…A woman is at her best when she is devoted and submitted to the influence of the Holy Spirit – Fola Folayan
I have known Fola (4LaH) of 99.3 Nigeria Info for a while – well not in person but I have seen her works on the social media and her music business and artiste elevation initiative, “Dear Artiste.” Women who have some form of influence always have that Margaret Thatcher stereotype attached to them and I had subconsciously carried the stereotype for Fola. Not that I was expecting her to be arrogant or nasty, of course she’s got he Holy Spirit taking care of her but I’d subconsciously expected a stern, all-business kind of lady as I journeyed to #ArtisteWhoLoveJesus on the 19th of October but the bright smile that welcomed me to the meeting broke down my thoughts like the bible described the weapons of our warfare in 2 Corinthian 10:4. I came to understand how is it that she could carry such a passion for artistes so much she has taken off huge chunk of time out of her ‘very busy schedule’ and dedicated it to the building up of Nigerian artistes.
Fola’s work span across Gospel to the mainstream affecting lives and effecting changes in the lives of ministers and entertainers alike. But the task did not come without its burden, Fola herself struggled to take a stand for God as she was been drawn into the ugly side of the entertainment industry but was rescued by God and given a mandate to rescue others.
This is what the On Air Personality, Fola ‘4LaH’ Folayan is about. She premiered the maiden edition of her monthly talent showcase event in October and as November draws close for the 2nd edition, I caught up with her while attending one of the best meetings I have seen youths hold – #ArtisteWhoLoveJesus – a bible study meeting for entertainers holding on Saturdays 11am at Beerhugz Café. We got talking after the event and Fola revealed so much about her passion, Dear Artistes, Best of Lagos, her career and oh… her fashion! Ladies will find her advice very tangible as she goes on to explain the place of the Holy Spirit in a woman’s life.
SelahAfrik: Can we get to meet Fola, who she is, her background, education and the likes?
Fola: My name is Fola Folayan… that’s my real name. (Laughs) I grew up in Illorin, I’m a product of a single parent. I did my higher education in Maiduguri… University of Maiduguri, Mass Comm… pretty much my summary, this is me, this is what I do, I’m a Christian, I love God, I’m a broadcaster, I work in a radio station, 99.3 Nigeria Info. I love music and I love the social media. Social media for me is not just a business, it’s a passion and I believe it’s a tool that God has provided to even help spread his gospel more and more.
Selah Afrik: Can you tell us about your life as a Christian, how did you find God?
Fola: My story is very complicated. I gave my life to God in the year 2001, when I was in the university through the BLW Campus fellowship but by the time I graduated and went for service, I left church, although I was still born again. I was getting influenced by a lot of things around me and started getting into the entertainment industry. I was getting exposed to the other side of entertainment and I followed it for a while but God brought me back (laughs)… God brought me back, towards the end of last year, God opened my eyes to see that this is not His plan for me, I mean, I’m saved, I am supposed to live hat way and not just waste my time leading other people astray. I had a lot of people who were looking up to me and were not born again but I was born again and living wrong so I had to turn my life around and say ‘God I’m sorry’ and I started letting God’s light reflect in everything I do.
SelahAfrik: How come you were able to come up with such a brilliant idea as Dear Artiste during those years of indecisiveness?
Fola: As at the time God gave me Dear Artiste, although I was still living wrong, I believe God saw that the potential was much and he gave it to me. It’s an idea born out of passion too. I realized I have a passion for young people, especially the ones that are passionate and talented so when God gave me Dear Artiste, I saw it as an opportunity to provide a platform for them where they can be heard and also teach, mentor and motivate them.
SelahAfrik: Can you measure the achievements of Dear Artiste?
Fola: Wow! God has helped us O… we started in February 2012 and it feels like it’s been more than a year plus. Last year February was the first seminar we had, after that was the Battle of the MCs where we had competition between rappers. The Open Mic event followed, after that was the joint effort with the InnerCity project where we were able to host and feed 500 kids. We have also had another seminar this year which was a music business seminar called The Artiste, His Management and the Law of Contract. It was a very successful seminar where the artistes learn how to sign a contract, what it takes and who to sign with. They learnt from well established industry people that came in and gave them lectures. I really thank God for the InnerCity Project as well, we were able to reach out to the kids of Agbe Street in Ajegunle, Lagos, people donated clothing, companies such as Procter and Gamble gave us diapers, detergents… individuals and artiste came in and brought books, clothing… even custom made ones.
We have also been able to put up a monthly event called the Dear Artiste Best of Lagos. We had the maiden edition in October, we are having another one this November so, Dear Artiste has raised a lot of people, upcoming artiste these days are just goldmine in my eyes and through our blog, we have been able to educate them. They are learning and I can see huge difference in all the ones that have come to me.
SelahAfrik: With the high level of influence you have amongst these artistes – with your platform and seeing all the good results it has produced – you don’t think it’s time you considered writing a book seeing that it is one area the Nigerian music industry is really lagging?
Fola: A book? Well, I think about it but I believe in God’s timing. Someone had approached me and was even willing to take over the publishing and all but I realize it wasn’t time yet.. it is however a welcomed idea and when the Holy Spirit says it’s time, I know He will make all things fall into place… but I’m open to God instruction on that.
Fola: Broadcasting started for me while I was in school, I was always interning at one station or the other. When I go for holiday in Kaduna, I will be at NTA Kaduna learning though I wasn’t getting paid but they fell in love with me and gave me a programme to host. Also in my town in Illorin, I was on TV there as a news reporter. By the time I’d graduated and moved to Ibadan, I worked at BCOS, radio and TV, I hosted shows there, then, I was a pioneer broadcaster for Diamond FM in Ibadan as well, after then I went to Abuja and worked at 104.5FM and then Lagos. I love broadcasting, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do so I’m doing my thing. It doesn’t even feel like work… really.
SelahAfrik: So what’s your regular day at work like?
Fola: My day start in the evening because I’m on the evening show – my show starts from 8pm to 1am – so I get to work around 6/6:30pm. I get on my desktop and check my email and I preplan my show. I have a team of researchers who submits their researches to me and then I juxtapose with my own topic that I Google and read from sites, I get couple of news materials from online newspapers because I treat political issues too. I put the show together on paper and then by 7/7:30, I’m just waiting and ready to go!
SelahAfrik: From all you’ve said and considering that you handle other projects as well, your schedule must be really though.
Fola: Oh my goodness… it’s really tough! My show ends at one but I don’t leave till around 2am, I get home around 2:30/3am. I then blog up till 4am because I probably won’t be able to sleep. My day starts anything from 12pm. The Holy Spirit is our strength and He just helps you to plan your time well if you are willing to plan.
SelahAfrik: What do you do for relaxation?
Fola: When I’m not doing anything, I just stay home… I don’t go out that much because I don’t have any extra time to waste on strenuous activities and you know… thank God for the internet, most times, I just blog from home.
SelahAfrik: Okay, let’s talk about Best of Lagos.
Fola: Yay! That’s my new baby! (laughs). It’s a platform where upcoming artiste who are based in Lagos can have the opportunity to perform with a live band. I’m trying to discourage miming, so the idea is come, perform and not just perform but have a regular place where you can showcase your gifts because a lot of these artistes do not have such platforms that extensively showcase what hey can do, this will help them build their confidence and help them develop a fanbase for themselves.
SelahAfrik: So you had the maiden edition in October, when is the next edition coming up?
Fola: The next edition is the 10th of November, at Beerhugz Café, Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja Lagos by 4pm. We are going to be having so many of our artistes including the CIA Crew, Barzini, Boogey, Payback, the ex-Project Fame winner Monica Oga and many others.
SelahAfrik: What will you call your most comfortable outfit?
Fola: I like jeans, converse or sneakers… and T-Shirt.
SelahAfrik: I noticed you always keep your hair in dreadlocks…
Fola: Yes, it removes the stress of going to the salon everytime, plus I can go out in the rain because I’m not scared of chemical damaging my hair… it’s my natural hair so I’m always good and ready to go.
SelahAfrik: You are looking really beautiful even without any makeup.
Fola: (Laughs). Thanks a lot, I’m not a fan of so much makeup, I just don’t have that time. When I wear makeup, it has to be a special occasion such as photo shoot or event.
Fola: You wont see me in a sandal or any open toe shoe. I like my shoes covered.
SelahAfrik: What’s your advice to ladies out there because I know a lot are seeing the things you are doing and they want to emulate the good examples?
Fola: First of all, I will say to ladies, love God. He s your number one person, He is closer to you than your husband or father so serve Him first. When the bible say seek ye first the kingdom of God, it just helps us to know we should be passionate about God first, He is the one who then builds you, shapes and mould you into who you are supposed to be. A woman is at her best when she is devoted and submitted to the interest of the Holy Spirit. You cannot dress or behave anyhow, you cannot hookup with the wrong kind of man if you are submitted to the influence of the Holy Spirit. A Woman is nurturer and when she is submitted to the influence of the spirit, men will see her and see the glory of God in her, she will raise men and raise nations.
SelahAfrik: Any last word as we wrap this up?
Fola: Ah! Thank you SelahAfrik. I really appreciate you for doing this. I pray God will bless you, God will increase you and your platform will build a lot for Christ. You will be heard and recognized all over the world. You will be a shinning light to many. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
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