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I pray to God for favour night before releasing music – Chike


Singer and songwriter, Chike Osebuka, popularly known as Chike, tells MOBOLA SADIQ about his music career, love life and other issues

What do you like most about being a musician?
I like the path that music creates and the fact that one can create something. To buttress my point, I know that the world is already in existence, but a singer can create a feeling that people can relate to with music.

Being a singer has always been in my subconsciousness and while growing up, I was always surrounded by music. My uncle, aunties and many people around me were either in a band or singing too. That’s how my journey into music started.

Why did you study Engineering in the university since you have always had a passion for music?

I think a lot of people know how the academic system in Nigeria is. Our education system is broad and schools don’t really specialise as they should. I did not have too many options as to study music in higher institution. Because of our academic structure, I might have ended up being a music teacher if I had pursued music academically. Then, with the Nigerian parents’ factor, it is either one is a doctor, engineer, accountant or any other ‘professional’. No parent will pay for you to go and study music in the university. That was why I did not bother myself with getting a degree in music. To be honest, I am happy I did not do it.

You became known after your appearance on Project Fame West Africa. Do you think the reality show gave you a big leverage in the music industry?

With all sincerity, my journey into the music industry has been with a lot of hard work. I have been through a lot in my quest to create original music and be recognised. I would rather not talk about my reality show experience because I cannot speak about it in detail. I am just thankful I am doing well.

How profitable has music been for you? (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

My experience in the music industry has been really interesting and fruitful in recent times. As a matter of fact, my most profitable year so far was 2020, after the release of my album titled, Boo of the Booless. The year that preceded that was also not bad because I was privileged to have performed on many stages that gave me recognition. However, the success of 2020 really made a great difference in my career. Music has been a profitable venture for me.

You have been performing a lot at weddings in recent times. Why is that?

I will attribute that to certain songs on the Boo of the Booless album. Interestingly, when those songs were created, I did not know that they would be favourites at wedding. However, I cannot complain. Rather, I am excited for the traction that the songs have gained. It has given my music a lot of exposure and also attracted financial gains. I pray that these bookings never stop coming my way because there is nothing as good as an artiste having work engagements every weekend and every time.

What songs have exceeded your expectations in terms of popularity?

I never thought that Roju would be a commercial success. It happened that I sent my producer a sample of what I wanted for the song, but when he sent back the beat, I did not like it at all. I told him that was not what I wanted but he was adamant about the beat he had sent and told me to record my song first. I grumbled while I was recording the song but I still gave it my best. He tried to placate me by saying he would still bend for me after I had done my part, though he never did. I have realised that I am not the one that consumes my music and everyone in my team really liked it when I played it for them. When I saw that, I resolved never to let my ego make decisions for me.

A lot of artistes have said the church choir was their first stage. Was that the same for you?

I was a chorister in Covenant University for about two months but I used to see some of the people that sang on the stage also at secular events. Although my belief in Jesus Christ is unquestionable, I did not see myself being a chorister or living a double life. I just made my choice on the type of songs that I wanted to be singing and stuck by it.

Tell us about your childhood.

I grew up in Abuja and had my primary and secondary education there. I left Abuja for my tertiary education. I have three male siblings. I grew up with a lot of cousins and other relatives coming in and out of the house. I have a lot of memorable moments but adulthood has made me forget some of them.

How do you get inspiration for your songs?

I think a lot and in the process, I begin to imagine what people have gone through. I try to have empathy for their situations. As artistes, we create music with the mindset that people must have gone through the situation we are describing. That is what inspires me when I compose songs. I try to relate my songs to real-life situations. Also, I get inspiration from storytellers such as Dolly Parton, Tracy Chapman, Style Plus and Wande Coal.

How long does it take you to create songs?

The maximum time that I have spent on a song was a month. Sometimes, I start composing a song and I have to drop it to attend to other things that need my attention. Then, I get back to it afterwards to finish up.

Some of your fans have said that your style is reminiscent of that of Chinedu Flavour N’abania. What do you think about that?

I am a huge fan of Flavour and I know that an artiste has a duty to perform for his audience, not himself. Flavour is one of the most respected performers in Nigeria and he has been in the game for years. I appreciate the fact that people can see a little of him in me.

Why did you choose R&B and not hip hop or afro beats since the latter is more popular?

I am definitely not a hip hop artiste, neither can I rap. A lot of things influence one’s music― including the era when one was born as well as the type of music one listens to. Everyone seems to be doing afrobeats, so standing out in that genre requires a lot. With afrobeats, having a good or hit song is not enough because there is always another afrobeats artiste dropping better tunes. In summary, I feel blessed that my style of music is working well for me. The type of voice that I have cannot be used on afrobeats.

Can you share some funny reactions you have experienced during a performance?

The reactions from fans have been very interesting. I have gone to events that I was not so excited before I climbed the stage but the reception I get from the audience would immediately jack me up. I intend to do music forever, as long as there is breath in my lungs.

You had four nominations at the Headies Awards but won none. How does that make you feel?

All I want for my music is to always be heard in the music industry and keep growing my fan base. I want to have a certain number of people that would rely on me to deliver quality music. Nobody wants to be a broke artiste, therefore income is important too. With those two factors in mind, awards are actually secondary.

Yes, awards are very good and I want to have them but I would rather want people to hear my music and make money. A lot of people could say that awards are a badge and that when one makes good music, there would be awards. But, we need to understand that there are a lot of factors that are considered in the award process which is beyond anyone’s control. However, the one I can control is to make good music and money.

Why do you think your music is loved?

I do not know what makes my music likeable but I can tell you that a night before my music is released, I pray to God for His help. I tell Him that I don’t have anyone helping me to promote my songs, therefore he should let the song find favour in the ears of the listeners who will, in turn, refer it to others.

Who is your biggest supporter and critic?

Right now, my biggest supporter and critic is my manager. He does both well.

It is said that being signed to a popular record label helps an artiste’s popularity. Do you agree?

I looked for record labels when I started but I felt they were going to take more than they were really giving. Also, record labels are not bad because it is not easy to establish one. Lastly, a colleague in the music industry advised me to put out my music and see the results. I went home and heeded his advice. I stopped looking for record labels and did not follow up on the ones that either approached me or that I had reached out to. All the while, I had a manager and we kicked off together. It is not easy to dive into the murky waters of the industry on one’s own because one could drown. Music is an extremely expensive business. One can invest N100m, even when one has not made N3m yet. It is a win-or-lose business. My manager jokingly used to say that he was willing to invest in roasted plantain (boli) business than in music. It sounds funny but nothing can be assured. An artiste could wake up one morning and start misbehaving or can even throw in the towel. In that case, what can anyone do about that?

People think that artistes are cheaper to book when they are still gaining their footing compared to when they are popular. What are your thoughts on that?

For now, I would say that I want to keep growing. When I get to that bridge, I am sure that me and my clients will find a middle ground.

What do you do for fun?

I play video games, chat with family and friends and do other fun things.

How do you handle your personal relationship and female fans?

I always keep my love life out of the public eye. I make sure that my relationship is private at all cost.

What is the funniest thing a female fan has done to you in public?

A female fan once tried to take off my clothes.

Your music videos do not showcase nudity. Is that deliberate?

For now, my music does not portray nudity. On a lighter note, when I make that kind of music in the future, we would follow it up with suitable visuals.

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