Waje, the Nigerian singer and songwriter, says she was once paid N1000 monthly to work as a church secretary.
The 42-year-old brought the revelation to light on the latest episode of the Tea With Tay podcast.
The singer said she had to move from Benin to Enugu to stay with her aunt following the stigmatisation she went through as a result of her teenage pregnancy.
She also said it was while working in the church that her talent got noticed.
Waje added that she signed her first record label deal when she was 19.
“I think ‘Do Me’ came out in 2006 or 2007. As at the time ‘Do Me’ came out, I was already signed to a record deal five or six years in. I got signed because I remember my daughter was just about 1 and I was about 19 at the time,” she said.
“So I got signed and I moved to Enugu. When I had my daughter, the stigmatisation and everything, you know teenage pregnancy and all of that. So I just couldn’t live in Benin anymore, so I left Benin and moved to Enugu, to my mum’s sister’s house.
“I now stayed, such an amazing woman, I call her big mummy. I stayed with her and she used to attend a church called Almond Chapel. Because I hadn’t gotten into school yet, I started working as a church secretary.
“So my salary was one thousand naira and this was the year 2002 and one thousand naira maybe would be five thousand naira today. It was a growing church but I enjoyed it because I used to wear my aunty’s skirt suits, I needed to be a grown-up.
“I was in the choir and one Sunday after singing, that was when I met my mentor Chris Madubuko. So when I met him, he heard when I sang and he was like ‘I have a record label, you sing well and you should be signed’.
“I was like no I wasn’t called to be signed. I was called to sing the gospel. Even if it wasn’t gospel, I didn’t want to put my voice on a track. I thought as far as music was concerned, it was church.
“I was fine with singing from church to church. Then he convinced me that ‘God gave you such a beautiful gift, you can’t just be there and you can make money from this gift.’ So I signed with him.”
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