Esther Clarkson popularly known as Hadassah is one of the few female singers from the North. The graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Maiduguri and a mother of 3 speaks on her challenges, her planned collaboration with Mr 442, among other issues.
Who is Hadassah?
My name is Esther Clarkson popularly known as Hadassah in the entertainment industry. I was born in Kaduna State and I started my educational pursuit in Zaria. I did my secondary school and diploma and got my first degree in Mass Communication all from the University of Maiduguri.
I am a song writer and musician who ventured into music in 2011. I have several songs to my credit and currently, I am working on a collaboration with Mr 442 which will soon be released. My music is mixed with Hausa language because I am from the North. I am married to a Captain in the Nigerian army and a mother of three.
Why music despite being a graduate of mass communication?
I believe music has been in me since childhood. While growing up, I was very good at mimicking other people’s songs. Despite having a degree in mass communication, I’ve always loved music and it has always been in my mind. When it was time for me to venture into it, it was just like something I have been into all my life.
While growing up, I believe American singer Brandy had an influence on me because I looked up to her as a role model. I started as a full-time singer in 2011, but after a year, I stopped for obvious reasons and then came back fully. Ever since, it has been one single or the other.
How did you cope as a married artist in what is known today as male dominated profession?
It wasn’t easy to be honest, but with the support I got from my husband, I was able to cope. On many occasions, I felt like quitting, but my husband keeps encouraging me by making a lot of supportive moves to keep me going. He is always there for me at every step I take in the pursuit of my career.
It is apparent that without my husband’s support, I wouldn’t have been where I am today. With his support, I have songs like ‘Motivation’, ‘Munchi Gida’, ‘About me’ and a couple of others.
How did you combine marriage and music?
Like I said, with the support of my husband, things were made very easy for me; my husband has been a great source of inspiration to me and a pillar in motivating me to go for what I want in my career. He goes with me to locations and stays with the children all through and on some occasions due to the nature of his job, he will secure a pass just to stay with the kids at home till I finish my recording sessions.
Ironically, when others were finding it very difficult, my husband was always there to make it easy for me. He didn’t want to give me a room to quit; he has always been there for me.
Tell us how it is being married and being a singer?
Initially, people were saying it wouldn’t work for me. They believed that at a point, I would have to choose between my marriage and career. Ironically, we scaled through all the huddles and my husband became my manager. We were into it together and we were able to excel despite all the assumptions and insinuations by the public.
Is being a musician paying your bills?
It is, but not as much as people expect and that is why right now I am pushing hard to make it worthwhile. However, it is very vital for people to understand that music is not about making money alone, music is about doing what makes you happy and gives you joy. Eventually, when I tried to leave music, it kept calling me back through other means. Despite being a graduate, my passion is with music and not any other thing.
Can you tell us the ongoing project you are doing with 442?
We have concluded the song and we are currently working on shooting the videos with Mr 442. It is a song about winning at home and abroad. We want to show the world what stuff the North is made of, we want to show the world that we have a lot to offer in the entertainment industry. I am very optimistic that music would surely go a long way in changing the narratives in the Hausa entertainment industry in particular and the Africa entertainment industry in general.
What is your memorable moment as a singer?
The love and encouragement I get from family, friends and the public. Their support and the confidence that they have on me is truly worth celebrating.
Do you think you can withstand the competition in a male dominated sector like this?
The issue is not about competition, it is a matter of doing the right thing at the right time. The industry has offered a free space for everyone to play and the females are taking the space being provided and are using it. Records are there to prove what I have said, ladies have been winning awards where male have contested, ladies are out there making good music and the public has been appreciating what they do. To me, the sky’s my limit and I will surely make it to the top.
What is your ambition in the entertainment industry?
My ambition is to go high in the industry and win Grammy awards as well as to make the North in particular and Nigeria in general proud.
Would you want your child to go into music as well?
Why not, already one of them has started showing traits of a potential musician.
Where do you see the northern entertainment industry in the near future?
I am optimistic that northern Nigeria entertainment will soon take over the nation’s entertainment industry. I don’t want to say that it has already taken over which I know it did unofficially, but soon the northern entertainment industry would become the talk of the town.