ITIVE Elvis Ovie is an Urhobo musician from Ughelli, Delta State. Since he started his music career in 2010, he has not looked back. In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly in Ogba, Lagos recently, the graduate of Social Work, University of Benin, Edo State confessed that his relocating to Lagos has been the best thing to have happened to his career as a hip-hop act. He also spoke on other issues revolving around his career and life.
How did the journey start as a musician?
My journey into music started professionally in 2010 while I was in 200 level at University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State. I actually had the passion for being a professional musician long before that but getting connected to the people doing music professionally was really difficult for me. But it became possible for me when I got admission into UNIBEN. And when I started, it wasn’t all that easy to move ahead because when I got to the school, I met some other artistes on ground who were already known. So, trying to get associated with them wasn’t an easy task. But I tried as much I could to actually get myself on ground. And before I knew it, I had started going to the studio for recording. And I started getting shows. Gradually, I got recognized and my fan base enlarged.
What were the challenges you faced so far?
A lot of challenges, but the most important thing is facing them and coming out even stronger and better. I could still remember, there was a show at the university auditorium where I was supposed to perform. So, I contacted the organizer and begged him to include me on the list of the artistes that would perform that day because I discovered the crowd was huge and I was keenly interested in showing my stuff that day. So, when I spoke with the guy in charge, he asked me to drop something if I actually wanted to perform at the show. I told him there was no problem about that as long as I was going to perform. And that time I was coming to school from a far distance. I just had to give him the money I had on me that day, which was N500. It was actually my transport money, but I had no choice. It was really a big money to me. And after giving him, he took me to the backstage. And while the show was on and everybody was performing, I kept disturbing him to allow me perform, and he kept telling me to exercise patience. That’s how I waited till after about two hours. I became restless because there was the urge in me to perform. When I challenged him again, he replied, “Oh boy, what’s your problem? Haven’t I told you to be patient?” That’s how I remained quiet. After some minutes, the next thing I heard was, ‘Thank you for coming. This is the end of the show.” I was angry at myself and the guy. I challenged him again for keeping me waiting for nothing. He now told me that it’s not his fault. After all, I also could see that the show had ended. I just had to get out of the auditorium.
Did he return your money?
For where? He didn’t even talk about it. I was not happy. I had to trek back home because I had no money on me. And when I got home, some of my friends who didn’t attend the show started asking me how the whole thing went. I just lied to them that I murdered the show that it was a fantastic experience.
You have put in about five years, how would you describe the experience generally?
The experience has been good. But one thing I have actually come to realize is that nothing good comes easy. If you really want something for yourself, you should be able to overcome every challenge that comes with it. And you should be able to move on no matter the challenge. No matter what, you will also get some people whose aim is mainly to get something from you, not that they want to help you achieve your goal. And after getting what they want from you, they will just dump you. I got to meet a lot of people and I have realized is more than the picture of it you see from afar. And I have also got to know that whatever you really want should remain in your heart and be prayerful towards achieving it. Then, believe in God that everything will fall to place as desired.
What did you study in UNIBEN and what actually informed veering into music?
I studied Social Work. Music has been in me for long. My father being a pastor, he also loves music a lot. Even though we’re not exposed to secular music, it’s all gospel. But as time went on and I had the opportunity while I was in school, I felt it’s a better chance for me to leverage on that opportunity and move ahead with what I had passion for. Then, the first day I started doing music professionally, I got more interested in it. That’s exactly what keeps me going.
You’re a hip-hop act, and the market seems to be saturated now, what are you doing that will actually stand you out among your colleagues?
The thing is that I try as much as I can to focus on what I know I am good at. I actually don’t follow trends. I do what comes out of me, I don’t follow multitudes. With that, I think I have an edge. And that will actually project my career to the next level.
What are you working on right now?
I have just dropped my new single, Ofakpo. It’s actually an Urhobo word meaning, escape route. I had actually done the video which will be dropped soon. It was shot by Daniel Ugo. I featured some other artistes. I also have a new song but for now, we just want to make sure the video hits the whole world not Nigeria alone. I just want everyone to know this is Tee Jazz people have been hearing of. I just did a collaboration with Yung Six which will also be dropped very soon. There are lots of projects we have embarked on that will also spread to early next year.
You have been in Edo State all this while, when did you relocate to Lagos and why?
Actually, I had my fan base in the South-South but I discovered there was a need to expand my fan base and make it cut across the country and beyond, that’s what informed relocating to Lagos. I came to Lagos in 2014. And since, I have been enjoying my career as well.
What has changed in your career since you relocated to Lagos?
Yes, I have been able to meet a lot of people, those that I have never met before. And perhaps, if I have not come to Lagos, I may not have the opportunity to even meet them at all. I have been able to get associated with lots of people from different cultural backgrounds. The opportunity of being in Lagos has been limitless compared to where I was before. Just about three weeks ago, I performed at the Next Movie Stars show and a lot of shows like that. So, it has actually been a good decision relocating to Lagos. And that is really making my career rise beyond my expectation. I give God the glory.
What’s your love life like?
It’s cool. I am still pretty single. I am just engage to music now.
But you must have been having some female admirers around you, how do you cope with them?
Yes, you’re very right. I deal with them politely because they’re my biggest fans and should be accorded maximum respect. I love them all.
– TADE ASIFAT