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BN On The Radio: Matse – Wazobia FM 95.1

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Note: You’re absolutely not prepared for most of the info about Matse you will come across in this piece.

After the BN On The Radio: Toolz (Linked here) went up last week, I jokingly told her (Toolz) that the profile with her would be my last – referring to the challenges that we both went through to make last week’s post possible.

I lied.

This one, BN On The Radio: Matse, is my last.

I realize that I made the biggest mistake no music journalist should make, EVER.  In fact, It’s Rule No. 1

Rule No. 1: Never pre-judge ANYONE you have to profile, EVER.

Wait! Where are my manners? Let’s open her file first:

EOAP No. 2

On-Air Name: Matse

Real Name: Matse Uwatse

Radio Station: Wazobia 95.1 FM

Let’s have a little background. You see, for a very long time – just before the Nigerian Radio Renaissance, the average Nigerian (Your driver, Bus-Drivers and Mama Bomboy down the road) had very little to connect with. At least until Radio in their tongue came along – Wazobia FM. For them, and a lot of us, radio became more personal.

Matse represents the Renaissance for Pidgin English on the radio. She speaks pidgin virtually ALL DAY, every day. Now here’s my mistake – I armed myself (rightly I thought at the time) with what I thought were the appropriate tools. I brushed up on my pidgin, with my security guard. I wanted to be able to connect with my interviewee. I learnt new pidgin words like Skillashi [noun] – loosely translated to mean having talents/skills (acquired and innate); all thinking I’d be able to use them.

And then I got to the station and in my best Pidgin impression I was ready to flow with her on another level. In my head, it’d be my best interview yet. HA! Was I in for a surprise! I should have known when she met with me at the Gate House of the radio station and she had greeted me with her brightest smile.

We got to the production room and I was ready. Uber-ready in fact (Imagine me drawing my Pidgin sword here). And the pre-interview banter begun, She did not speak pidgin, people! I almost forgot to hit the record button at first. Not that you would expect her to be an old lady with two wrappers around her waist, but then. Heck it was not an interview, it was like meeting with a new friend or possibly even a pen pal.

The first surprise of course came when we explored her background. She said, “I’m a Linguist, I studied Modern European Languages, majorly French and then some German. Languages have always been my thing so being here at Wazobia is not much of a surprise.” It’s difficult to believe that with that much education she can slip easily to pidgin but she attributed it to her background, “I be Warri girl and na Pidgin them take bring me up“. She sees herself as an introvert, “I am an introvert” as she laughed “I can see you’re raising an eyebrow. But it’s true, I’m a very private person.” Introverted as she may be, her depth is profound. From the different talents that she has to .

The conversation shifted to music and it became more a bonding session as we reeled off bands and artistes that we enjoyed in common.  The roll call was a surprise to say the least given the kind of music she has to play on the radio and her job description. David Guetta, Bob Sinclair, Enya, Enigma, Cranberries, Imogen Heap and Deep Forest are just a few. She said, “That is my kind of music. It’s not the everyday R&B people are used to. I love the kind of music that’s different. Esoteric, if you will.

Before she made the move to radio, Matse was an Administrative Executive with the prestigious Bang & Olufsen. Yes, THE Bang & Olufsen. Why would she do that? She blamed it on the paper, “I got tired of all the paper. I am very creative and I love to think. I enjoy bringing my fantasies to life. And being an Admin Exec was not enough, I was just tired of the monotony.” The decision was a surprise to every one, even to this writer, She quipped, “Everyone was like, Matse are you crazy? You left B&O? and I’m uh-hun? So?” and she continued “We all have what comes naturally to us, I am not a natural with office work. I am more a creative person. As a kid I used to paint and I still do. I just needed a place away from there to let down my hair and fly. So when the Wazobia opportunity came by, I just snapped it up

Painting is not the end of it for her, she writes and she’s also an interior decorator; talents which she is genuinely proud of. She proudly showed her work both as a writer (she runs a blog) and as a decorator. She went on to briefly give her own take on the importance and effect of colors. Her vast knowledge about everything from colors to history to esoteric music is impressive to say the least. And then it’s easy to ask, is the Matse on the radio merely a personality? “No, it’s not. We’re one and the same. It’s still me. Only just a part of me.

Her audition for Wazobia was a fond story to tell with the way her face lit up in the nostalgia of the moment. She said, “ I went in there prepared. When I got in, I told them see here’s what and what I have planned. These are the shows I will do when you give me the job. And then they told me to switch to pidgin and I said ‘Na so we go come dey do am’. We talked and laughed. And when I was walking out of the door I knew I had the job.

In the two years since she got the job, the response has been overwhelming for her to say the least. She spoke humbly of eminent personas and having her work acknowledged by them. For her, she still finds it surprising that people from vastly different backgrounds take the time out to listen to her. And the awards, “CNN’s African Voices gave the award for most outstanding radio presenter in West Africa, I got the Future Awards in Nigeria, Women in Media also here in Nigeria. It’s been amazing. I’ve met people I would not ordinarily meet, Governors, Senators, First Ladies name it” She related the story of meeting a particular lady, She said while laughing, “After I introduced myself, she said: ‘You’re Matse?! You! I will beat you! So you are this tiny?! I thought you were one matured old woman’ So that’s it. It’s been fantastic.

On a parting note, from here on, for Matse it’s one creative challenge after the other. She continues her Interior décor business as well as her painting and writing. She’s currently working on a book that will be released mid next year. What’s next after Wazobia? *Drum Roll* Wait for it… She said, “I usually don’t say this but… Politics. I will not expatiate but yes. Politics

Watch out, BN On The Radio again next week – oh wait, this is my last. Great.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

50 Comments

  1. Nnamdi

    August 18, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Hello all…I usually browse through to read the comments on Bella Naija during my lunch hours but I have never bothered to write a comment till now. Bella I must commend you on your blog. you are doing a great job and the posters are very interesting.
    Matse is indeed a wonderful presenter and I never knew she was this beautiful. She is what you call a radio revolutionist handling topics that people would not touch with a barge pole. I salute you Matse. You are a wonder on radio.

  2. bimpe

    August 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Mase is da bomb!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. beese

    August 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    the first three paragraphs sound very patronizing, almost demeaning of what matse stands for as a pidgin-english OAP (whatever that means). i just hate the pull Jibola is trying to achieve here. “learn pidgin english from her security guard….” i mean…please!

    • Tee

      August 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      I disagree with beese oh. I think anyone could have fallen prey to that hazard. I mean please, not everyone of us can speak proper pidgin like matse. looks to me like jibola was just makin ample preparation for this interview. there’s no harm in trying to fit in with who you’re interviewing. It’s standard Journalism Practice. But then again, you don’t sound like you know so much about that :p

      MOVING ON

      Omg! I didn;t realize matse was so beautiful! it is really nice to finally be able to put a face and person to the voice. I love you matse!

    • lola

      August 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      Thank you i was thinking the exact same thing!….it irritates me when i meet Nigerians even here in the states that act like they don’t know anything about pidgin English….i have been in the states for 11 years and i can still speak pidgin English…Not to talk of someone who probably lives in Naija…abeg spare me! so what exactly did you expect from a woman who spoke pidgin? narrow minded…much. Anyways nice write up and please try to stop being the typical narrow minded Nigerian

  4. DU

    August 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    MAtse

  5. omogekofo

    August 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    nice one. pretty lady.
    i also tout i would see an oposite of the picture i saw or read an opposite i what iread bout her.

    pls wen in politics, do call me up. u gat a sister in me.

  6. MO

    August 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    she is a WONDER WOMAN,so intelligent and mature.

  7. motuns

    August 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Matse is so natural with her pidgin english that one doubts if she can speak well. I must confess, she is wonderful on stage.

  8. Mimi

    August 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    She is PURE INSPIRATION.

  9. efed

    August 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I am glad that you are getting the recognition you deserve love. The sky is definitely the limit and believe me, i miss being with you guys. Matse Uwase…

  10. D.O.T.M.H.

    August 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    ITS A LIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! OMG!!! WAS THIS INTVW REALLY REALLY MATSE’S INTVW?? R U SERIOUS?? Modern European languages?? Esoteric music? do I even know what that is?? Father forgive me for I have judged!! Jibola I think I’m more shocked than you are. I can’t believe this is the Matse… wow!

  11. Toks

    August 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Great woman, true woman. Epitome of a strong woman. Matse I adore you. keep it real girl. The sky is your beginning. May God richly bless you for the changes you have caused with your radio program.

  12. L.O

    August 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Way to go Matse! I love you girl. You may not know this but you saved my marriage. I love you dear.

    • fokasibe

      August 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

      Oh do tell us how!! Please!!!!!!!!!

      MATSE IS THE ABSOLUTE BOMB!!

  13. QueenJaga

    August 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    @ L.O Matse saved ur marriage?! DAYUM! that’s very touching and inspiring too.Thank God.am sure Matse will love to hear that. Well done girl… she is pretty and looks younger than she sounds.

  14. Titi

    August 19, 2010 at 12:31 am

    I love love Matse ! This interview does not surprise me at all. She has always struck me as a deeply intelligent woman and person of amazing depth and empathy. Rock on girl, I hope to see more of you in other ventures . Good luck and God bless. Naija definitely needs more people like you.

  15. L.O

    August 19, 2010 at 9:02 am

    @ QueenJaga…Yes she did Oh! My husband and I were having frictions when one evening on my way from my friend’s boutique I turned on my car radio to hear her talking about marital issues and ego. I decided to iron things out with my man. Great lady,that girl Matse.

  16. Eno

    August 19, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Matse, love u, girl.
    Can’t count how many times you’ve made me laugh out loud.
    Thanks for making driving around in Lagos that much more interesting

  17. Geekgirl

    August 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Why did i find the first few lines of this interview demeaning?Typical posh Lagos crowd mentality.Never listened to her before, will make a mental note and make efforts when i go home to listen to wazobia, abi do they have a website?

  18. Bravebird

    August 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    @Geekgirl, I completely agree, your average Nigerian being a bus driver, mama bomboy etc. I mean seriously??? Bella Naija you should be careful, you never know who is reading.

    • D.O.T.M.H.

      August 19, 2010 at 10:55 pm

      Lol, I noticed that but decided to let it go…

  19. Mimi

    August 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    For those of you abroad who want to listen to her on Wazobia Fm, go to http://www.wazobiafm.com and click on the live streaming…

  20. Eson

    August 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    We dey gbadu you! Shine shine baby.

  21. Linda

    August 20, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Strong and intelligent with a soothing voice. You shake the air waves babe, lagos loves….not just Lagos, Nigeria loves you and thanks for making 9ja proudd.

  22. teeno

    August 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

    ”a.mebo..amebo,a.mebo…,matse u sef na amebo”…lol.. so luv d amebo zone on wazobia fm. hard truths!! keep up d gud work gurl, touching many lives uv never known.
    other characters like yaw,opj,xpensive,lolo 1,lady g,willie willie,etc help to relieve the stress.kudos to u all…

  23. shantee

    August 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I was so shocked the first time I met Matse (TW anniversary, 2009)… I truly expected someone older as in way outta our league (lol… generation X)!
    Matse: Go gal, U sure rock it wella… and listening to the whole crew of 95.1 has helped my pidgin… **smiles**

  24. kike

    August 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    SHE IS INTELLIGENT……..NOTING DO U MATSE………NICE VOICE

  25. Ayo

    August 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    People, people, calm down…I dont interprete Jibola’s comments as being demeaning. The fact of the matter is those are indeed the average Nigerians! The people that live below the minimum wage, the people that ended their education at Primary or Secondary School level, the people that are just trying to make ends meets…check independent statistics all around. There are people including myself who are totally fed up with the groovy radio stations that have OAPS speaking in the most annoying fake accents ever and not much substance in terms of programming. We also don’t wanna have to listen to the native language stations cos that restricts the audience e.g. I can’t listen to BBC Hausa or any of the Yoruba stations. I love Wazobia FM, no fakeness, just keeping it real. Even the news is fantastic! Everyone gets it and I mean everyone.

    As for the comment about brushing up on pidgin, please, I’ve lived in Lagos all my life, and my pidgin is crap. Pidgin is a language, its not just about trying to speak bad English cos that’s what most of us are doing when we try to speak pidgin! So yeah, Jibola had to try to do some research cos if she/he (don’t know which) was asked to speak in pidgin and had just spoken bad English, that’d have been patronising!

  26. BheeJay

    August 26, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Still faraway from naija i listen to wazobia FM everyday…. Matse and OPJ re always cool

  27. Anna Okem

    September 7, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Infact,Matse is absolutely the best.

    Ann.

  28. princess isabel

    October 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    matse you look beautiful on internet

  29. princess isabel

    October 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    i listen to wazobia all the time because of u matse

  30. Tete

    October 22, 2010 at 3:01 am

    No one like you Matse…you wayyyy above them lots. Queen of the Air waves.

  31. idowu sunday ojo

    October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    my name is idowu sunday frm badagry,aunty matse i love u and ur program bcos if hear ur program i always feel happy kip it up

  32. charles bassey

    November 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    hi matse well done hw today hope find pls play a trac from face for me title letter to my brother, my name is charles bassey from oworoshoki.

  33. amaka

    November 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    You have a very good sense of humour. I think you give good counsel as well, keep it up.

  34. I.J

    November 18, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Queen of the Airwaves. Omalicha Matse. U have shown other radio presenters what it takes to be an exceptional OAP. Humilty, Courage, Empathy,Humour and above all you havbe the fear of God. God bless you my girl. They aint seen nothing yet! The Oprah of Africa…soon your name will ring bells like Oprah in the four corners of the earth.

  35. Rebecca

    November 23, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Matse you are too much. You have really tourched so many lives
    positively with your radio programmes.Keep it up.

  36. Benneth Durugbor

    November 24, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Matse is every listeners delight anytime, any day very intelligent and matured, Her voice can melt the hardest of Hearts, Thumbs Up!

  37. patrick chukwudi

    November 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    in fact the only radio presenter wey i no na matse. my dear carry go naijia guys de fill you die. you too much. my friend say make you email me weather you don marry or not? nice one babe

  38. abisola

    November 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    i realy love matse am very happy for her,this is my first time of seeing her,she is very intelligent & good on stage,but if i may ask have get married at all, with love from abisola.

  39. festus

    January 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    anti matse,your beauty is like thee bed of roses that is been cherished by some one around, when ever i hear your voice on radio,i use to feel happy because it brings peace into my heart.

  40. festus

    January 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    say me well to all Wazobia f.m workers for example MC DJ Opj, general badman,uncle Yoyoyo,uncle femi,sister omotunde,akazbaba e.t.c.

  41. hanna

    January 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    u are so special and entertaining i love the way u speak ur pigin

  42. Adolphus

    February 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Matse amarichanwa, u look good and sexy. make ur yori yori body remain as ebi okay the beauty wey dey ur body too much abeg. l wish u make baby like urself 4 me l take GOD beg u.

  43. ayo

    March 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Sister Matse I dey gbadun your programme no be small. I am now Matsemaniac . Continue to try your best. May God continue to be with you.
    Amen

  44. EYESAN BAWOR

    March 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    dont disturb me

  45. EYESAN BAWOR

    March 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    miss matse my office people dey call me aunty matse cos na only
    wazobia station i dey listen to. BAWOR FROM AJEGUNLE

  46. Emmanuel Sem Atodjinu

    May 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Lolo I always dey call you but you no dey pick, if I even try to greet, you no dey respond shey you hate this name abi na wetin, I dey vex for Omo Lolo1

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