Shortly after arriving from Los Angeles, Goldie complained of a headache then slumped and was rushed to Reddington Hospital in Victoria Island where she was pronounced dead on arrival. She was 30 years old.
Born Susan Oluwabimpe Harvey on 22, October 1982, the young Susan was raised in a strongly Christian household by a pastor father and choir mistress mother. Her activities revolved around the church where she started singing in the junior choir and taught in the Sunday school classes. She was enrolled at Green Springs Montessori Primary School and completed her secondary education at St John’s College Palm Groove, Lagos. She moved on to the University of Sunderland where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management. It was during her sojourn in the UK that friends who noticed her uneven skin tone and hair colour gifted her with the name she would eventually find fame with.
One name only. She joined an impressive club of female superstars, one whose members include Madonna and Cher who go by just one mysterious first name and just like these divas, she arrived in a combustible cloud of colour, costumes and controversy.
But super stardom did not come immediately. Joining an all-girl group in the UK, she started writing songs and performing with the group without much success. She returned home with a bag of determination and a burning desire to succeed and in 2006 put out her debut CD, ‘Spin me’ which sported four tracks; ‘Komole’, ‘Nothing Has Changed’, ‘Shift’ and ‘Spin Me.’ While the disc was mostly ignored by the general public, it got her notices in important music business circles and before long she had hooked up with Kennis music and was hard at work on her second album.
She had an album to her credit but it was one single, ‘You know it’ that made her a pop star. The industry had never heard anything like it nor seen anything like it’s accompanying video- at least not in recent times. She was a relentlessly confident woman, singing menacingly about taking her rival’s man in a video that was slightly ahead of it’s time. With her colourful plumage and brash lyrics, Goldie’s hippy image was loud and carried into places her vocal limitations could not.
Goldie understood that remaining a star was even more difficult than becoming one and she pushed herself hard to maintain that X-factor that would for the duration of her brief career, keep her on the right side of relevant. She made bold fashion choices- some worked and some didn’t and kept us glued to her music videos and risqué live performances. It was only a matter of time before the awards started rolling in. A third album followed in early 2012 as well as an appearance in the celebrity season of Africa’s biggest reality television show, Big Brother Africa.
Big Brother Star game made her a continental favourite as it introduced her to the African audience who soon fell in love with her even as she introduced her level-headed, domestic nature. She played den mother to the gang, tirelessly cooking and cleaning and for once, many were privileged to see beyond all the artifice and glamour of her pop star life. Although many were put out by her on-again, off-again relationship with the Kenyan rapper Prezzo, Goldie remained adamant about living her life on her own terms. She answered to no one and did exactly what she felt like, when she felt like.
Following her Big Brother stint where she had garnered even more fans, she took a breather and then perhaps armed with a premonition of how things would turn out, launched herself full throttle into her career. There was a new single, ‘Skibobo’ with an eye on conquering the continent, an upcoming album and a new reality show with her best friend, the MTV veejay Denrele. According to her label boss Kenny Ogungbe, her Grammy trip was supposed to open up new vistas and exciting possibilities for her career and she was all set to move unto the next big thing.
Regrettably, none of this will come to pass.
We can only take some form of consolation in the life she lived; brief but eventful, the career she had, joy she brought to our lives through her music and videos, even as we look forward to post-humous releases from her label.
Rest in peace sister.