Budding Pop Star Abimbola “Bim” Fernandez: Nigerian Diamond and Gold Heiress Working to Be Taken Seriously for Her Music, Not Judged for Her Family’s Fortune
As a teenager, Abimbola “Bim” Fernandez says she came to New York to start working on her music dreams. Now 24, the Nigerian heiress is making what she calls “a small dent” in the music industry. Though she did not receive encouragement from her mega-wealthy father in the beginning, he came around because she persevered to achieve some of her singing and performing goals on her own.
Ms. Fernandez’s father is billionaire and gem tycoon Antonio Deinde Fernandez. Reportedly, he is worth 8.7 billion dollars and gained his wealth through diamond and gold mines in Africa. He is also a retired UN Ambassador.
It has been a new experience for Abimbola to grow as an independent person in New York, away from the sheltered existence she was accustomed to. Over the last few months, she has been the center point of some controversy when certain people believed she was trying to be the next Rihanna. The Nigerian artist says that was not the case at all.
Bim has a steep mountain to climb to achieve true pop music notoriety, let alone bona fide stardom. She does not want the world thinking she is just another spoiled socialite, like others who might have come before her. With hopes of showing who she is on reality TV and with future music coming, Ms. Fernandez is off and running.
Below you can read the highlights and listen to the entire CYInterview with this African heiress, who is working to live her music dreams:
Listen to the entire Abimbola Fernandez CYInterview:
(Backup Player: Including IE)
Abimbola says one of the reasons she decided to peruse her music ambitions was the death of her mother. Her mom always pushed her to perform. Her mother actually worked in the music industry, years earlier.
“My whole family and just growing up with her, we’ve always been into music. She forced us to play violin at such a young age. My sister played harp. I’ve always been singing and I finally went from violin to guitar and she’s always had my back, she’s always been pushing me to do music. So it wasn’t so much her passing, but when she did pass, I kind of just sat down and I was like, ‘Ok, like it’s time to just like get it done.’ You know.”
Headlines, over the past few months, have claimed that she wanted to be the next Rihanna. In reality, Bim says she would like to be like Rihanna yet in her own way. Clearing up the confusion, the Nigerian heiress said this:
“My dreams are really to have an outstanding solo career similar to Rihanna with her success. I am not trying to be her, but I do love her music and I do want to be in the same league as her. … I know people were just angry. They said that I have the world at my fingertips and that, you know, aspiring to be Rihanna is I mean they for some reason they took it so negatively, but I just wanted to say that, you know, Rihanna, she’s doing her thing and you have to appreciate and respect that she’s a young woman, she’s only a year older than I am and she’s there, she’s done it, she’s making so much money, so good for her. But I am not trying to replace her, I’m not trying to knock her off her thrown. I just want to rub shoulders with her. I want to be like oh, you know, ‘Rihanna, let’s go get dinner.’ You know.”
Speaking about what her billionaire father Antonio Fernandez thinks about all the attention she has gotten from her music, Abimbola tells us this:
“He is worried more so than anything. I’m the only Fernandez in America. I have no other family members here and I only have my father who is 6000 miles away and I’m his baby. So it’s just more of a concern for him. I walk my dog every day, I’m still a very normal person, I do my own shopping, I do everything for myself and he just doesn’t want anything to happen to me. He doesn’t want anyone to kidnap me, but on the flipside he’s so proud and he’s really just excited because I’m the first, one of his children to accomplish something without him.”
Though her dad might be giving her kudos now, the Nigerian performer says that was not always the case. At one point her father was against her music dream, cutting her off financially for a few years. Whether she came from wealth or not, the African socialite says she would be the same person:
“I literally, I would be in the same exact situation because I am a very hard worker and my, regardless of the family I came from, my soul is still the same and I’m just, music is just what it is for me. I would be the exact same person. My father is actually so against music that he, he actually cut me off for like two years ‘cause he didn’t want me doing music, but I am still here and I’m working hard and I’m getting somewhere, I’m making a dent, a small one, but I’m making a dent.”
When it comes to achieving her music goals, the biggest challenge Ms. Fernandez thinks she has is getting people to take her seriously:
“I think it is that people just like don’t take me seriously. I think that before getting to know you, people just automatically assume that they know you and they’re either your friends because they want something from you or they just don’t take you seriously and don’t want to bother. And I think that even when you are trying to do your own thing and make your own way, with people knowing your background, they won’t take you seriously regardless of whether it’s singing or whether you’re trying to get a job, people are gonna think you’re useless, you don’t work hard. So I mean, coming from money isn’t all roses.”
Not everyone grows up getting to meet Nelson Mandela, as well as many other prominent people. Speaking about growing up in a sheltered environment, Abimbola tells us this:
“Growing up I didn’t know I was so sheltered. It’s now that I can take a step back and see I was really, really sheltered. I didn’t realize that people didn’t get to hangout with Nelson Mandela. … As a child, I had no idea. But now I am just like, wow, like we really were just sheltered. A lot of things that people were taught as a child like how to make your bed and how to do our own laundry we weren’t taught.”
Bim was 18 years old when she started becoming self-reliant. She told us:
“It started at 18 when I first moved to the city [New York]. I was living on my own and I had an allowance and you know I had to learn to do things for myself. I had to learn how to literally live and be an adult because I was in a country by myself. … I think that I’ve grown up a lot quicker than many girls my age. I think that, you know, being in boarding school and then literally having to rely on yourself apart from like financially, but like for everything else it’s, I think it’s very empowering and I think that people underestimate me.”
The Nigerian heiress is shopping a reality show. Abimbola wants to show she is not just another spoiled brat. She is not worried about sharing her entire life with the world:
“It’s now or never. I’m gonna be 25 in May. So I’m not getting any younger and I think that, you know, I have a pure heart. I think that I have a level head on my shoulders and I think that’ll really show on TV. I think that people, if you’re gonna hate me, you’re gonna hate me whether I’m on TV or not. Like if you meet me on the street and I’m a jerk, you’re gonna hate me. So I just know that I’m not what people want me to be and I can’t wait to show them that. I’m not this like crazy, spoiled, stupid brat.”
You will be able to hear some of Abimbola Fernandez’s music on the album Fear Of A Pink Planet with her group Pink Grenade. It will be released later this year.
You can follow Abimbola Fernandez on Twitter here.
You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com Chris is available for interviews to comment on anything featured on CYInterview.
You can follow Chris Yandek on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/chrisyandek