FOLUKE AKINREMI - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
ARTIST, SINGER, SONGWRITER
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Foluké, was born and raised in Toronto, Canada to Nigerian Parents. She grew up in a Christian home where her early childhood days were spent mostly in church. Her passion for singing started at the very tender age of 7 where she would listen to her favorite Gospel artists and sing along with her mom and sisters at home who were in the church choir.
While studying at York University, she took a bold step out of the box to compete and win the Miss Nigeria Canada pageant. Not only did she win the pageant, she also won 5 out of the 6 individual awards given out that night in the other categories! Through the pageant exposure, she was able to lend a hand by increasing awareness about Sickle Cell Anemia. She became a brand Ambassador for Western Union Canada during her reign and featured in local/international media such as Amina Magazine(International), Share Magazine(Canada), Tribune Newspaper(Nigeria), NTA, MBI (Nigerian Television Stations).
In the past, Foluké has sung the anthem and inspirational songs at corporate and governmental events. For example, she was invited to sing the anthem at the Black History month celebration at Parliament Hill in Ottawa in association with the Toronto Children’s Breakfast club. At this occasion, she had the honour of singing both the Canadian & Black anthems in the presence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other party leaders.
Not only does Foluké sing, write songs and win pageants, she also writes poetry and has had her poems featured in publications such as Pride & Share magazine. While in University, she worked for the African Community Profile magazine as the Editor In Chief as well as hosting a weekly radio program on CHRY 105.5fm called Women’s Word. On this radio program, she interviewed successful female entrepreneurs in the community on a weekly basis. Foluké also founded and participated in a gospel Dance Group called Live Your Vision.
Last summer Foluké released a single titled “What God Has + 2gether” which was featured on several media sites such as IROKING. In her brand new official video of single "Give God the Glory" featuring Prince K., Foluké delivers a compelling and real testimony of her life while rapping in her native dialect Yoruba. On November 2nd, 2013 Foluké launched her Demo CD with 5 singles at the event: Introducing Foluké, the Artist, Singer and Songwriter. She has performed at many events and was recently interviewed on several radio stations such as CHRY 105.5fm, G98.7fm and www.radioregent.com.
Foluké graduated from York University with a degree in Economics and is also a member of the Project Management Institute with the Credentials of a Project Management Professional (PMP).
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm Foluké, an Artist, Singer and Songwriter. I was born in Canada and spent 6 years of my childhood in Nigeria. However, I attended junior high, high school and university right here in Toronto. I come from a big family where every individual is an overachiever in some way. Being hardworking and goal driven are ideas I hear from those closest to me. My parents are very religious(Christians) and have inculcated these God-fearing ideas in us. These ideas have helped us become the people we are today, and to lead lifestyles that reflect genuine praise to God and a humble and appreciative attitude towards the community in general.
I majored in Economics in University and I'm also certified Professional Project Manager and now provide services to the Provincial Government, while working towards expanding my career as an artist full-time.
Tell us what many people may not know about you?
A lot of people who don't know may be surprised to learn that I considered dedicating myself to athletics and wanted to be a track star, but it's just one of those things that I was good at but never pursued for various reason. Although I feel completely satisfied because my brother went on to get a gold medal at the world championships in the 4 x 100 for Canada. I think being athletic from a young age plays a huge role in the person that I am today, helping me mentally and to live a healthy lifestyle.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
Most artist would tell you that they draw inspiration from almost everything they get in contact with on a daily basis and I can't speak otherwise. However, certain things just stand out better than others to me at least, and my most outstanding sources of inspiration have been my family and friends. Above all, I have a mind on a mission and sometimes I'm surprised by what that inner person makes me discover about myself and my environment.
How did you get to where you are now and what more do you hope to achieve?
So my family is very religious, in fact, my father is a pastor and I worked with him closely to get a full understanding of why he is so dedicated to serving his people and what inspires him. What I realized was that as a person, he had come to terms with himself as a creation owing everything to his Grand Creator. He is very passionate and devoted, and of course, that rubbed off on me. I feel there's a need for true Gospel Artists in our community, who understand the changing time and can communicate with people at every level regardless of any social barriers. My motto is: It's more than music to me, it's a call to action, to heal, inspire and ultimately lift up God's Name.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Hahaha! that's a big one. It's impossible to work so hard at becoming a source of inspiration and still remain anonymous to those inspired by your work. I want to be remembered as the FRIEND who helped me rise above all my obstacles in life, that sang the exact words of inspiration I needed, that delivered to me that message of hope at that perfect time, and who did it all for the sake of accompanying us all through life's journey for all times.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
It used to be much easier when the responsibilities were less but now I find myself trying to catch my breath at times as if running a marathon, literally. I still have a 9-5 and right now it's important to put in those hours and family is very important to me as it helps me to maintain those deep-seated African values. My close friends are on speed dial and call them very often...lol...My leisure time is when I get to meditate on all these sources of inspiration and allow my creativity to fly.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
My favorite food is African food in general. My favorite book is the Bible. My favorite movie...hmmm, just too many to name and my favorite song...right now I'd say "It is Well with my Soul" by Mary Mary.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
First of all, I think Canada is a lovely country to live in and be a citizen of. I also believe that being Black or African-Canadian is a very unique experience, however, being a positive-spirited person, I'm usually drawn to the brighter side of change and all that it embodies. I know that African and Afro-Canadians in this country have come a long way and in recent years there's been a wave of change blowing fast across this country.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, Oprah, BET, etc?
Absolutely! The younger generation seems to be taking control of their lives and their environment by showing a sense of social responsibility and awareness. I can conveniently say that I know a lot of self-motivated people in my community with big ideas, big goals and big brains, capable of rising above the status quo, and of course, it all takes time. I find that we are establishing and expanding our communities in ways that have never been done before.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
I'm inspired by many people in different walks of life. Whether they be the popular ones that everyone knows or the hidden gems that are surely becoming trail blazers. Overall though, my parents are my greatest source of inspiration and others like former Governor, Michaelle Jean, the late Beverly Mascoll, Mr. Joseph Bodun Macaulay, etc. As per Artists, I think Drake is really talented and I also enjoy artists based in Toronto.
Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
I would proudly say Yes and Yes a second time. If you take a look at at the African community in general, when you look at certain businesses like food and entertainment for example, you find that you have to know it in order to appreciate it. Also, the fact that the community is expanding at a very fast pace proves that we are rallying tremendous support for those who are taking the lead in helping unify us as children of the Motherland.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
I believe Black History is deep-seated in many aspects of this country's culture and for a very long time certain aspects of our history have remained lost in translation; a very painful thing for the future generation who might never get to fully comprehend the full motives of the journey their ancestors took. I think these are stories that need to be revived and kept fresh to add meaning to Black History Month.
Few words from Foluke to an uninspired person:-
What I would say from the bottom of my heart is when you fall, get back up. If you fall again, get back up. Keep getting up and one day you will get to where you're destined to be. The things you think are your weaknesses during your journey will be the same things that strengthen you to become who you're destined to be.