When it comes to launching your career as a singer, it takes a lot of hard work, passion, and guts. As our featured Personality of the week, Manya Jennifer Nimyel (stage name – Menyaa) from Pilgani, Langtang, Plateau State Nigeria is following her heart in pursuit of fulfilling her dream in forging ahead and in making a difference through her singing career.
The most unique aspect of Manya’s singing is in the quality of her voice. She ‘wows’ every audience with that voice of hers when she sings.
She started her singing career at a very early age. As a child, she would look for an empty room and sing to her heart’s delight. She would compose songs and make-up lyrics to fit into the songs she didn’t know well.
Listening to her sing, first thing you pick is singing comes naturally to her. But this is as a result of a lot of hardwork and dedication. Manya undergoes a lot of training and retraining. She also engages in very rigorous rehearsals.
Read on to learn more about Manya and her journey so far as a singer.
Tell us about yourself, education, background, where you hail from etc?
My name is Manya Jennifer Nimyel. I hail from Pilgani, Langtang North, Plateau state. My language is Taroh (though pronounced as Tarok). I studied English and Linguistics at the University of Jos, Plateau state.
Have you always nursed the idea of being in this profession while growing up or is it something that just happened to you as you grew?
As a kid, I loved singing; I would look for an empty room and sing to my heart’s delight. I would compose songs and make-up lyrics to fit into the ones I didn’t know well. In secondary school (FGGC Abuja) I would leave for prep with my bestie earlier than my classmates just to perform to the empty chairs and tables in class. I joined and headed the school’s choral group at a point. I played the school jazz drums, the flute (recorder) and the keyboard for events. I also at some point did public presentations or sang in groups just for pleasure. I was in the band at my local church too and we had singing outings too.
During my university days, my friends and I formed a group known as, ‘Identity’. It was all fun. I rapped and sang and even did radio interviews with my group. So I will say yes I nursed it and everything came naturally.
Tell us about someone who has influenced your decision to embrace the profession?
My folks have always been supportive. My dad got me a keyboard as a kid and hired a music teacher to tutor me. I was not consistent at learning, so I haven’t truly mastered the art of playing it. I, however, know it enough to do my songwriting. In secondary school, I was encouraged by my Vice Principal (Mr. Ojemiwa). He also encouraged me to play some of the instruments and sing classical music as he was a wiz on the grand piano himself.
In the University, I was mentored by Pastor Isaac Ndam. He was one of the pastors of my church and he helped to help us make the first music instrumentals we used for our performances at the time as ‘Identity’. I remember Jeremiah Gyang produced our instrumentals. A lot of people I have met along the way have been supportive. I thank God for them.
What is it like to be a Singer?
It is exciting and challenging to be a singer, it also comes with a lot of recognition if you are good at it. The challenging though interesting bit is training your voice; if you are truly a singer you don’t just stop at how raw your good singing is. You have to polish or refine it. Singers attract a lot of people so there can be positive and negative sides to it depending on who and how a person is attracted to you.
How were you able to get your singing career up and running so quickly?
I won’t say I got my singing career up and running so quickly. It has been quite a journey and I still do it because I am genuinely passionate about it.
What was your first impression of Singing as a profession?
I have always been attracted to the glamour of being a singer. That was my first impression and it isn’t a bad impression to me.
When your friends and family find out that you are a singer what do they say or ask?
Like I said, everyone around me has been supportive. The only thing is some of these people expect me to sing only gospel music since I am a Christian. It doesn’t work that way for me. Music is art and should be expressed thus. I refuse to be put in a box.
What has surprised you most about this profession?
I don’t think anything has come as a surprise so far.
What do you find most challenging about the Profession?
What I find most challenging is the wherewithal to do everything I really want to do. I am talking about the financial capacity… Circulating music used to be very challenging; however, the internet has changed that.
What’s been your biggest win so far?
Oh! I have a big win every time I sing and change someone’s mood to a positive one. It means a lot to me. Music has power.
How often do you get jobs?
I didn’t get jobs very frequently in the past because I was not very consistent. Now I am, and I am beginning to get more invitations. Since my decision to be consistent has just been a very recent step, I will not be able to answer accurately yet.
When you last sang, how did that make you feel?
I feel glorious each time I sing and the sound quality from the speakers, microphone and every other thing is in good order.
If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing instead?
First of all, I do other things by the side such as professional makeup and sales of general merchandise. However, I would have strongly considered joining the Nigerian navy.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I surf the internet for new information, write songs or just use my imagination to build future projects.
What passion projects are you currently working on?
There are some things I am working on presently but will rather talk about them when the projects kick off.
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
Gosh! I have many memorable moments. However, I felt really special when my father announced after on concert I didn’t even feature in that he will support me his daughter in all my music endeavours. Another one is when I did MTELS theme song and was paid handsomely for it many years ago.
What lessons have you learned so far along your entrepreneurial journey?
I have learnt to believe in myself, be persistent and consistent.
What is your ultimate goal?
I try to improve on myself and my songwriting skills. I try to bring out the uniqueness in my own art. I believe great things will happen to people who continually build on their talents. That keeps me focused.
How do you stay focused on productivity?
I bring out my very essence, what makes me Menyaa. Menyaa is eclectic, can be spontaneous, loves a sweet melody and is not keen on copying how another person sings. When you hear my voice you know it’s Menyaa singing.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone wanting to go into the music profession?
Know what you want, believe in yourself, go for it and be consistent.