shesaid.so talks art, female empowerment and mentorship with writer Anjola Adedayo

a shesaid.so interview

image: Eniafe Momodu

sss: First of all, we’d like to say thank you, and tell you how much we love the piece you wrote for us. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to start at the beginning, to let our readers know a bit about your background and how you found out about shesaid.so !

AA: Thank you very much! I became involved with shesaid.so after being introduced to it by Harriet Moss. I was new to the industry and I immediately wanted to sign up. A group of supportive, powerful and like-minded women working in the Music Industry? Who wouldn’t want to? It’s been an amazing way to meet people, get opportunities and learn more about what’s going on in Music.

sss: Where did you grow up?

AA: I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria.

sss: Where are you based now?

AA: I live in London now and have done for a couple of years.

sss: When did you start writing, and why?

AA: I think ultimately it was because I loved reading. I’ve written for as long as I can remember, it was and still is my way of deciphering the world and myself.

sss: Were the creative arts always a part of your life?

AA: Yes I’ve always loved the arts; I’ve always been involved in choirs, plays, dance groups, fiction writing etc. Being creative is very important to me.

sss: I love the way you handle words, where do you draw your greatest inspiration from?

AA: This is a difficult one because inspiration comes from so many different places. Mostly I write to a particular emotion, I will often listen to songs that make me feel a certain way and then write to that. Music from Lauryn Hill, James Blake and Tom Misch are my current go-to’s.

Stylistically, poets such as Nayyirah Waheed and Lang Leav have been instrumental. I started writing very short pieces because I wanted to see if I could convey a whole world in a few lines like they did. When I’m writing longer fiction (I’m working on a novel at the moment) writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta and Lauren Groff are also inspirations of mine.

sss: How did you become involved with shesaid.so?

AA: When Harriet introduced me to shesaid.so, I knew I had to join. As the Music Industry is intensely relationship and connection driven, creating a talent and financial power base of women in the Industry is essential, particularly as it is still quite male-orientated. Personally, a lot of the opportunities I have been given have come from women and I look forward to furthering this tradition, well established in the shesaid.so community.

sss: As you know, we have just launched a mentorship program for women called she.grows : have you had any significant mentors in your life? And/or are you a mentor to anyone? What do you think are the major benefits of mentorship programs, both in general, and specifically to this industry?

AA: I’ve had significant mentors over the years but mostly informal ones. I think the benefit for me has been the access to experience. Theory and passion can only take you so far; there are things that only experience can teach you. When a mentor is open and generous with what they have learned, it cuts out so many years of confusion and missteps for the mentee. This is why it is so important for women in Music, because we are working in an industry long dominated by men, especially in the executive level and mentorship relationships can help with our longevity. It is also extremely beneficial to mentors because helping others can be cathartic and rewarding. Many of the people who have mentored me have said their vision became wider and more creative when they spent time helping others and they gained connections they may not otherwise have had.

sss: The piece you wrote for us is simple, elegant, and powerful. If you don’t mind sharing, what was your thought process behind writing it?

AA: Thank you very much! I wanted to play around with the name (shesaid.so) and the name of the mentorship scheme. I also wanted to show that the scheme is beneficial to both types of women: the women who help and women who are helped. Hopefully it shows that that type of symbiotic relationship is what brings lasting professional and personal success.

sss: If you could send one message out to all of the other women in the creative industries what would it be?

AA: Don’t believe the lie that women do not work well together.

sss: Where can our readers find you? Either online or in print or in person….

AA: I’m on Instagram, Twitter and Medium : Anjola Adedayo — @anj_ade

sss: And last but not least, favorite song/artist right now?

AA: Hiatus Kaiyote’s Molasses hands down. It’s an oldie but I’ve discovered it fairly recently and been wondering where I’ve been!

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