Colourful, spunky and take-charge, Kemi Adetiba is as charming a guest as she is a creative genius.
Kemi Adetiba had first popped into my radar during her radio days at Rhythm 93.7fm. I had admired her good cheer and vast knowledge of music. As the years went by and she made the cross into television with Studio 53, Soundcity and more recently Maltina Dance All, I continued to follow her career with keen interest.
Fast forward a couple of years when she made the somewhat dramatic turn to Cinematography, I became completely won over. So it was with keen determination that I went after her at DJ Cuppy's Lagos launch event. I was determined to rub minds with this woman who refused to be satisfied with the status quo and after a couple of cheerful emails, I got that chance.
Tall, despite her 3 and half-inch heels :), self-assured and bristling with purpose, Kemi arrived for the appointment right on time, having already sent a message that she was running late.
"Why on earth did you decide to go for Cinematography with all that you had going for you at the time?" I launched right in once we settled in for the interview.
"I'd been in media since I was 19, since I was 13 technically" she began
"I wasn't sure how much time I had in front of the camera. To be a presenter, you need to have your make-up done, your nails done, you need to look pretty and I wasn't sure how sustainable that was. I needed something to make money from still in the industry but where no one essentially had to see me. I always had interest in cameras and what was going on behind the scenes and when I went on shoots, I would always ask the camera guys what kind of cameras they were using and so on. After a while I needed to take a break from work because the stress just became unbearable and it was to be a year long break. So I decided that instead of just going cold while on break, I would go to film school, that's how I got into directing essentially"
This practical and take-charge approach to life essentially is what I would later determine to be what governs Kemi. When asked if she ever senses envy or hate as a successful female in a male-dominated world for instance, she replied even though she does, she doesn't let it stop her.
"Its operation face your front for me. I've got my eyes on the goal so I try not to let any hate or negative energy distract me from it"
She also displayed this same fierce determination when asked about her most memorable video.
"I'd say Lagos party. It taught me so much. We had about 200 to 300 people if I'm not exaggerating and we were supposed to start shooting at 7pm but didn't start till 1am because we blew up the 100KVA generator . I thought 'this is the end of my career' but thankfully NEPA blessed us with light. Then I'd forgotten to eat in about 24 hours and there were so many celebrities like P-Square and 9ice . So I'm standing on this platform shooting and I suddenly get dizzy and I remember thinking 'Kemi if you fall, this will be the end of this video and its cost a lot of money'. So I took a deep breath and continued shooting and thankfully the video came out good".
An avid traveller and lover of choice cuisine, Kemi revealed that if she had a gun to her head, she'd pick Jamaica as her favourite city in the world.
"When I'm in Jamaica, I feel at home, like I have a house down the road"
In all of this we want to now who's the lucky man in Miss Adetiba's life.
"Jeeesssusss" she teases, "he is the man in my life".
Ok so who is your celebrity crush, we persist.
"Poe, the rapper" she replies with a dead pan look.
Away from that we want to know what video she wishes she shot.
"In Nigeria, I really like Suspect's work. He seems like someone that we could do crazy things together but he's signed under Capital Hill so Clarence will be shooting his videos for a while. Internationally, I'd have to say 'You Rock My World' by Michael Jackson. It's actually one of my favourite videos ever, its like a mini movie."
Colourful, spunky and rebellious are words Kemi used to describe her videos and in truth, they're words I would use to describe her as well. A fearless risk taker, Kemi has through sheer hardwork and determination carved a niche for herself as one of Nigeria's finest music video directors. So just how much does a Kemi Adetiba video cost, we want to know.
N5 million? I take a wild guess.
"Mmm if you drive forward a bit and drive back, its somewhere in that neighbourhood" she laughs.