She did reign supreme and won many hearts as one of the best things to happen to musical revolution; that was in the tail end of the 90s and early 2000s when the hip hop tradition was in its upward projection. Hers is a typical story of falling from grace to grass. May it never happen to us and may God review her case for good. She began life with a beautiful romance with destiny, she was about to cross the rubicon; her hands were almost clutching the baton of riches, but at the very brink of stardom, she fell from the cliff of the mountain to where she never thought. Her name might have gone into oblivion but she’s one of the first set of parody-artistes in Nigeria. If you don’t know or never heard of Funke Olayode, a.k.a African Celine Dion, please take a while to check her song, Oun To Ba Gba from Google, before continuing reading this. It was shortly after Banky W. hit the studio with his fans teeming ‘Ebutte Meta’ song, a perfect imitation of Rihanna’s popular wave making album, Umbrella that she followed suit to release her own impeccable mimicry of Celine Dion’s song, ‘If That’s What It Takes’-translated to an incredible Yoruba version ”Oun To Ba Gba”, a super single and mega hit that uproariously pushed her to instant reckoning and sudden fame.
She became one of the most sought after budding artistes there and then as she began to grapple with different opportunities as the offer lasted. One of the most dangerous moments in the life of budding artistes who’re prone to fame is the ability to take right decisions when it matters, it is like drawing a line between life and death, unfortunately the black and talented beauty fell on the wrong side of the coin; she got carried away, maybe not particularly for material gains but bad gang or probably what she believes it’s a spiritual problem, ”they want me dead, it’s a plan by enemies”, her belief.
There are so many angles to her grace to grass story. She got signed to Atunda entertainment owned by a prominent resort owner but the relationship never blossomed, no one knows how it all crumbled but according to her, “the man stole most of my songs, ceased my international passport and got me kidnapped for days before I miraculously escaped”, she had said in one of her interviews.
The next phase of her story was when she was spotted at the Femi Kuti’s Afrikan Shrine where she was seen dancing for the Positive Force band, at that time, the news in town was she was involved in marijuana and drugs, though denied, “I heard the marijuana and drugs story but there was nothing close to that, all I know is I was depressed and I took to smoking and drinking but never did drugs, the closest I’ve seen drugs is on the television, she told us.
That’s how the talented, velvet voiced and promising Funke, the black beauty who’s an epitome of an African woman fizzled out from the scene when her contemporaries like Banky W, The Remedies, Plantashun Boyz band of Tu Face Idibia, Black Face and Faze, Olu Maintain and others were struggling for fame, money, limelight and above all, to revolutionalize the Nigeria hip hop industry, she caved in to the heat of that moment and until recently, no one knows what she’s been up to.
In our typical daring investigative adventure, National Enquirer was able to caught up with her in far away Ogbomosho, Oyo State where we managed to find out what she’s been up to. She was adamant, she was not ready to say anything but she’s okay, she’s fine the way she is, “it is too late to offer anything now, am not interested in anything, too late for whatever. Thank u, the circumstances surrounding my life permit nothing, it’s as simple as I have said it”, her words.
And we later probed further how she copes with life, daily bread and so on, “how I look for daily bread, I do hair weaving, nails and other petty hairdressing stuffs outdoor, in front of our house gate in Ogbomosho”
Everything about her words is in parable and when we asked her about relationship with man, sex and so on, her response, “like I said, the circumstances surrounding my life permit nothing. On a side of life where family is a weapon of destruction, when you are setup with psychiatric unit and regarded as being mad and for destruction, there is just nothing you can do to help my situation, do believe me. Relationship can never happen in this life... I do nails, lashes, manicure pedicure for people locally and hair too... am at war, just living each day as it comes”, she submitted sympathetically.
We’re so touched and confused that we’re thinking of what to do to help her plight, such a great talent must not waste, she’s blessed with a good voice but happens to fall victim of circumstances that could be beyond human comprehension sometimes. Aside physical affluence and attendant cosmopolitan look that would have glamorized her total being like her nouveau riche peers in the industry, Funke is still in her good shape and she told us as a parting shot, “I have always been a fitness freak and I hope to start living on it somehow someday too”, which means she’s conscious of her physical appearance. We shall be looking forward to suggestions, advices and supports anyone could think of, to help her plight. Please let’s work on a project, “Bring Funke Back” to the industry. Get in touch if you think so too.