M.I.A is UP Next

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The Nigerian music industry is notoriously male-dominated; even more so, in the underground world of hyping, men have the loudest voices. Nonetheless, M.I.A. stands out in the crowd. Txt speaks to one of Nigeria’s most gifted hypewomen about her experiences in the industry, her goals, and the art of hyping in Nigerian music.

TXT: How did you discover your passion for hyping? 

I had a side of me that I knew was untamed, but I didn’t know how to fit into my skills as a host. I went to the National Broadcast Academy in Ikeja to brush up on my skills as a broadcaster. The students would throw parties weekly, and I realised I was picked most times to “hype” the parties. I didn’t know what the hype meant then, but apparently they knew it was my untamed side. After I was done with my course, I went back to Ibadan, where I was introduced to a hype woman who worked at a bar. So every Friday night, I went there, and I realised I loved it! 

TXT: What does it take to be a hype woman? Are there any risks involved?

It takes guts. Apart from the love of music and performance, most shows happen at night, which can be dangerous for a woman. Then you have to deliver like a man would. That takes energy—all the energy you can muster. You see, most women are seen as fragile. To stand out, you need to beat the allegations. 

TXT: Can you share any tips or techniques you use to engage the crowd and create such an energetic atmosphere?

I think being a host before I started hyping helped a lot. 

I got a friendly charm, knowledge of the event, the demographic, the ability to interact, things like that. Being a radio presenter also helped. 

I gained knowledge of music, the ability to sync with the DJ, the ability to dance, the ability to perform a song, and the ability to give meaning and essence to it.

TXT: What are the biggest challenges you face as a hype woman?

When I’m on my period, I get very cranky, but I have to deliver. If I mention the events that I have hosted this year alone while being on my period, you won’t believe it. It’s difficult, but I try to manage it as best I can.

TXT: Was this originally what you wanted to do?

As a kid, no. I wanted to be a lawyer. 

As a teenager, maybe. I wanted to be a TV host and a show host. I still do radio, TV, and show hosting, so, yay me!!!!

TXT: How do you maintain your confidence and overcome any stage jitters or nerves? Is there any ritual you swear by before performing it?

The confidence is innate; I don’t fake it. But when it’s like a really big stage or a new demographic, I tell myself… “These people are here to have a good time, and when they go home, they must say they had a good time.” Also, I tell myself, “Bae, this is not work. This is fun. You are here to have fun. So have fun… party!”

TXT: Fashion is a big part of the entertainment industry. How would you describe your personal style, and how does it contribute to your overall hyping persona?

Chic, sensual, cool, and vibrant. These elements can be seen in my fits on stage. Sometimes they stand alone, other times they’re fused together. 

TXT: What does a typical work day look like for a hypewoman?

Wake up, eat (or not..lol), soundcheck/rehearsals, rest, 2 hours until the event starts to dress up, showtime, which could run from 1–7 hours depending on the booking, go home, take a very hot bath, and try to sleep. 

TXT: You’ve hyped up some incredible events and worked with amazing artists. Is there a particular moment or collaboration that stands out as a highlight in your career?

Oh, I have a lot. Coke studio Amplified, the Spotify events (Spotify afrobeats: journey of a billion streams/Spotify wrapped), block parties on the 26th of December every year, Ckay’s university tour… I could go on and on. 

TXT: Hyping is all about connecting with the audience. How do you adapt your approach to different crowds and ensure that everyone feels included and engaged?

By focusing on the similarities, every crowd wants a great party. I keep this in mind first, then I study the event’s theme and what type of crowd to expect. 

I try to figure out if I need to learn anything for them. My outfit also has to do some talking of its own. 

TXT: How do you balance your professional life with taking care of yourself and maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

It’s fairly difficult, especially in your 20s. But I prioritise rest. Yes, I work very hard, but “I can’t come and kill myself.” So I take deliberate steps to rest. I anticipate work seasons like “Detty December” too. In those kinds of seasons, work-life balance is important because it can be exhausting. 

TXT: For aspiring hype women looking to make their mark in the industry, what advice would you give them to stand out and make a lasting impression?

Don’t fold(Cower). Seek a challenge and take it on. 

TXT: What other things are you passionate about?

Art, music, fashion, and books too.

TXT: What do you aim to achieve with this career path?

To be a touch-down host. I’d love to say goodnight at a show on one continent and run to the airport so I can say hello at another show on another continent. That’s the goal.

TXT: What’s next for you?

Spreading the gospel. Touching lives all over the world and bringing them together to celebrate art and music.


Written By

Curious for Culture

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