Nigerians are special. There is in fact no doubt that for some reason, even beyond vices you might have heard before this read, Nigerians – especially when equipped with easier systems and environments in the Western diaspora – almost never have a hard time excelling.
Martina Bósèdé perfectly fits this description. Born to an Ondo State father and Irish mother, Martina functions in the entertainment space as a disk jockey, TV presenter, an actress and model currently based in Toronto, Canada.
Up until 2021, Martina lived in Dublin, but had to move to North America’s Toronto while seeking better opportunities and a deeper creative community.
“Toronto is a lot more inclusive. The opportunities here are incredible. There weren’t too many of those back in Ireland for me. I think it’s nice to be in this city and have a fresh start. I’ve got a good group of friends and my DJ career has really skyrocketed,” she confesses in this chat over the internet.
Martina is on the other side of the Zoom call, probably miles away from us, yet the genuineness of her speech can be felt in how intentionally she creates her every word.
The conversation is taking an immensely interesting route as she pours more light on her roots. And with the ecstasy with which she speaks about Nigerian food, you can easily tell that she’s proud of where she comes from.
“I actually miss Nigerian food.”
“There are some restaurants that try over here, but it’s not the same. I have a bunch of allergies and I’m vegetarian, but I miss Nigerian food because everything is just so organic and fresh and the spices that’s used are really good.”
We talk more about her roots, music career, planned releases for the rest of the year and music creators she would love to work with in the coming months in this piece. It has been edited for length and clarity, however.
Tell us about where you hail from.
I am originally from Dublin, Ireland. My mum is Irish and my dad is from Ondo State Nigeria and that’s where the name “Bósèdé” is from. I was born in Dublin.
You recently moved from Dublin to Toronto, how has that migration been for you?
It’s been quite a positive process for me. I really enjoy Canada. The people here are extremely friendly. I feel like I’ve made a really good group of friends. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that I’m still learning about Canada, but overall, it’s been a really positive and happy experience for me.
“I try to be helpful and understanding, and live life to the fullest because life is short.
We’re curious; have you ever been to Nigeria?
Yes! I have been to Nigeria so many times. I’ve lived there for periods of time like maybe a month, and I have dual citizenship. I love Nigeria. I really do miss it sometimes. I’ve been going since I was a child and whenever my dad goes, I go with him. Sometimes, I just go by myself to visit my family and friends and I really hope I get to go back soon.
Did you always want to do music growing up?
Yeah. I started out as a dancer in my teenage years and I was in a group. But I really enjoyed the music so I always knew since I was a teenager that I’d always be involved in music and be involved in the arts.
What did you study in school?
I studied acting.
Did you take up that path?
I’ve done bits and pieces here and there and I do have an acting agent here in Canada, and I’ve had some truly amazing auditions over the years, but I haven’t bagged that one yet. I think my best audition till date was during the pandemic and that was an audition to play Morgan Freeman’s daughter in a film and it was a really nice process and I’m hoping I can get some more auditions for the acting as well but for the moment, I’m doing a lot of music work.
Asides music, there is modeling and now you’ve mentioned acting too. Which of these did you fall in love with first?
I think it’s difficult to really kind of pinpoint, they all kind of intertwine. If you’re releasing a single, you’re gonna have to do the modeling for the artwork. If you’re making a video, you’re gonna be acting in it. So it all kind of intertwines and I think for me, as long as it’s involved in art, I like to do a lot of different things. I don’t like to stay in one place.
Is there a challenge you faced as a person in the arts back in Dublin that you do not face now that you’re in Toronto?
For me, Toronto is a lot more inclusive and everyone has been very welcoming. The opportunities here are incredible. There weren’t too many of those back in Ireland for me, so I’m happy to be here.
Was that why you moved?
Yes, very much so. There’s just not a lot of opportunities there. But over here, there’s so much going on and I think it’s nice to be in this city and have a fresh start and everyone is just so nice and friendly. I’ve got a good group of friends and since I’ve been here, my DJ career has really skyrocketed and it just wouldn’t happen in Dublin.
What was the hardest part of moving? Was it making friends or finding a new place?
I think being far away from my friends and family is quite a challenge and you know, the time difference. That’s really the most challenging thing. I found it quite easy to make friends here as Canadians are very friendly and I’m also quite chatty. So it’s been easy to make friends, but chatting with friends and family over video takes its toll on you as well. Now that I’m settled in Canada, I’m hoping to make more frequent trips to Dublin and hopefully Nigeria as well.
So what’s the best part about being a woman in music?
I just do my own thing and I try not to put the “woman” label in front of everything. I try to just have a “this is me, I’m doing my job” focus, but I guess it’s gonna take some time before that label can really be removed. For the moment I’m just doing what I love.
Back here in Nigeria, we see a lot of DJs pushing out albums and EPs. Do you see yourself making any of such soon or do you have any of such in the works?
Oh yes. I released a single a couple of weeks ago and it’s a house track. It’s called ‘Move’ with a Canadian DJ, FDP (For Da People) and we’ve gotten a really good response from that track. We’re working on the next track and it’s an Afrobeats track and we are really excited about it. We are working on a couple of projects at the moment that we’re just going to be releasing over the next couple of months.
Why Afrobeats though?
It could’ve been Hiphop, Pop or anything else. Why Afrobeats?
I think it’s quite clear, my influences and my background as well. I’ve been listening to Afrobeats before it really became so mainstream across the world. I would be coming to Nigeria, going home and telling people about this artist or that artist. The growth is exciting and I’m excited to be playing my own part.
Your top 5 Nigerian artistes you look forward to working with?
I feel there’s so much talent out of Nigeria and I really love Tems, Tiwa, Fireboy, Naira Marley, Joeboy… it’s an endless list, really. There’s just so much talent and I’m happy to see everyone doing their thing.
What Afrobeats artist in Canada would you love to work with?
Who I’d like to work with is 4Korners, actually. I’m such a big fan of what he’s been doing. He has given me some great advice since I came to this country and hopefully, we get to work on something soon. Watch this space.
What’s something you’ll always be grateful for?
I’m thankful to wake up everyday. I try to live a positive and good lifestyle, be helpful and understanding, and live life to the fullest because life is short.
What’s your favorite food to eat?
I actually miss Nigerian food.
Did you have those in Dublin?
Yes, but it’s not the same. I have a bunch of allergies and I’m vegetarian, but I miss Nigerian food because everything is just so organic and fresh and the spices that’s used are really good. I just haven’t found a place here in Canada that’s similar enough. I miss the organic food and just the Nigerian spices.
What should your fans look forward to in the coming months?
Something new is happening everyday, but at the moment, I’d just say stay tuned because I have a few more singles coming out this year. But stay tuned, and I hope everyone enjoys what I have to give.