Star Spot with Mercy Alu, World Music Artist, Songwriter, Producer
Insights on inspiring story unique approach to music-making and making a difference in the world: An Interview with Mercy Alu
Welcome to this episode of Star Spot! I’m Merry, and in this series, I interview InterContinental Music Awards winners and insiders, bringing you exclusive insights into the music industry. Today, I’m thrilled to have with me Mercy Alu (aka Mercy Ngozi Alu), our brilliant winner of 2022.
Mercy Alu, an award-winning recording artist, songwriter, singer, author, and scholar from Nigeria. Mercy’s musical journey has been nothing short of remarkable, having won several awards, including the Peace Song Award in the World Music category, at the 4th Annual Peace Song Awards held on the UN international day of peace in 2020.
In this interview, Mercy shares her experiences and challenges in the music industry, her inspirations, and how she has contributed to the development of youth music talent in Nigeria and Ghana. As the chairperson of the research and grants department of the International Association of African Authors and Scholars, Mercy is dedicated to promoting literacy, capacity building, and education in the continent.
Let’s dive right into the interview summary and tap into Mercy ‘s vast knowledge and experience. The full interview is available on Instagram – click here to check it out.
Can you give us a brief biography of yourself?
Sure, my name is Mercy Ngozi Alu, and I consider myself a global citizen. I am from Nigeria in West Africa, but I have also lived in the US and Ghana. As a Nigerian artist, I started very young and have been in the entertainment industry in one way or another for a few years now.
Can you take us back to the very first time you realized you wanted to do something with music? When was it, and how did you know you wanted to do this?
It was innate for me. I started out as one of those shy people, but I loved to sing. In the village where I grew up, I would sing to people going to the market, and some of the elderly people would call me to sing. I would gather other little kids around, probably around the ages of five to eight, and make up songs. It was just something that came naturally to me. It then progressed to singing in church and writing songs for organizations in school, such as the Press Club or other school teams.
Can you give us a bit of background on your inspiration for your music, both in the past and currently?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a calling towards music. My inspiration comes from a place of feeling, where I would just feel compelled to write a song about something that was on my heart. When I was younger, I wrote songs for a children’s show on the Emo Broadcasting Corporation in Nigeria and also wrote songs for various organizations in school.
As I grew older, I was inspired by the music I heard on the radio and would often get told that I sounded like certain artists. I started writing more in my teens, drawing inspiration from nature, events, and life in general, even though I hadn’t fully experienced it yet. I find that my inspiration continues to come from these sources today, as well as my faith and personal experiences.
Could you tell us about your creative process?
My creative process usually begins with a theme or idea that strikes me. I try to figure out how to express and capture the feeling and story behind it. It’s a very natural process for me, and I can write an entire song in just a few minutes. I focus on creating a hook, a theme, and a story that can touch people and capture the feeling I’m trying to convey.
How would you categorize your music?
I would classify my music as afro pop/afrobeat, with elements of gospel music. My music is inspirational and has a theme with a message. While I do write fun and feel-good music, there is always a message behind it.
Do you think having a theme for a song makes it easier to connect with the music?
Yes, I believe having a theme or message behind a song makes it easier for listeners to connect with the music. It gives the song a purpose and allows listeners to relate to the emotions and experiences being expressed in the song.
What was your takeaway from your experience with InterContinental Music Awards?
My experience with ICMA showed me that the organization fills an important space in the music industry. There are many talented artists out there, but not all of them know how to navigate the industry and take their music to the next level. ICMA bridges that gap by offering mentorship and learning opportunities to both seasoned and up-and-coming artists.
I also appreciate the inclusivity of ICMA, as it brings together artists from different cultures and countries, making it a truly global event. During the awards ceremony, I felt like I was sitting in an auditorium somewhere in Hollywood, watching the world of music come together in perfect harmony. It was a wonderful experience that I will always cherish.
What were some challenges you faced in your music career?
I’ve faced a few challenges in my music career. Firstly, starting out, I lacked experience and found it difficult to navigate the opinions of others in the studio. However, over time, I learned how to stay true to my own voice and distinguish my own influences. Another challenge was understanding the financial side of the industry. Despite having opportunities to tour with Def Jam, I had to balance my music career with my academic pursuits, as my father was a professor, and I felt the pressure to follow a stable career path.
I registered as an ASCAP artist but didn’t pursue it fully because of the financial needs that arise with recording music and releasing it. Many artists struggle with this aspect, and I believe it’s important to have an “anchor job” that allows them to continue to follow their passion while contributing positively to society. I reconciled this by realizing that success in one area can feed into other areas and that, even with other jobs, artists can still make it until they get to where they want to be in their music.
What advice would you give to someone starting out their music career?
The best advice I would give to someone starting out their music career is to have passion and patience. Music is not just a theoretical thing, but it requires a lot of work and internal drive. You must be your biggest fan and believe in yourself, your work, and your art. Focus on enjoying your work, and if you want people to enjoy it, you must enjoy it yourself. Networking is also crucial to getting anywhere in the music industry.
It can help you get interviews and media coverage that can push your brand forward. So, network and stay the course, enjoying every success, no matter how big or small.
Any last words you would like to share with your fans and our viewers?
As someone who loves to interact, I want to express my gratitude to all those who have listened to me. I know I can be a little long-winded at times, but I truly appreciate the opportunity to connect with people through music. That’s why I’m multilingual!
I would like to encourage everyone to enjoy music as much as possible. It adds color and interest to life, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. For those who are gifted and talented in music, I urge you to keep pursuing your passion and to enjoy the successes, no matter how big or small they may seem. Remember that they are all part of your journey.
Mercy Alu Contact Info:
- Website: https://stagerave.com.ng/mercy-alu/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@MercyAluMusic/videos
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ngozialu/
Click here to watch Mercy Alu ‘s full interview on Instagram
InterContinental Music Awards Team