Mercy Chinwo is the 2012 winner of Nigerian Idol, the recently-concluded music reality TV show sponsored by Etisalat. She speaks with ADEMOLA OLONILUA about her experience in the camp and her aspirations
You have just emerged the winner of Nigerian Idol. Before now, did you try to participate in the show?
This is my first time on the Nigerian Idol show. It has been an interesting journey so far. I attended the audition in Port Harcourt. Many people came from different parts of the country for the same event. I scaled through on the first day and got invited on the second day for the next round of the audition. After that, I was selected as one of the top hundred people from Port Harcourt, Lagos, Benin and Abuja zones. Then the top hundred moved down to Lagos for another round of auditioning. Some people were evicted and 30 others were left. Then we were called back in groups. I was in the third group, which is the last group. That was where they picked the top 12.
What encouraged you to obtain the entry form for Nigerian Idol?
It is because I have a flair for music. Second, I wanted to give it a trial. It coincided with the period I was seeking admission to the university. I told myself that instead of just sitting at home and doing nothing, I should just give it a trial. I thank God it worked out well for me. I never wanted to go for it. It was my friend that really encouraged me.
Did it ever occur to you that you might end up winning the competition?
I knew something good was going to come out of it because I went in with a positive intention and positive dream. I knew this when I came in as part of the top 100. Later, I was chosen as one of the top 30. Then I emerged on the top 12 list. I just knew something good was going happen and that was why I gave it my best.
Tell us about your best and worst moments during the contest.
My worst moments were the eviction stages. At the first stage, two people were evicted from the competition. I felt bad because they were my co-contestants and everybody in the top 12 was good. My good moments were the time I had with my co-contestants. The only time I almost gave up was when we had our third eviction and a friend of mine was evicted. He was from Port Harcourt, too.
What do you intend to do to remain relevant in the entertainment industry?
I plan to remain relevant by dazzling my fans and doing things in an unusual manner. I believe my hard work will pay off. People are expecting much from me. I want to give them the best I have. I plan to stand out in the industry.
How do you plan to combine show business with your education?
I think it will work. It might be stressful, but I don’t have a choice. This is a life I have chosen to live. I would just work things out and make sure I put them in proper perspective.
How did your parents react to your decision to contest in Nigerian Idol?
My mother was not aware that I was going for the audition initially. My dad is dead. When I was invited to the next stage of the audition in Lagos, I informed my mother and my family and they were in support of it. They also helped out and advised me.
When did you start singing?
I started singing at a tender age. I took it up as a career in 2007 when I lost my dad and I had to take care of my younger ones. I’m the first daughter. I’m from a polygamous home.
What is the secret of your success?
I think it is my ability to be creative and make my songs interesting. I don’t do anything without prayers. I got advice from my co-contestants. I did not do it alone. I got support from my vocal coach, my music instructors and other people on the show. We shared ideas together, that was how everything worked out for me. That was how I stood out from others.
Do you intend to make new friends?
I will keep my old friends and accommodate new ones. My old friends were there for me when I needed them. If I leave them, exclude them from my life, it will not augur well for my career. So what I plan to do is accommodate all my friends.
What lessons did you learn from the competition?
I have learnt to be time conscious and to keep to time. Also, I have learnt tolerance and to accommodate other people. Meeting the other 12 contestants and living with them has taught me a lot. I have also improved on my performance.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself making a positive impact in the lives of many youths. I’m interested in helping them to discover and realize their dreams, as well as working hard at it like I did. I see Mercy going on tour across the world. I would not focus on music alone, I would be vibrant in all aspects of entertainment
Do you have a boyfriend?
I do not want to talk about it. I’m not searching
SOURCE: THE PUNCH