With over 2 decades in Nollywood and more than 50 movies to her credit, Award winning actress and sonorous singer Stella Damasus keeps getting better with time like fine wine. Vast in the art of recreating herself, she has gracefully sustained her relevance in the industry with a number of successful feats such as her foundations, line of hair products, radio, TV programs, web series and not forgetting the surrounding controversies that has brought the inadvertent awareness around her as well. Through it all, Stella has held her head up high blazing fresh trails as she unravels all the phases that make up the persona we have come to know and love.
Born in Asaba, Delta State, she grew up in Benin City where she completed most of her primary education. She is a Theatre arts graduate of the University of Lagos. Stella first appeared in a movie “Abused” in 1992 and has since been honoured with several awards including AMAA and GIAMA awards.
December 2014 saw the release of her single “The Man”, followed by the July 2015 release of “Jaa Gii Mma” and the subsequent videos that followed. SelahAfrik’s Alex Amos caught up with the delectable actress and she revealed the purpose behind her recent releases, why she ventured into Gospel music, how she manages to stay focus amidst bad press, future plans… and oh! She said she’s got 2 major announcements coming soon!
Stella Damasus: I’m not going back to music because I started with music. I was in a band for almost 3 years before I started acting and I continued till 2011. Music has always been a part of my life but I didn’t feel it was the right time to do my own album because I had to make a decision to either sing strictly for God or secular music which I used to do and when the time came for me to decide, I chose God and that was when the Holy Spirit gave me the release to do my music.
SelahAfrik: Oh… It’s that why you chose Christian music because you could have done any music and still be successful with it?
Stella Damasus: Like I said earlier, it was a decision that I made to sing for God. Since he gave me the talent, I decided to use it to honor him. It’s not about money or fame; it’s about worshipping God with everything that I have and all that I am.
SelahAfrik: We have seen 2 singles and videos from you since December last year, should we still be expecting more? An album perhaps?
Stella Damasus: Yes, I’m working on some other songs, a few more videos and then I would release the album
SelahAfrik: Are you planning on any collaboration with any Gospel act in that case?
Stella Damasus: I’ve already recorded a song with an American rapper and I might do a few more collaborations but I will let you know as time goes on.
SelahAfrik: Working with your husband Daniel as your producer is a privilege only few artistes enjoy, can you tell us how your relationship has enhanced your music chemistry and work flow
Stella Damasus: I found a talented man who understood what I wanted to achieve, my style and my voice so I worked with him. It has been an amazing journey so far.
SelahAfrik: After keeping mute for a while on your relationship and the surrounding rumors, you recently set the record straight during an interview with Golden Icons, can you tell us what prompted the need to speak up now?
Stella Damasus: I was asked a direct question for the first time as opposed to people making assumptions and spreading rumors.
SelahAfrik: How do you manage to keep your head up amidst all the rumors seeing they can be demoralizing for someone who is working hard trying to birth her visions?
Stella Damasus: I keep my eyes and my focus on the one who put me here, gave me the talent and sent me to do His will; which is God. Regardless of what anyone has to say, the only person that I chose to listen to is God and from the day I discovered how He feels about me nothing else could matter to me anymore.
SelahAfrik: You are known not to hold back on issues, especially as you dish them on your web series Stella Damasus Diaries, Tell us more about the web series
Stella Damasus: Stella Damasus Diaries is a platform that I use to speak to my fans and people who listen to me. I discuss everything around me and things that are going on in the world and I give my honest undiluted opinion. It has been growing since I started it, the response has been great, some television stations here in America have actually picked it up and I’m still recording more episodes.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about your foundations; Stella Damasus Arts Foundation and Adiva. Can you measure the achievements of these organizations so far?
Stella Damasus: Stella Damasus Arts Foundation was set up to provide capacity building for young people who had a lot of talent but don’t know how to channel it. We started with music and acting classes, and had a lot of celebrity instructors who came and helped the students. The benefactors of the foundation were all auditioned and the successful ones were accepted and trained for 3 months, for free and were provided the materials they needed for the learning process. We have produced a lot of stars in Nigeria today like Tope Tedela, Stanley Nze, Ayomipo Oyenuga, Raheem Ayuba, Olivia Amadi and more. Right now the foundation has been doing things in Cameroon, Houston Texas and Los Angeles. We are currently working with some organizations to help young people in Atlanta and the DMV area.
Adiva is a platform that we established to mentor, inspire and train women and young girls to achieve their dreams. We have success stories with some of our participants and we were able to hold our forums in Lagos, Abuja, Cameroon and New York.
SelahAfrik: With all that you have going on in your work and life, how do you manage being a wife and a mother?
Stella Damasus: It’s simple! Scale of preference!
SelahAfrik: What will you call the highlight of you career yet?
Stella Damasus: I’m not there yet.
SelahAfrik: What’s a regular Sunday in your home like?
Stella Damasus: A regular Sunday starts with church, then family meal, conversation with my kids, devotion and then bed time.
SelahAfrik: You are a very fashionable personality even ventured into your own line of hair product, Adiva; can you describe your style?
Stella Damasus: Simple, classy, elegant, comfortable and affordable.
SelahAfrik: What should we be expecting from Stella Damasus in the immediate future?
Stella Damasus: I’m working on my album, a new movie, 2 major announcements coming soon, more episodes of my radio show, my diaries, my favorite things and my TV show coming soon.
Connect with Stella Damasus
Instagram & Twitter: @stelladamasus
Catch Stella Damasus’ webseries and videos at youtube.com/stelladamasus
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