A cozy crowd gathered around the strum of a guitar and the stirring voice of songstress Maka midday in the AfricaNXT Annex. The singer and songwriter describes her sound as a soulful delicacy that blends hip-hop, reggae, jazz and soul. She performed at an artHERE session, a collaboration of local artists.

One of the songs she performed during her set was I Just Got A Cheque. The song talks about getting paid for your passion.

Maka chatted with the #SMWLagos team on what the song means for artists finding their way, fears she had about not having stable work and how her former boss helped her make the decision to quit her job.



On what sparked the idea for ‘I Just Got A Cheque’

“I was speaking to creatives but the song can apply to everyone who is working and getting paid. So it’s just to inspire people to aspire to follow their passions. Because definitely if you’re good at what you do then the checks and the bank alerts will definitely come in.”


On how to make the time to pursue a dream

“It’s not easy … I’m one of the lucky ones who can say they do music full-time and still find food to eat and a place to sleep. So I can’t judge anybody who can’t leave their nine-to-five for being a creative. But I just want to tell them to just hang in there. Make time for music. The few times that you can get off work to go to the studio … keep doing that. Just keep pushing how you can because nobody has the formula. There’s no right way to do this.”


On when she knew it was time to quit stable employment

“I used to practice as a lawyer. And I worked for a bit and realized I just wasn’t happy. Maybe if I was doing something else that was a little more flexible and a little less miserable but the law profession wasn’t for me. And my boss actually used to come and watch me perform sometimes at Freedom Park and I just had a talk with him because we became close because he loves music. Who doesn’t love music anyway? So we become close and I confided in him and he felt that if it was really what I wanted to do then I just had to follow through. And I just did it the next month … I handed in my resignation. And it’s been good.

On her fears after she quit

“Basically, the income that was coming in every month from working … yeah, I was gonna miss that. But I knew that I just had to do it because a lot of people have done this music thing and they succeeded. So I don’t think God hates me so he’s going to obviously shine his light upon my career. And he’s been doing that so far but it hasn’t been easy. I tell people it’s like a bed of roses … it’s beautiful but the thorns are still there.”

Connect with more of Africa’s artists, innovators, designers and idealists take a glance at our schedule for this week’s events.

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