EDDIE Chris Okri paid his dues in the music circuit as far back as the 80s when he competed favourably with the raves of the moment in the music industry. He suddenly disappeared thereafter.
He is back now with a single entitled, Oshofree, and ready to get back to the front burner in the industry. ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with him about his return, where he had been and much more…
Who is Eddie Chris Okri?
You may have heard about Ben Okri, the writer based in London and we all know Mike Okri here. Everybody is trying to do his own thing in different perspective. I started very young. Tony Grey in Warri introduced me to stage. The music industry was very competitive then. I was signed on Polygram Records at Satellite Town, Lagos. I continued the struggle till 1995 before I left for the US.
What were the challenges?
Challenges could kill you, it is left to you to be steadfast. If you begin to consider the achievements of other people around you, you will die early. The only thing is that the challenges you are going through are for a purpose. If you hold on to God, you will scale through. Those who can’t absorb pressure die very young. If you remain simple you will suffer but you will go places, you will excel. The music terrain was rough, even till now. I am still trying to stamp my feet out there. The challenges are really tough. It could be finance or some other stuff. I see a lot of my old colleagues who never had the opportunity to travel out, they are really suffering. I had the opportunity to help some of them, but you cannot do many things at a time.
The entertainment industry is the only industry that employs youth every day. With these challenges, how do you intend to regain your pride of place coupled with the fact that you are not young?
I am still young (laughs). Even if the body is not young, the spirit is young and it will keep me going. The challenges are so immense, but with my new single people will get to reconnect with Eddie Chris Okri.
Can you tell us the songs you are working on?
Technically, we are supposed to be working on the whole album entitled, Ashima. We felt Ashima might not fly so, when I was coming in May, I wrote Oshofree inside the plane and the young ones love it. We did the mix in several studios here, but it was not good enough. I took it to the US and people started loving it.
What genre of music do you do?
Like I tell people every day, hip-hop is called Techno-soker. We have dancehall from dancehall, we have lovers rock. Now, it’s like we have a new dawn. This beat has been there for a very long time. Now, it has been rearranged with different names. I would say, I do hip-hop because if you listen to the second track on this single, I rapped in my language like I am rapping in English. You will not understand what I am saying but it is a very tight song.
Aside music, what else do you do?
I am a businessman, a very industrious man. I have my hands in a lot of things. There was a time I was meant to change the Nigeria Police uniform but the deal didn’t go through. The only thing I don’t have the license to do here is to carry my gun which I have in America. I have the license to distribute anything that has to do with security and I am also a car dealer. I like investment and industrialization.
The music industry has a lot of talents that are well accepted, the likes of Wizkid, Davido, 2Face, D’Banj. Why do you think Nigerians should listen to your song?
The guys you mentioned are like my sons. Help me blow Oshofree and I will have the platform to challenge them so that they will know the godfather is on the road. It’s just unfortunate that somebody like Majek Fashek played competitive music with me. If you see me on stage, I am a different person entirely. They used to call me dancing juju. I am more of a live artiste.
What is the relationship between you and your brothers?
We are the same Okri. You will always know the smell of a goat when you are near where it’s being cooked. Okri means ‘He Goat.’
Are you married?
No, I am divorced. I have been divorced for a very long time. I have four boys and a girl.
– AJOKE ONITOLO