In a no-holds-bare interview with The Entertainer, Monique, who is married to secular musician, Rasque, boasted that her morality is unquestionable, and the moral ground on which she stands cannot sink. Hear her: “To many ladies and men out there this disclosure may mean nothing.
To such people it is no big deal. But no matter anyone’s stand or view, it is very important to me. It has helped me to stand my ground and look into faces of moral intimidators and tell them boldly that I am a daughter of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. It is a pride for my family and a big plus for my husband. A high moral life is essential for continuous success. Yes, I was a virgin till the very night of my marriage.”
Monique opened up on other issues. Excerpts:
Monique is a name given to me by my grandmother who is based in France. I am from Ishaga in Lagos State. My father, Engineer Simeon Adebisi Fabiyi is the Osi Oba of Ishagaland. My mother is into business. I came from a family of nine children, six boys and three girls. I am the last of the “happy crowd”. My family is closely united and we grew up as one, treating each other with care, love and great concern.
My seniors were all good to me not because I was the kid in the family but also because they too were naturally brought up to love and respect people, status not withstanding. We were brought up with modesty in taste; we were made to appreciate little things and to value all things. Morality in words, deeds and association was paramount in my upbringing. My parents never opened the door of modernity that negated God and His ways for us. I am proud of this background. I thank my parents for this and my brothers for making me, their kid sister, to stay on line. Yes, they were my disciplinarians, hands of love, care, and my teachers in subjects of life.
I attended St. Kisito Primary School, Iju where I used to lead the school in songs during the morning assembly. I left for Iju Grammar School where I continued singing both at morning assembly and in the school choir. This afforded me the opportunity to meet many groups from other schools at one competition or the other. It was at such competitions that I met members of Midnight Crew. Today we are closely knitted. They play a major role in my music career. Bouqui, the gospel rapper, is also another great friend of mine. We met years ago and I thank God that the relationship continues to be fruitful.
As earlier said, my family is such that anything ungodly is never allowed. Our freedom was limited by the word of God and positive traditional values. I remember when I was in secondary school; a male friend of mine who was unable to confront another female friend dropped the letter he wrote to her into my bag with the instruction that I should help him deliver the letter.
Unfortunately, I forgot to deliver the letter. When I got home, my brother searched through my school bag and found the letter. He thought it was meant for me, and all hell broke loose. He beat me for close to two hours before my mother rescued me. The message sank in me that in the family no one was allowed to misbehave. Because of this, I had no boyfriend throughout my secondary school days and even in tertiary institution. This is why I don’t have stories of heartbreaks, disappointments, double dating and all sorts that most ladies tell about love. The first love in my life is my husband. He is my friend, my lover and husband.
Courtship and marriage
People used to see us together going out and coming in. This was the time I was getting serious with music. As an established artiste, my husband was helping me in the studio to put my songs together. It was this that led to our closeness. And when my brothers noticed this, they threatened to deal with him. I was surprised the day he came to our house and pleaded with my brothers. He boldly told them that whatever the case, he planned to take me to the altar. This was a surprise to everyone. Eventually, he had his way. The courtship was allowed and the marriage took place in 2005. Since then, I have formally changed my name to Mrs. Temitope Monique Lawal. We are blessed with two beautiful children, Eyimofe, a girl and Jamal, a boy.
All my school days, I saw my involvement in music as just a show of interest and talent. This took me out of Lagos State University where I was forced to withdrawal due to engagement upon engagement that took my days and nights. It was one of my friendly lecturers who advised me to drop one for the other or I would fail in both. I dropped out of school and faced music squarely. But because of my thirst for higher education, I again enrolled at Yaba College of Technology where I eventually graduated in Business Administration.
And together with a certificate in Computer Science, I got a job in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). Interestingly, what happened to me at Lagos State University surfaced again while at GTB. It happened that I couldn’t concentrate much on banking because of concert engagements. Many ministries, organizations and churches were inviting me to feature in their concerts or programmes. This led to many financial loses that eventually forced me out of banking. Once again, I found myself at a crossroad.
I started music as early as six years old as a leading choir member at Christ Miracle Church. I left for Abundant Life Church. This was between 1997 and 2000. It was here that I stopped going to church because there were always bickering and distrust among the choristers. I was one of the three people leading praise worship. Because of this, those I met there felt like ‘who is this lady that came from nowhere but suddenly became prominent?’ It got so bad that I threw in the towel. I lost passion for going to church and then concentrated on shows and concerts. It was in one of such concerts organized by Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock that I got more recognized. I also took part in Circle of Stars competition where I emerged the overall winner. This was in 1999.
It took me sometime before I could find my way back into church. I joined the Redeemed Christian Church of God, His Presence Assembly. Initially, I was not regular but I sat up when I discovered that the congregation was unlike others and the pastor-in-charge urged me to take music more seriously. It was in this process that I discovered that music is the ministry given to me by God.
Music and deliverance
Anytime we had a special programme in the church like deliverance or healing, people used to fall down whenever I sang. Even this happens during Sunday services; I couldn’t believe it. Now, I have resigned myself to life in the music ministry, totally submitted myself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I got born again in 1994 and rededicated myself to Christ in 2006.
I released my first album entitled, New Story in 2009. It has just four songs. I released Atobi Ju (The Almighty) in 2011. I did a re-mix of Oba-Gbogbo Aye (King of the Universe) early this year. Before now, I relied much on songs from other artistes. Despite this, my audience would tell me that I sing the song better than the original. Sometimes, I sing few of my songs also. When I became dedicated to Christ, things changed. I now compose my lyrics and write songs as if I was born with them. Songs come to me in very unusual manners and places. This is why I carry a writing pad about because inspiration could come anywhere. I have written songs for other musicians also.
My husband, Rasque
Life would have been different if not that I am married to my best friend. Only few husbands will allow their wives to sleep while they cook in the kitchen, only to wake her up to come and eat. My husband takes care of the children more than I do. He drives me to shows and concerts. He has been very wonderful. My husband too is a musician, he is known as Rasque and the brain behind such secular hits as Soji (Awake) and Ati Ready (We Are Ready). Both are successful albums.
I am set to release more inspiring albums, shoot good videos to trumpet the gospel and continue to be part of the body of Christ forever.