Esegine Allen, popularly known as Orezi, is one of the fast rising music acts at the moment. Orezi came to prominence in 2013, when he released his popular single, Rihanna.
The graduate of Urban and Regional Planning from the prestigious University of Lagos (UNILAG), spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly about his most memorable 2014 experience, how he feels about The Headies Next Rated award and much more.
How would you describe your career in 2014?
2014 was a great year for me. Since I started, 2014 was the most fruitful year in respect of acceptance of my music and the funds I generated in music. 2014 was a great year.
What are some of the challenges your career faced and how were you able to overcome them?
The major challenge for any artiste is acceptance. In music, we call it fan base. One of the major challenges is acceptance of your music. Since inception of my career, I have faced the problem of acceptance. In 2010, few people knew me. In 2014, it was a complete turn-around for me. My music was accepted. That was one of my biggest challenges.
Besides that, it’s just the normal problem of funding your career, to shoot more videos and promote yourself. But you can never overcome that because money is never enough. It’s still a problem we are fighting and I’m hoping to put more money into my career this year.
What are your goals and plans for 2015?
I am trying to drop an album, go on tour, locally and internationally. I am trying to be number one by the end of 2015. I want Nigerians to look back and say Orezi has hit it big this year. I wish I could work harder, release an album or even to release more videos.
I wish to be more visible, win more fans locally and internationally. I am trying to be in the league of the A-list artistes or one of the biggest acts this year.
What is your assessment of the music industry?
We are getting there, though there are so many challenges the industry is facing. There are so many things to be done. In terms of finance, the government should support the industry with infrastructure to enhance sales and growth.
When the government comes in, they will have the will and enthusiasm to checkmate piracy. Everybody is saying stop piracy and the culprits are adamant. When government comes in and says stop or be jailed, let’s see what happens.
But now, police can’t arrest them because they don’t even know who they are. If the government comes into it, they will checkmate them.
Government doesn’t seem to understand the magnitude of revenue the industry can generate for the nation. No be only oil fit bring money for Nigeria.
As an artiste, what would you say you can change about the industry if given the chance?
I think there should be equal opportunity for every artiste in respect of airplay. Money should not be the driving force for acceptance of promotions both on radio and TV. Money should not be a driving force. Every artiste deserves equal right to visual display of his work.
And the talented ones should probably come first before the mediocres. It should not be a situation where you play a song of a talented artiste twice and play a song of a mediocre for long. If I have the chance to change anything in the industry, I will give every artiste equal right and I will give the established ones.
Tell us your most memorable 2014 experience?
My most memorable experience in 2014 is that song that everybody loves, Shoki. Anywhere I go, they are all waiting for me to perform that song. I had Rihanna but everybody wants to hear Shoki. They all want to dance Shoki irrespective of the fact that there is another Shoki song and it’s competitive.
Everybody still wants to dance Orezi’s Shoki. Every time I perform Shoki, it’s memorable.
But Shoki is not originally yours?
Dre San, sang Shoki first, but I didn’t know until I did my own Shoki and at the end of the day Shoki na dance, nobody fit say na him get am. Some people will still sing Shoki this year because it is trending. They will also want to tap from it because it’s evergreen.
I don’t think anybody should say he owns Shoki. Anybody can sing Shoki. Basically, Shoki is one of my memorable songs.
Your new single, Shuperu, what does it mean?
Shuperu means live your life aiye o pe meji, work hard and enjoy your life as well.
What is the idea behind Shuperu?
That is what I just said, enjoy your life. If you listen to the song very well, you will understand, life is not too hard, do your part and enjoy yourself. It’s now the popular hustler anthem.
Do you feel it will do better than Shoki and Rihanna?
Yes, I think so. It is enjoying heavy airplay. I just dropped it three weeks ago and it started enjoying airplay first week I dropped it. But it was stopped. It is normal because it will take some time before its known.
You might not feel it until the end of February or March, that is music for you. People can’t hear all the songs at once. Some people might have heard the song two months ago and said the song is mad and some will just hear the song now and it might not make sense to that person.
Some have only heard Orezi’s Shoki. Our population is much and we are scattered all over the world but the thing is, anytime you listen to Shuperu, you would like it.
But you have different versions of Shoki, what is the idea?
The idea is based on my fans. When I did Shoki, I got some fans in Francophone countries and it’s not everybody that understands English. And I asked if I do French version, will they like it? We did it and they love it.
I went to Abuja, they were all shouting because of the Alhaji that came with the Shoki song and I did the Hause version.
I am a businessman, I will do anything that will satisfy my fans. If I’m asked to do Calabar version and it will give me money, I will do it because that is my work. Basically, I am trying to satisfy my fans and do things that will give me extra edge and money.
Patoraking beat you to The Headies Next Rated award…
(Cuts in) He no beat me o, he win (laughs).
Report said you were angry…
No, I was not angry. Honestly, I felt I deserved the award and others deserved the award too. But five people can’t win, one person must win. Yemi Alade, Runtown, Orezi, Patoraking deserved it, but whoever the judges chose as the winner has won. Like they say Next Rated, Next to Blow. 2015 will tell who will blow.
Did you feel cheated?
No, no, I never felt cheated at all.
What is your opinion about awards in Nigeria?
It’s like awards in any other country. There is always politics, there is hardly an award that has 10 percent credibility. There is always politics. I would not say it is normal, but what I will say is, it should just be 70 percent on merit and 20 percent to politics because you can’t erase the political aspect of awards.
Do you think awards represent the true value of artiste’s works in Nigeria?
Not all. Awards do not represent the true value of artiste’s works.
You bagged a multimillion endorsement with Merrybet, how is it doing?
Like I said, 2014, was a great year. That is one of the highlights of 2014. They felt I am a good brand and they wanted me to be part of them. We signed the deal and we are happy. I’m happy and I thank God.
Do you have another endorsement aside Merrybet?
We are praying for more to come. God should just bless me with more, at least five this year.
How much did you spend on Shuperu’s video?
(Smiles) The money is much. I don’t want to mention figures. But I always like to present myself visually in the best way and that always involved a lot of money. In respect of picture quality, content, choreography, fashion it costs a lot of money.
What would Orezi say the industry has taught him?
It has taught me that, fans are not totally loyal. The moment you stop giving them what they want, they move on to the next artiste. In essence, always be working. It has always taught me to be hard working. The bigger you get, the higher the responsibilities. The bigger you get as an artiste, the higher the expectation and they forget you are human.
Are you in a relationship?
I’m not in a relationship. I’m looking for a single lady who is searching, that is willing to mingle (smiles). For now, I’m married to my career. I want to be big, I want to be a billionaire first.
– AJOKE ONITOLO