My name is Dr Adaku Agwunobi. I am a singer, songwriter and a PhD holder. I am a big advocate for making the most out of life and doing everything that makes one happy. People always find it interesting that I have such a varied mix of creativity and academia but that is literally me in a nutshell. I was born and brought up in London, United Kingdom, which is where I still live. However, I am from Imo State. My dad is from the Amaofuo area of the state, while my mum is from the Mgbidi area.
I have a PhD, two Master’s degrees and a post-doctoral at Oxford University. My PhD thesis was titled, Entrepreneurial Health and Wellbeing in the Digital Economy: An Intersectional Critical Realist Investigation.
My first degree was a Bachelor’s in Economics, while my second Master’s degree was in Health Economics. I actually started my second full-time Master’s programme as I was finishing my full-time PhD. Interestingly, my postdoctoral at Oxford University was in the department of Engineering Science. I am also a Fellow at the Said Business School of Oxford University. I have some other qualifications as well.
My gratitude for life is where I draw inspiration from. Anyone that knows me knows I love to live to the fullest, and this reflects in everything I do.
I have always loved to sing. I have been writing songs since I was a little girl. I used to make my cousins and sister sing and dance along with me. However, I technically released my first song titled, Jisike, in September 2020.
I think I have a unique and unintentional ‘British-Igbo’ style which is inspired by my upbringing and heritage. My style is called ‘Afro-fusion’ for this reason. My album consisted of RnB/soul, highlife, UK rap and even drill. One interesting fact about me is that I have been part of a gospel choir for most of my life and I love it. I believe that not only is it the best authentic way to train one’s voice, gospel music is so powerful that one learns the importance of meaning what one is singing.
I released my debut album in November, 2021 and it is titled, The Vibes are Known. It was released on November 20, 2021, which was the second year anniversary of me passing my PhD viva.
Growing up, I was really shy. I never thought I was good enough, and that was a recurring theme. It took me a while to break out of that (state of mind). Even then, I think I need to stop shying away from showcasing all my gifts. I practically sing all the time, so I might as well put more (materials) out there. There is always so much I can do and share, so I am reminding myself to do just that. In terms of general challenges, I always tell myself that things will be fine. That always makes such a difference, and this is why I made the song, Jisike, to encourage people going through tough times that everything will be okay. When one has that mindset, one can get through many things.
I think it’s between my songs, Egwu Ukwu and Jisike— both of which consist of my ‘Engligbo’ (combination of English and Igbo) in a unique way.
It is so nice when people come up to me and we get to talk about music, what certain songs mean to them, and I thank them for showing me love.
What I don’t like about fame is the ‘normalisation’ of unkindness. It is as if people forget that celebrities are human too just because they are in the limelight. It is important to always be kind.
I think it’s my energy. The two words— vibes and energy— are consistent when people describe me, and it comes from within. Also, my genuine love for the culture is undeniable.
It is interesting because I really enjoyed doing my PhD. It only took me two years and 10 months to complete it.
One of my mottos is, ‘Never stop learning’, and that does not necessarily mean doing a PhD. One can learn from everyday life happenings.
Music is literally my outlet. It is a key source of my well-being, so it will always pay off for me. I want to continue touching people with my music and make an impact.
I have practically been shuttling between England and Nigeria for the past few years.
I purposely did not feature any artiste on my album so that people can hear me, my vibe and my style. However, I will like to work with a lot of artistes. I love supporting other artistes and I am always sharing their music. I believe there is space for all of us, and I am really excited to collaborate.
I love entrepreneurship and all the opportunities it provides to people. I also love the concept of using it as a vehicle to find solutions to societal problems. I am always full of ideas and very entrepreneurial. I love all things that have to do with well-being.
I unwind by singing, writing and dancing. I love doing those things from the bottom of my heart. I feel so happy and full of joy around music and creativity.
My favourite Nigerian food is abacha, and my favourite British food is fish and chips.
My favourite colour depends on my mood at the time. Sometimes, it could be red, and sometimes it could be purple, yellow, orange or blue.
I am most active on Instagram but I will start using other social media platforms more soon.
I have not really experienced cyber bullying. If anyone tries to bring bad vibes, I mostly don’t give them the time of day. If I have some time, I might put one or two people in their place, for educational purposes of course (laughs). But, it is important for us to focus on positive things and people, because otherwise, it is easy to let few bad comments put one down when it is better to focus on the kindness that others show.
Heaven is the goal (laughs). I just say thank you (to male fans for their admiration) and stay focused.
In five years, I hope to sell out arenas and stadiums. I am very focused and hard-working. I feel it strongly that my time is coming. I want to make meaningful impact with my music. I want to connect with those who listen to my music more, and really add value to their lives.
My style is very much representative of how I’m feeling at any particular time. One afternoon, you might see me in a ball gown and 24 hours later, I could be in ankara and a blazer. I have always loved fashion. I have been invited to the London Fashion Week since I was 18 and interestingly, I usually wear native attire at least one day of each fashion week.
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