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June Ubi: How guy rapping with Boombox inspired me

JUNE UBI is a songwriter, rap singer and On- Air personality. In this interview with YETUNDE OLADEINDE, she takes you into her world, inspiration, performing n different cities in UK and around the world, running an overnight show that thrills and more.

Tell us about your passion for music? What inspired you?

I love music and my household was full of music while I was growing up.  My mother would always play African inspired music and take me with her to traditional African parties from when I was a kid. My brothers and sisters are also huge lovers of music and we would play various different genres of music in the house. When I was a teenager, I went to America with my sister and I remember seeing a guy rapping with a boombox, I thought that’s pretty cool. So, when I came back to London I started writing and rapping more.

Why did you opt for rap music?

I love music and for me, being able to rap is a God given talent, that I’m blessed to have and I’m grateful to be given this talent and skill from God.

Tell us about your songs. What is the message?

My music focuses on my life experiences as well as highlighting social issues that I want to shed light on.

What are some of the things that you have done in the entertainment sector in Nigeria and outside the country?

I have been performing in various cities across the United Kingdom (UK) and in Nigeria, working closely with new and emerging music artists and doing voiceovers.

Let’s talk about your experience in broadcasting. How did this influence your personality?

I believe it’s important to always be yourself and that’s what I’ve always been. So, my personality has influenced my career in  broadcasting, because exactly who I am in real life is exactly who I am on the radio.

What or who inspires the things you do?

The things I do are inspired by life experiences and travelling has helped to broaden my horizon

It has also played a big part in inspiring my songwriting and the creation of my songs.

What are some of the other things that occupy your time?

I love food and my mum is an incredible cook and a trained chef, so I’ve grown up with a love for food. My passion is eating food, more than cooking food. Although I can cook well. I love going to different restaurants and trying various foods.

I also love researching and learning new things, I believe one can never stop learning and evolving to be the very best versions of one’s self. So, for me it’s a life-long achievement.

Tell us about the people you admire?

I’m grateful for God’s presence in my life and my parents. The consistent presence of God in my life and my parents for giving me life and for consistently being there for me. Alongside with my family and close friends.

What are some of the memorable moments in your life and career?

I’m grateful to have had some memorable moments in my life and career, such as obtaining a degree, musically making it to the semi finals out of thousands of people who entered the Manchester auditions for Chancers, a nationwide talent show broadcasted on Channel 4 by Matthew Knowles; Beyoncé’s Dad. Then moving to Nigeria and being a radio presenter on Cool FM and having the number one overnight show in Lagos. As well as performing in various cities in the UK and travelling to several different countries.

What were the initial challenges. Did you feel like quitting at any point?

Being creative is amazing and so much fun, but it also requires a lot of time, focus, hard work, dedication and consistency. The love of what I do has always been my driving force and keeps me going. It also helps to have thick skin and understand how the industry works across its different sectors.

What are you looking forward to in the next few years?

More growth. I love the woman that I’ve become, but I’m looking forward to doing more and growing more. I want to use my wealth of music experience to support new and emerging music artists to elevate their career.

Tell us about your favorite holiday spot?

I love travelling and there’s so many beautiful holiday destinations. So, it will be difficult to narrow it down to one, but I would love to see more African countries. The continent is so rich in varying landscapes, breathtaking sights and beautiful cultures, which I would love to discover. The Amalfi Coast; Maldives, Santorini and Bali are on my list of countries I would like to go to.

What kind of books do you like to read?

I like reading different types of book such as: biography, fiction, romance, business and music books.

What is your definition of style?

Style is a form of self-expression and a way of communicating who you are, how you feel and what you love. For instance, I dress according to my mood.

What are the things that you won’t do in the name of fashion?

I don’t wear clothes that I don’t like (even if it’s the new trend) because I believe you should be comfortable in your own skin and wear what suits you.

Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life?

My parents.

How would you describe the impact of COVID-19? Did it make you think out of the box?

The pandemic has impacted everyone around the world. It’s extremely unfortunate and sad that Covid-19 occurred and the affects it is having on everyone globally. I have used this lockdown period to plan, research and learn more and this has helped me in my life and career.

What are some of the changes that you would like to see in the sector?

In the Nigerian music industry, it would be great to see an industry that is not so male dominated and in the broadcasting industry in Nigeria more innovation and evolution.

Did mentoring help your career?

I would say that having a mentor is great; because a mentor has experiences you can learn from and you can go and talk to your mentor about your career and aspirations. You also get to garner knowledge and skills from your mentor. As well as help, which can stimulate your professional and personal growth and connect you to like-minded people within your industry.

Rape is on the increase. What do you think went wrong, are you thinking of sending a message out about this?

I have zero tolerance towards rape! Rape of a woman or man is intolerable. There needs to be a shift in the mindset. Consent should always be given and should never be taken! A yes is a yes and a no is a no. A person is not entitled to another person body and sex has to always be consensual. Rape is wrong and needs to stop! Rapist should be prosecuted and fully dealt with by the law!

The same way I’ve expressed my distaste about rape here, is the same way I’ve expressed it publicly, on the radio and on social media.

What principles guide you about making and managing money?

I don’t spend more than I make, practicing good habits, staying disciplined, saving and investing these principles have been the core of good financial management to me.

What are some of the things you treasure most in life?

I treasure life itself and I don’t take it for granted. I’m grateful to God for my talent and everything in my life, such as my health, my family, my close friends and to be able to live and do what I love.

Tell us about your first day in the studio. What are your memories?

My first day in the studio was amazing! I was a teenager and I was amazed by the studio equipment, I was just excited to be there. I went to the studio to observe, but then I ended up writing and recording my first song, which was great and such an amazing experience.

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