In Nigeria, only a few artists are gifted with multiple talents. Korra Obidi may well be one of these lucky people. This young woman is so talented that it is difficult to pin her to a particular performing art form. She is not only a dancer, but she is also a singer with a charming voice and a string of respectable single albums to her credit; an actress, a model and songwriter rolled into one.
Listening to Korra’s work through the lyrics of two of her most popular songs, Man Like You and Kilibe, or watching her do the belly dance – that exquisite piece of choreography that is strongly rooted in Oriental culture – gives one the impression that she is one natural artist that is waiting to explode on the global stage.
Unlike many of her contemporaries, Korra had a guided childhood. Her parents were the protective types, always eager to ensure that she did not mix with the wrong crowd. She was pampered, but not spoilt.
“I lived a very sheltered life as a child. I was never allowed to play with the other kids. I had private tutors for almost everything,” she said, in an interview with our correspondent.
But the singer’s upbringing, rather than stifle the creative impulse in her, ended up paving her way to a fulfilling career in show business.
Korra’s career started 10 years ago, specifically at the University of Lagos. Within that period, she had quietly honed her skills and gained some foothold in the entertainment industry as an artist.
“I attended the University of Lagos. This was where my career started. I went on tour with some of Nigeria’s A list artistes as a professional dancer. My music career kicked off in 2015 with my debut single, Man Like you,” she said.
But her parents were not too pleased with her choice of career and she went through a lot of trouble to persuade them to accept her decision.
“It was tough. I had to pave my way initially. I used to hide it from them. Over time, they decided there was nothing they could do to quench my passion for entertainment,” Korra said.
Unknown to many of her fans, Korra received formal training in belly dance in Muscat, Dubai and Cairo. Asked why she is so passionate about this dance style, she said, “I specifically chose belly dance because I find it easier to express emotions through the dance. But belly dance is only one of the styles that I was trained to do. I am so much more than a belly dancer. I also had extensive training in some other styles.”
Like most contemporary Nigerian artists, Korra has also had her fair share of challenges. She has been cheated and exploited at different times in her career. She believes that the major problems of the entertainment industry in Nigeria are those who take delight in feeding off the sweat and labour of genuinely hardworking artists.
“They are just there to take advantage of young talents financially and otherwise. For me, the major challenge was founding my own team, Team Korra. Once that was sorted out, everything else became easy,” she says.