dia Mouth”. The music video for “Kedike” was released on January 24, 2012. It was directed by Clarence Peters, and released at a total length of 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Dammy Krane, a recording artist signed to Tuface’s Hypertek Records, played Chidinma’s love interest in the music video.
On September 14, 2012, she released the album’s lead single “Emi Ni Baller”, featuring her fellow label mates Tha Suspect and IllBliss. The song was produced by Legendury Beatz.
On June 10, 2013, Chidinma released “Bless My Hustle” featuring Phyno, “Kite”, and “Jolly”, three singles off the upcoming album. “Bless My Hustle” was produced by Tha Suspect, and “Kite” was produced by Del B. “Jolly” was produced by Wizboy. On September 14, 2013, Chidinma released “Oh Baby”, and on January 29, 2014, she released “Oh Baby Remix”, featuring Flavour N’abania. Both songs were produced by Young D.
Accomplishments and musical influences
Chidinma won the “Best Female West African Act” category at 2012 Kora Awards, held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Her award plaque was presented to her by Didier Drogba. She toppled Omawumi and five others for the honor.
Winning The Best Female West African Act shows Africa loves me already and we are working so hard to conquer more grounds across the continent.”Chidinma has cited Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Fela Kuti, Omawumi, Onyeka Onwenu, Lagbaja, and Darey Art Alade as her biggest musical influences.
She is currently an MTN ambassador.
Sex tape scandal
In November 2013, a viral sex tape surfaced on the internet. Many people alleged that Chidinma was the one in the sex tape. Speaking to Sunday Beats, Chidinma addressed and debunked the rumors, saying: “I have never been involved in any kind of scandal. That is why I feel so sad about this. The mischief makers went ahead to hack my twitter account and opened a fresh account.
They are now saying that the hacked account is fake while the one they opened is the ‘real’ account. I am trying not to feel bad about this but it is not easy. Thank God for my fans who believe so much in me. They have stood by me and they have also come out to say that the girl in that tape is certainly not me.”
I met Sound Sultan on a set. He told me, ‘Babe, you are now a star. I welcome you officially into the industry.’ I trended for three days. Even people who didn’t know me got to know me. My fan base grew. And then, I was happy because more than 90 per cent of the public didn’t believe I was the one in that video.
There were people who didn’t need to see the video to believe I couldn’t have done such thing. I am just grateful to everyone who didn’t believe the story. My Twitter account was hacked and the people created another account. They kept releasing nasty pictures and they were even responding to the tweets as if I was the one doing it. I was just watching and laughing. It put me in the spotlight. I used it for good.”