Caroline Sam popularly known as Maheeda is one artiste who has seen most sides of life. The pretty act who left secular music for gospel spoke with Wole Adepoju in this interview with orijoreporter.
What is happening to Maheeda?
It depends on what you mean particularly.
Of course, it is about what you are known for, music?
Yeah, I got born again but I’m still a musician and an entertainer. I have been working on my album.
Coming from the background of a secular singer to gospel, how easy is it to compose gospel tunes?
It is actually easy, although in the beginning, it was difficult because I was confused. There is this mentality that we have that when you are born again, you start working on your outer appearance and not inner. Whereas it is supposed to be the inside and then outside. I also started the same way like trying to change my looks, and the rest. So it was indeed kind of difficult composing songs because I did not have enough words of God in me. But after then I had to relax for like a year, going to church, listening to pastor Chris, teaching me, and I’m still learning so I have enough words to put in my songs , so now I’m ready.
Who is that Pastor Chris you talked about and what is your relationship with him?
I’m talking about Pastor Chris Oyakhilome…I have never seen Pastor Chris in person but he’s so real to me like the way we are talking now.
You are still in the music industry despite switching to gospel. Do you still relate with secular acts you used to mingle with?
We are still friends. I take the males like my brother and the ladies as my sisters and the mums…they know my story as an orphan so they are my mothers. Also, I was confused before because I’m an orphan but now I have realized that the Christian family is my family. I used to have boy friends before, I had like two or three, I used to be the Naija bad girl those days but I have changed. I did not push them aside, I pray for them always so they can see the light the way I did. Initially, going to them was difficult because I was not strong, but now I go to them, we pray together and share the word.
What made you to become a born again?
Honestly, it was the same words in the bible, the same ministration. It was just time because the words that I heard that transformed me like this is the same word that some people heard and still stick to their ways. Although at that time, I was sick and all sort of test were conducted on me, HIV, pregnancy and all sorts and the doctor said I was alright but I was still sick. And it was like my head was about to blow. Later, I went to the church on a normal day and I laid at the altar and was talking to God that you have taken all my family already, and now I am feeling like this. I left and went to look for my boyfriend but I was still not feeling fine, and I was feeling it was not normal that I might die if I did not surrender my life, and I kept getting the message that you are neither hot or cold and I will spit you away. I got the message through phone and later in the church. So that was all, and I became a new creature.
How easy was it to leave your previous ways?
I must tell you I did not have to pray about it, I just developed the habit of reading my bible regularly, even till now and all those things just stopped without struggling, masturbation, boys attracting me, and others and I have not stopped reading my bible, in fact, it has become a habit.
You were daring with almost nude pictures when you came into the industry and people were talking about you. Some felt you must be a prostitute. What can you say?
Yeah, I was a prostitute and I’m not ashamed to say that. It is past tense and we all have our past and the beauty of it is that if Christ has done something in your life and you can’t say it, what is the need? I think I went through all that so I can really speak out. I have been through all that so I can speak, talk to the girls who are still into it, and make myself an example. Although, it is not nice for people to hear, and it is not something to be proud of, but for the sake of those prostitutes outside, I have to say it.
Did you know your parents before they died?
I used to live with my mum before but she decided to leave me with a neighbour and left. After seven years she came back and died immediately after.
What led you to music in the first place and what made you feel you can sing?
I have always loved singing, and may be the India films we used to watch as kids also formed part of the interest. I could remember I used to sing when I was washing plates and doing stuffs, and I always wanted to do all that had to do with music and drama in primary school. And when I was old enough to sponsor myself, I decided to do music and later professionally.
How was life after you lost your mum?
The lady my mum left me with in our compound took care of me through primary school. After that, I felt I was being maltreated so I ran away. I think I ran away when I was fourteen or so, and I was surviving on my own by doing house help, bar attendant and, of course, the club life, so that was how I survived.
What was your mission when you decided to sing professionally?
I actually wanted money and fame but basically, I felt I was nobody and I wanted to make somebody out of myself. I wanted people to know about this orphan and probably become a voice for the orphans. The initial push and motive was good but frustration later set in, the promotion, trying to be known. So, I started doing weird things, almost getting naked on the internet, looking for more attention to put me there because money was not doing it for me anymore. My beauty was not doing it for me anymore, and I was like may be I should go more crazy but I just wanted to make somebody out of nobody.
Some say you changed your way because you got married?
That is not true. You know my husband is white, and you know white people support their wives. My husband said he did want to be involved in my camera life, and I should also keep his daughter out of it. I was actually praying for it before he said it. My husband has been very supportive for years, he took me to South Africa to shoot my first video, and has spent millions on my career.
How long have you been married to your husband and how many kids do you have together?
We have been married for about two years but there is no child yet. I had my daughter before I met him but he adopted my daughter.
How did you guys meet and what is keeping you from having children?
We are waiting on the Lord for children. And I met him in PortHarcourt eleven years ago, we have been together before I go into music.
As an orphan who has seen both sides of life, what has this made of you?
It makes me strong, it makes me feel blessed. Instead of me to be thinking of being an orphan and be angry, it makes me feel I’m blessed and experienced. I feel God prepared me to liberate people, so I’m blessed and I thank God for giving me a voice and become a source of inspiration to some.
How true is it that white men go for Nigerian women because they are good in bed irrespective of their ways of life?
Its sounds true because devil likes to bring his own truth from the real truth. After becoming a born again, in my vision, I realized the white are not as strong as we are spiritually, and God made me understand he’s taking us to them to change them. Over there, you are free to do whatever you like, but there is a reason why God is joining these two together. But of course, devil has turned everything to sex. If a woman is beautiful, well curved…yes, we are sexy and of course there is something that makes the man to succumb to the woman even when he’s angry. So that is not far from the truth.
What was your first experience as a prostitute like?
It was strange, even though I can’t really remember, (laughs) what I can remember is that it was strange. I was very young but I had to do it but it was scary I think.
At what point did you decide to stop and what made you stopped?
That’s actually a very good question because even after getting married I still have this urge of going out to meet a man but I felt it should not be there. I’m trying to let people know there is a spirit behind prostitution, if not, why after getting married…I have everything, I live in Lekki, I’m driving a very big car, and my husband gives me whatever I want, so why still feel like I want to go and do prostitution. There is a spirit behind it. I continued even after getting married. The only thing that changed me was after being born again and being delivered.
That means you kept long list of men while you were doing secular music?
Yeah. I was so bad that if I had this boy friend and he messes up I just move to the next one. That was basically why I did the track, Oko yampia, (meaning husbands are numerous). They were not given me money, so if you mess up, I move to the next because they were many.
That means your sexual ability is very high that if this guy is not getting it right you try the next?
(serious laughter) oh my God. Is that the truth? No o! I think I was just bad that I used to judge them at every slight mistakes and even me, I was bad that if I was with my boyfriend and I see a fine boy, I would still make passes……the Devil makes us think it is in our nature but its not so.
Did you at anytime had crush on any guy in the industry?
Crush, crush…wait o, I have to be very sure. It should be o but I can’t remember.
May be 2face?
No, I did not have crush on 2face. I respect 2face, I like him so much that I respect him. I’m sorry all the Nigeria male artistes o.
Did you date any?
I dated some but I don’t think they would want me to say it. It is of no use because there are better things to talk about now.
People think there is no much money in gospel music. What is your reaction?
That is what you think o, you think there is no much money in gospel music but I am there and I can tell you there is so much money. I think gospel artistes don’t just brag, it’s the secular ones who come to the television to show stuffs, which is not bad but the gospel ones don’t feel like showing off, but believe me they are making money.
Tell us about your background?
I was told my father was from Edo and my mother, Igbo. My mum named me Caroline but Sam which is my surname is the name of my guardian who my mother left me with.