MUYIWA Oshinuga, popularly known as Nomoreloss, has literarily injected life into the on-going MTN Project Fame West Africa as a judge. On Friday, August 6, 2010, at Ultima Studio, Ogba, Lagos, he opened up to ENCOMIUM Weekly on his dwindling career and the alleged crisis rocking his marriage to Phoenix.
MTN Project Fame Season 3 kicked off with your inclusion as one of the judges, how do you feel?
I was approached by the company and I asked why I was chosen because I don’t think I have done a lot for myself to have been picked. But I met Mr. Ayeni who actually told me why I was picked. There were so many obstacles to my being picked, but he stuck out for me and he said despite all criticisms, he will stick by me and that blew me away. I was dazed that a stranger could stick his neck out for me. And it’s been a wonderful time because I have had to adjust to a lot of things especially to areas I was not really opened to. I am a quiet person and stagecraft is a whole lot different from my personal life.
And what are the challenges so far?
I think because I am a non-conformist, it was difficult for me to understand all the nitty gritty of reality television. I am a street person and I am close to raw talents. I don’t fake it or go by scripts or off the script. If I am not feeling it, I am not feeling it. Those are the kind of challenges I have because they try to contain me, but I have to stand up and celebrate. I have to do that because I operate by that philosophy, that is all of me and nothing less of me. However, I am grateful that I have a wonderful production company, Ultima and wonderful set of people, who have come to understand me for who I am. The opportunity and free hand offered me by the company and the experience is highly commendable. I had to take tutorials which have been helpful. At the end I hope I will be able to function in my area of specialization and help the contestants as a judge.
Bibi, Kwame and TY Mix have been there since inception three years ago, how have you been able to bond together?
I think they are the understanding type, Kwame has known me for years, TY Mix is my boy, but I got to know Bibi at the academy and I didn’t really do much research because I am a carefree person. I got to understand each of them on a personal level.
Before Project Fame, you have been off the scene, what’s been happening to you?
Before Project Fame I took out time to follow another like passion which is management. I have always been interested in managing artists and have been grooming a lot of artists on the ground. I started at Planet One with Club Nomoreloss. It’s basically a platform that allows young ones to come alive on stage and showcase their talents before a live audience. Later, I also opened my studio which is also a dream being fulfilled. Having gone public with that, my first artist will be released at the end of this month, her name is Blaze, a rapper. I believe in getting the foundation right. I am also working on my album, which I am not really eager to release now.
My coming up initially was for the sake of money, but right now, it’s no longer the issue. I want to sing and make sense. I have the money and I want to make sense. I thank God. It’s not that I am a crazy multi-millionaire but those who know me will tell you that I am comfortable in my own way. All I want to do now is bring value even if it is just a little. I believe in raw talents, I follow that passion in creating something from nothing and being an advocate for the underdogs. I have made a whole lot of mistakes in my life…
I have made lots of mistakes and I am bold enough and in a better place to help other artists to shape their career. I have done it before, I know my strength and weakness. Sometimes the best coach in the world might not ever know how to play soccer.
You have had ups and downs with your Nomoreloss, what are the pains and gains of such a venture in Nigeria?
I feel like we are coming from two different worlds when as artist we set up platforms like that. Such platforms are set up for young artists to showcase their talents. Its music business. I am an artist who is passionate about music, but as a club owner, I’m passionate about the business. I believe to create such an ambience requires a whole lot of money. Your bill could be a million down. My wife was very supportive during this period and I ended up putting lots of my wife’s money, brother’s and personal into it and there were no monetary return. However, I felt good, but at a time I had to stop because it was taking its toll on my family and money was not coming. They have helped me not to quit but find a way of making it better. Thus, we moved to several places to start our own club. My wife also set up her own club and we both understand the difficult things it entailed. But happily for me, people come to me to show appreciation that I gave them a platform to showcase their talent, it moves me to tears.
Based on your experience, what are the pitfalls young artists should watch out for?
One of the major pitfalls they are heading for now is that the sound is becoming almost the same thing. It’s the same fast-paced beat. What happens to those lovely slow songs and fans and songs that made meanings like KSA, Ebenezer Obey, late Sonny Okosuns. An artist should be a symbol for something that tackles societal issues. But when you look at the screen today, you don’t get such. The only thing you see is swagger, swagger or ginger the swagger. It’s annoying because it’s all shout and no mind feed. If we don’t play the slow songs Asa would not have made it. There are countless Asa’s out there who are begging to be given a platform but the airwaves only pay attention to commercial songs that are fast paced. Unfortunately, the swagger stuff does not belong to us, it doesn’t represent us nor our progress.
What’s been happening to your marriage?
I think that is where communication comes to play. My wife has radio shows, fund raising events and her own club. That is why people could ask where is your wife when they see us apart. They assume there must be a fight. But those who know us very well will tell you that we get along fine being at two different places at the same time. I have had cases where reporters have not properly investigated a story before publication. One in question was when I was at a venue with my wife. That was around 3 a.m and I was feeding her because she sat on my laps. And you know Nigeria, they find it odd that a couple could go out together and club. I am sure you won’t know it was my wife. She dresses a lot more scantily when we go clubbing because she is with me. For us, that is always the way to remind ourselves that she is still my girlfriend and I would want to party with you. That is why they assume I’m flirting with a club girl. We go to club together. Other stories said that I smoke and drink heavily, they put out a story that I was smoking stuff, but luckily, I have quit now. Sometimes my emotions get into play and I want to blow up, but I cooled down saying time would tell. At a time, they wrote that I was drunk, my friends defended me because they know I don’t drink.
It was alleged that you have turned her into a punching bag?
At least you saw my wife now, she drove me down here. The last thing we said before she left was that I was going clubbing. She met as a club person and she knows that if I am not jumping at a girl, a girl will always jump at me. She has seen it. Even before we got married, she has seen girls slip cards at me. She has been through three stages as my friend, girlfriend and wife. I don’t feel all these negative stories. Of course, there are times we quarrel because there is no relationship without misunderstanding.
Let’s talk about your new album?
That’s what I am passionate about. It is entitled Testimony. It is based on personal experience. Fortunately, I have a lot of support on the album. Sunny Neji, Felix Lebarty, Tony Okoroji, etc. I am working with people like KWAM 1, Ebenezer Obey and Felix Lebarty. I entitled it Testimony to show appreciation for God’s goodness in my life. It’s been years I dropped my album yet I am still relevant. MTN Project Fame also confirms that.
THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2010